Loren Teryl is a consultant and filmmaker living in Salt Lake City, Utah. He plays league softball and fully supports his daughter’s love of YA novels.
by Loren Teryl
A lot of authors hate it when you ask them where they get their ideas, but writer Nicholas James West can give you a clue. His stories started when he was a little kid growing up in Holladay, Utah.
“I used to be playing with my brother and friends in my big backyard, and sometimes I would just stop and stare at Mount Olympus,” says the now grown author. “My favorite moment was when a jet left it’s stream across a blue sky and you could see the moon in the daytime. My head would go into the clouds and I’d make up all sorts of stories.”
When the interviewer points out that doesn’t exactly give a clear idea as to where he gets his ideas, Nicholas elaborates, “Okay, so I’d imagine, that airplane has a pilot. Who is he? Some action hero going to the moon to fight aliens that want to come take over my town. And then maybe a dragonfly would zip by my head. So, I would imagine a laser shooting dragonfly trying to take this guy down. That’s pretty much where I get my ideas.”
“And then I got cancer and that really inspired me.”
Mr. West jokes, but he was diagnosed this year with ocular melanoma which has made him nearly blind in his right eye.
“Yep, I wear an eyepatch at work. And yes, I’m tired of the pirate jokes.”
Mr. West began his writing career by self publishing comic books. He wrote and published a superhero story called “King of Pain.” He picked up some paid work-for-hire in Sunstone Magazine, and for a horror movie. He started writing movie reviews for a magazine in New York, but soon realized it wasn’t for him.
“I wanted to create instead of critique. It was draining to me in the worst way.”
After taking a screenwriting class from Director Richard Dutcher, Mr. West was able to sell his first screenplay.
“I played the screenplay game for a few years and had a blast. I love writing screenplays. But it’s a bit hard when you don’t live in LA.”
After his wife encouraged him repeatedly, Mr. West finally started writing novels.
“She’d been telling me for years that I should write a novel. You don’t have to go after financing and movie stars to get it made. You can just write it, edit it, and put it out there.”
After surgery to treat his cancer, Mr. West launched his first novel with the website Inkshares.com. He is writing a science fiction story in a pulp style called Cancel the Ark! He is posting chapters every Sunday that are free to read.
“It’s really fun and anxiety inducing too,” Says Mr. West. “Every chapter ends with a cliffhanger and I have a deadline to get one up every week that delivers excitement.”
What if he doesn’t sell the 1,000 copies?
“Then I’m alive with a beautiful family and I’ve written a book. I don’t stop believing in my stories because one experiment doesn’t pay off. Cancel the Ark! will be published whether through Inkshares or somewhere else. But those Inkshares guys have a pretty cool thing going.
He pauses for a moment.
“And I still have the sky and the dragonflies.”
Nicholas James West is a comic book author and screenwriter turned novelist. He lives with his wife and three (soon to be four!) children in Lehi, Utah. He enjoys Irish whiskey, running, and overcoming cancer.