Apocalypse Weird World Coming Feb 23rd Interview with Independent Author Forbes West
What’s trending in Indie Publishing? Well, I heard that a group of independent authors got together and decided to create their own brand world. They are calling it Apocalypse Weird. When is this supposed to take place? I heard they are doing an official launch of five novels from the world, different authors–They even have a Facebook page.
The launch for the first five will be February 23rd, 2015. Then there will be others lining up, two at a time.
Today I am interviewing one of those independent authors from Apocalypse Weird Forbes West, also author of “Nighthawks at the Mission” and “Once Upon A Time in Temecula”.
Hi Forbes, welcome to Writer’s Gambit!
JK: So how does an author and short filmmaker get involved in the AW world?
FB: I was in Singapore back in 2013 on a “business” trip when I ran into Michael Bunker and Nick Cole at the Long Bar inside the old and famous Raffles Hotel. I’m on my fifth Singapore Sling and I have had nothing to eat but bar peanuts so I’m about to leave and right as I am exiting I see these two guys come in with all this equipment and they’re making a fuss and they’re tossing tables to the side and plugging in speakers and amps and just making just an ungodly racket- and this is Singapore, mind you, so no one in this bar is ready for this sort of trip, you know, two foreigners, two white American good ol’boys with fire in their eyes with “a need to bring art into the world”. That’s what they kept yelling to the bartender and then to the Hotel Manager and then to the Hostage Negotiator and my mind was blown because I had been hanging out at the Long Bar for five days straight doing “business” before and they never had live entertainment and I asked about live entertainment on three separate occasions. Michael had this electric guitar that’s got the pattern of the Stars and Bars on it and a Marijuana leaf on it and Nick’s got the voice of an angel and Nick is starting to sing “Hurdy Gurdy Man” from Donovan but then he stops, right? And he points to this drum set sitting there and you goes “Hey, you sucker” and he’s pointing right to me and I stand up and I’m mad because I thought he said something else but he points to the drums and goes “You like Donovan?! You should play Donovan! Every person here is gonna hear Donovan!” And I sort of did, I guess, so I walked over and pick up the drum sticks and we did one full rendition of “Hurdy Gurdy Man” before the Gurkhas hit us with a fire hose that ruined my new Nehru jacket.
After the caning by the police, we all went down to have some Laksa Noodles and sit on bags of ice. We were quiet until Michael screamed into my face about how it would be weird if there was an apocalypse coming down right now, and Nick said something about “An apocalypse right now would be weird” and then they left me there for an hour and then came back. They said we should all write different novels involving a great multiverse with a bunch of awesome authors about different ways the world could end. I remember that they wouldn’t pay for my Laksa unless I signed the contract then and there and since I hadn’t eaten in days because of the bar incident, I signed a few blank pages that they filled in later with a crayon Michael stole from a crippled child.
That’s how I remember it, Nick Cole and Michael Bunker will play coy and deny it and just say it had to do with them liking my book “Nighthawks at the Mission” a lot and asking me to join on because we’d been corresponding back and forth for a few months and had gotten along.
Either way, I’m honored and privileged to work with Michael Bunker and Nick Cole, who are fantastic authors who are on the cutting edge of science fiction and fantasy, and who have put together an incredible crew of other incredible authors who are becoming ready to change the face of publishing through “Apocalypse Weird”.
JK: What is your AW story about?
FB: My novel for Apocalypse Weird, Medium Talent, is about Wendy Wicker, an ex-artist who has survived this cataclysmic great storm that has wrecked much of the world and left the survivors to deal with hordes of the demonic undead. She lives in Key West, Florida and she is trying to keep her family alive in this desperate and broken time by using this fishing boat, “Medium Talent” to salvage and steal what she can in the abandoned Florida Keys. She discovers one night that she isn’t who she thinks she is and that she has to confront some very dark secrets that concern how the world ended. It’s one part Hemingway’s “To Have or Have Not” and one part George Romero’s “Land of the Dead”.
JK: You also are author of two other books “Nighthawks at the Mission” and “Once Upon A Time in Temecula”, so what was your inspiration for these books?
