A BIT ABOUT ME
I grew up in Texas, went to UT, graduated from University of Houston and started a career in social work before moving to California in search of something different. I ended up in law enforcement and spent most of my time investigating major crimes. That's about it. Basic stuff, huh? Well there was a lot of life mixed in there which I will probably add later, bit by bit. Suffice it say, looking back, I wish I had studied creative writing and literature. That's where my real love was. So I took the long way around, and now I have the time to write. My debut novel, Evolution of a Young Man in Love, was published in 2018 but was not able to reach a wide audience.
I have completed two additional novels, The Ascension of Mary and Kissproof World, which have been accepted for publication by TouchPoint Press, and will be released in 2022 after a long delay due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
All of my novels speak to relationships and how we get through troubling times, on a personal level as well as a collective society.
Join me on Goodreads, Bookbub or Amazon for a discussion of my books or any other literary topic.
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Young patients’ complicated relationships at a halfway house take a dark turn after a murder in this novel.
Alec Gogarty checks in at Morning House somewhere between Galveston and Houston in Texas after his stint at a psychiatric hospital. He joins several other teenagers, who are living there for various reasons. Alec, for one, killed his abusive father, and Emily English’s foster mother cruelly sent her away after Emily was raped. When the teens aren’t at school, they’re usually with counselor Neva Bell, who coaxes them into discussing past events that haunt them. But Neva has her own troubled history; she’s wracked with guilt about her beloved twin brother’s death years ago. She relates to her patients in unusual ways—Alec reminds her of her brother, and she sees herself in Emily. The plot grows ever thornier. All three female residents are drawn to Alec, and cops suspect one resident of committing a string of local robberies. Most disturbingly, there’s a dead body, and someone at the halfway house may be responsible. It’s no surprise that characters drive West’s story. The narrative delves into their lives, from how they found themselves in counseling to their relationships with their estranged parents (Alec’s mom claims she’s a witch). A mystery, meanwhile, gradually comes to light as more clues emerge. The author develops the cast so meticulously that the third-person narrative smoothly transitions to alternating first-person perspectives once the murder investigation begins. This somber story, which treats topics like molestation and bullying respectfully, turns even bleaker in the memorable final act with more than one shocking death.
A grim but riveting tale of afflictions both below and on the surface.
- Kirkus Reviews
Sublime Book Reviews
Kissproof World is an enthralling story about a young therapist, Neva, as she works at a halfway house, where her troubled past threatens to resurface. At Morning House, she connects deeply with the six resident teenagers as she begins to see parts of herself reflected in their stories. Neva’s experience changes when Alec is brought to the house from the psychiatric hospital. Neva sees in him her twin brother Jim, who passed away years earlier. She becomes invested in Alec’s relationship with Emily, who reminds her of her younger self, and tries to protect them as the world takes them down a scary path. Danger arises when people close to Neva are working with different agendas, which stands in the way of her helping those who need it, including herself.
William West writes an introspective and profound literary fiction novel. The narrative is very descriptive and has poetry intertwined throughout, making it a compelling read. It recognizes the complexity of the pain that has made each of these individuals who they are, offering a unique perspective to life. Written in four different parts, you begin to form connections with the characters as they express and work through their trauma. Their stories contain triggering elements in relation to sexual trauma and emotional abuse, which could affect readers who can relate to these struggles. The second half of the story reads at a faster pace as the action and mystery tease the reader to the end. The author’s background as a social worker shines through with the depth and compassion that can be interpreted through the words. This is a story for people who are comfortable with discomfort and want to experience a unique viewpoint about life and the troubled system that affects at-risk youth.
Sublime Line: “Written with depth and compassion, this is haunting read about the complexity of trauma and healing.”
THE ASCENSION OF MARY
Release date: November 22, 2021
William West is extremely proud and excited to share his latest work, The Ascension of Mary, which can now be ordered on Amazon, B&N, or the TouchPoint Press website. The Ascension of Mary is available in ebook or paperback.
The Ascension of Mary by William West is a story centered around a tragedy that happened 14 years earlier and how a family was brought together by inexplicable forces. The story begins as Rachel moves back to her childhood residence in Oak Park, near Chicago, with her 14-year-old daughter Mary, where loose ties and family secrets await them. Soon after Mary’s arrival, she discovers a presence of a ghost in her room, who she later believes is the spirit of her father, murdered before she was born in a heartless act of hate. The story shifts between the perspectives of Rachel, her daughter Mary, and Jonah, their next-door neighbor, who immediately recognizes that Mary has something special within her. As the book unravels, secrets are revealed as Rachel shares more about her past with Mary and as new information is brought to their attention, leading them to a memorable nale. Powerful and thoughtful messages are brought up while the characters navigate through tough instances of racial discrimination.
West draws the reader in through excellent storytelling and intricate settings. The book is perfectly complex in the layers of stories that weave together the past and present, allowing the reader to feel more connected to the story. The narrations add depth to each character and gives a better understanding of their struggles with loss, and the relationships that are building between them. The author brings up important topics like racism and grief, while highlighting the value of love. From the beginning to the end, this book is a page-turner.
-Sublime Book Review
EVOLUTION OF A YOUNG MAN IN LOVE
October 18, 2018
Evolution of a Young Man in Love is literary fiction that takes the young protagonist, Joseph Hawking, through the loves and tragedies in his life in an effort to make sense of his world and what he believes may be the end of it.
Evolution is published by Black Rose Writing, but is currently off the shelf with technical difficulties. Let me know if you would like a copy, and I can send you one while my supplies last.
REBECCA BAUMANN REVIEWS
Nothing is normal in Austin. A fast-paced debut, William West's Evolution of a Young Man in Love elicits sentiments of uncertainty and rebirth.
As high school English teacher Joseph Hawking works through the death of his lover in the face of a new one, we begin to uncover the story's true nature. For a first novel, West has a knack for characterization, weaving complicated strands of soft-hearted care and intellectual determination through Joseph that holds steady throughout a truly terrifying serial killer plot line and the delicate web that is a new relationship. With help from long-time friend David, a cantankerous live-how-you-want side-kick, we are transported into a deep hole of investigation and self-discovery through realized superhero meets noiresque narrative.
Scattered with chaptered memories of ages long passed, West gives a full-breadth picture of a protagonist struggling to find answers to life-long questions about his unnatural, superhuman gifts. Though dialogue attribution and sentence structure read maladroit at times, the prose gains literary momentum in its second half with flowered phrases; "A soft, impressionist light . . . " and "Smells of dry leaves raked into luscious colorful piles."
At its heart, the debut's search for resolve is reminiscent of humanity's inability to live an unanswered life and the very personal drive for a comfortable acceptance of ourselves as we are.
LEAH FISHER NYFELER REVIEWS
Evolution of a Young Man in Love Is Not Your Average Novel By Leah Fisher Nyfeler
September 20, 2018
Word Count: 884
Disclaimer: I was provided with an advance reader copy and paid to write the following review, which reflects my honest, expert opinion and desire to provide quality evaluation for fellow book lovers. I am not affiliated in any way with this book’s sales.
What do you get when you mix a literature-loving protagonist possessing secret powers with looming fate, a recurring penchant for death, and quiet desire for love?
William West’s Evolution of a Young Man in Love answers that question with an introspective and not-as-melancholic-as-one-might-expect debut novel. Set primarily in Austin, Houston, and Galveston, West weaves threads of change and growth through one young man’s coming-of age story. Sounds sweet, right? Well, except for the serial killer who’s framing his best friend and that morbid prophecy permeating their lives.
Evolution of a Young Man in Love moves between Joseph Hawking’s memories, internal reveries, and present experiences. A high school English teacher, he’s ensnared in the subject of evolution quite literally (parents have complained about his teaching of Darwin’s On the Origin of Species); he’s also experiencing a personal period of introspective change following his father’s death.
[insert quotation] “Funny how we seem to evolve in periods of growth and remembrances rather than one fluid transformation.” Evolution of a Young Man in Love (Joseph talking to Lisa at The Tavern, pp. 92–93)
As his special powers struggle to reveal themselves, Joseph fights dwelling in memories, especially those of his role in his girlfriend’s violent, unexpected death. Joseph realizes he must choose between old patterns, crippling blame, and false beliefs and the possibilities, expanding horizons, and blossoming romance in his future. An unexpected encounter resolves an old mystery—who left those cryptic notes about his secret abilities?—and brings him to the brink of lasting love.
Novels set in my home state and city fill me with special pleasure, and West’s physical descriptions made this Texas girl proud. He takes us to well-known Austin haunts (The Tavern, Windsor Park, and Stephen F. Austin High School, to name a few) and lavishly evokes Texas’ coast. He’s at his best when drawing scenes, whether physical or interpersonal.
[insert quotation] “At the seawall, the sound of water became overpowering, water wrinkling its way toward land, water rising out of water, foamgurfling, landswallowing, laughbubbling waves of water.” Evolution of a Young Man in Love (description of Galveston coast, p. 162)
West’s keen eye is one of the things I enjoyed most about Evolution. He uses small details to bring action vividly into focus, and that meticulous attention is perhaps due to his past background in homicide investigation. After all, the first few pages conjure murder in all its gruesome aftermath through the meanderings of a solitary fly. Later, another body—this one “puffy white and slick as honeydew”—bobs in the ocean. Those images have stayed with me (perhaps longer than I might like).