FB: My inspiration for “Nighthawks at the Mission” was a bit of every so-called young adult book currently out there, Frank Herbert’s Dune, and Lord of the Rings. I wanted to have a young, conflicted and very dark female protagonist from our own Southern California react in a “realistic” fashion in this fantastic setting, The Oberon. I wanted her to have to deal with the stresses and reality of the journey she undertakes and her battle against a terrifying enemy. I wanted it to be both epic and a character study; I wanted it to be a deconstruction of the young adult genre as well as I felt that YA novels always pulled in punches in how their heroes dealt with their adventures and always shied away from any sort of truth in how people are. “Nighthawks…” shows that actions have consequences, and that bad people do bad things for good reasons, and that some people do the right thing for all the wrong reasons. “Nighthawks…” and “Once Upon A Time…” are both set in this world I’ve created, The Oberon, this land full of mystery and magic but are different in story emphasis. “Nighthawks” is an epic, dealing with the life and death of this world and the troubled hero Sarah Orange; “Once Upon a Time…” deals with the everyday reality of living in such a magical and strange land from the perspective of an average young male American, Mitch Early and is the first part of a serial novel.
JK: I read you have a degree in Political Science; do you use that knowledge in the books you write?
FB: I do always. I’ve always been political (though I’m not active now) and I believe that history, politics and current events are fodder for the imagination. The setting of “Nighthawks at the Mission” was crafted from what I know and have read about colonialism, the battle between so-called modernity and tradition in the third world, and hard capitalist exploitation. I honestly asked myself when I built this world, if Americans, the U.S. Government, and the major corporations of our current times found an untouched, pristine Tolkein like land beyond a portal in the Pacific, how would they react? How would Americans react if they could move there and start again with social mobility almost crippled for most? I drew from my education the answers I believed to be true and incorporated them into the background and setting of the story.
JK: I read you made two short films in 2014, can you tell us about that?
FB: I did “Tipsy”, directed by Omar Majette, which is about an evening that goes to hell between two couples at a friend’s condo when there’s too much one wine for one of the guests, and “On the Border” a western we shot out in Joshua Tree that was directed by Guillermo Polo that’s about a mysterious woman found wandering in the desert by a cowboy on the run from the law and the terrifying stranger that’s after her. Both are or will be put through to film festivals in the US, Japan, Europe (Spain, Germany, Poland to be precise) this year and its been an exciting opportunity to work with really talented up and coming directors and to work with my wife on each project, as she is the co-producer.
We did both projects on a shoestring budget and “Tipsy” is funny as hell and “On the Border” has amazing cinematography done by Petr Cikhart. Once the films get some traction we’ll be able to put them out onto the internet but right now with certain film festivals requirements we’ll have to keep them off so we don’t get disqualified. But it has been a great experience and has really opened up some doors for some bigger things.
JK: Do you have any more planned projects for the future, books or films?
FB: I’m doing pre-production on a feature project right now with people I’ve worked with on the short films. I’m also coming up with a sequel to “Medium Talent” for Apocalypse Weird and also I’m working on with a close friend on untitled novel about an American superhero. So it’s going to be a very busy but very productive and fun year.
JK: I read your self-interview on your website. It was great. Is there one thing your readers should know about you?
FB: I think the one thing readers should know about me is that I really do make an honest effort to make sure that when they read one of my books or see one of my films, that they never ever go away thinking “yeah, I’ve seen that a million times.” I always try to push myself to really try to be original as I can with any story I’m doing because we’ve all been saturated with the same old shit day in and day out on television, in the movies, and in our bookstores. I always will strive for originality; for some people that might be off-putting. But I am always going to gamble on doing something different.
JK: Will your AW book be one of the five released on Feb 23rd with the debut launch of Apocalypse Weird?
FB: That’s still in the air. There was some talk of it but it may be released on its original date of April 7th. We’ll see for right now but no matter what, anyone who reads the five books released on February 23rd are going to have the time of their lives because the talent that Nick Cole and Michael Bunker have put together for this along with Tim Grahl is phenomenal. This is the cream of the crop of indie authors and people who are open to reading something original and fun and well done are gonna love this stuff.
JK: Any last words for our readers as we close?
FB: People should go visit Singapore. It’s pretty neat. Love you, Junko.
BRIEF BIO: Forbes West was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois and graduated with a Master’s Degree in Political Science from California State University, Long Beach. He currently lives and works mostly in San Francisco, CA and owns a home in Ojima, Japan- a village five hours south of Tokyo by car that is in the foothills of Mt. Fuji. Forbes West Website