Murder binds Joseph to his closest friend, David Snow, but it isn’t their only lasting connection. Exploring those bonds drives Evolution. West could’ve easily ramped up the supernatural, but he chose to quietly reveal and develop Joseph’s special powers across several incidents. No costumed forces of good and evil dramatically battling it out—even the revelation of and final conflict with the Bedroom Killer isn’t the expected climactic focus. I gasped; this wasn’t the end of the book? I checked my copy; too many pages remained, so something else awaited after that confrontational scene. Indeed, what West had in store for Joseph and David was so much more than solving the serial killer whodunit.
If I have a criticism, it’s that Evolution’s surprises should’ve played out a bit more slowly. The cast of characters was rich enough but I wanted to know them more. Transitions between past and present could be jarring; while some segments fulfilled my desire for drawn-out details (in “Memory of 22,” for example, West takes his time evoking emotions and events surrounding David and Carolyn’s father’s death and the following fateful palm-reading session involving all three friends) but segments surrounding the Bedroom Killer investigation felt rushed. Confession: I am a sucker for procedural crime and would’ve also liked more involving Adam Hargarty, the fictional shooter whose murderous spree invokes The University of Texas’ infamous Tower rampage (and who figures more prominently in Evolution than one might at first suspect).
Evolution of a Young Man in Love, though relatively slim at 207 pages, is not necessarily a quick read. West’s ambitious structure precludes proceeding on auto pilot. While I respect an author who’s willing to take risks, I confess that an early conversation between Joseph and God, complete with Neil Gaiman-ish overtones, gave me some pause. West uses poetry to advance plot and reveal Joseph’s inner thoughts and, though I enjoy it, not everyone finds poetry accessible. Verse-heavy segments might put off some readers, especially those expecting a more traditional format. How many murder mysteries bust out some referentially Longfellow- ish verse for four and a half pages?
This isn’t your average, run-of-the-mill murder mystery—or love story or superhero journey.
Nope; if you’re looking for a quick, formulaic read that doesn’t ask you to, say, consider wavelength energy, T.S. Eliot, existence of fate, and religion’s views on human development, then don’t pick up William West’s Evolution of a Young Man in Love. If, however, you are willing to step into a preternaturally thoughtful young man’s internal world, one populated with
everyday experiences involving morbid shadows, extrasensory relationships, and murky secrets from the past, then allow me to introduce you to Joseph Hawking and friends.
[Author quote]: “Since life is not linear, but evolves from many different experiences and
histories in each of us, I tried to create several story lines with the intent to give a whole picture of Joseph as he searches through the loves and tragedies in his life to find a purpose for his extraordinary evolution in the face of his own predicted death.” William West, via email
In West’s debut supernatural drama, a man with extraordinary abilities fears a palm reader’s prediction of doom.
Although Texas high school English teacher Joseph Hawking isn’t superhuman, he is capable of things that others aren’t. He has heightened senses of sight and hearing, and he can play pieces of music perfectly after hearing them once. But he uses these abilities furtively, certain that he would become a “test case” if the world knew about them. When he gives an English lecture that addresses Darwinism (a curriculum departure), students’ parents protest, and the ensuing controversy sparks media interest. He agrees to give an interview to TV personality David Snow, a childhood friend with whom he hasn’t spoken in years. A long time ago, Joseph received a prediction from a palm reader, who forecast a shared tragedy involving Joseph, David, and David’s sister Carolyn (Joseph’s ex-lover). The prophecy implied that he would meet the same fate as his uncle, who died at 29—Joseph’s current age. Complicating matters is the Bedroom Killer, an unidentified serial murderer whose latest victim has a connection to David, making him a person of interest. Joseph keeps his eye out for clues to the foretold tragedy, hoping to prevent it. Despite dabbling in superpowers, West’s story primarily deals in melodrama, which can be blistering at times, as when Joseph learns a shocking family secret or loses someone to a shooter on a college campus. The drama can also be profound, as in a surreal scene of 13-year-old Joseph having a conversation with God, noting that “some things don’t make sense.” The author treats his protagonist’s abilities pragmatically and uses them only in moderation, to good effect. Original and classic poetry intermittently appears over the course of the story, but West’s prose is already poetic on its own: “he gazed aimlessly into the hazy backyard landscape of redbud, spider lilies, beautyberry, and others he hadn’t bothered to learn yet.”
A potent tale of a man with intriguing powers and relatable misfortunes.
"What would life be if we had no courage to attempt anything?"