He was born in Texas, lived in New York, and now is awesome in California, Terry M. West is a horror author known for What Price Gory, Car Nex, and Dreg. West’s YA graphic novel series, Confessions of a Teenage Vampire, was included on the TV Guide’s sci-fi hot list and his Night Things series was recently acquired by Council Tree Productions to be developed into a television show. Wanting to learn more about West’s background and his book, I was able to interview him for ScifiPulse.
Nicholas Yanes: Growing up, when did you know that you wanted to become a professional storyteller?
Terry M. West: Pretty young. I’d say around 10 I knew I wanted to be a horror author. The drive was always there.
Yanes: What were some stories that you think inspired you to become a writer?
West: I am Legend, Salem’s Lot, Some of your Blood, Hell House, and Night of the Living Dead were a BIG influence.
Yanes: In addition to writing What Price Gory, Night Things, Confessions of a Teenage Vampire, and many more stories, you were also the managing editor for the website, Halloween Forevermore. Personally, what is your favorite Halloween tradition?
West: I love the Dia de los Muertos celebration. I think it’s beautiful.
Yanes: Some great news recently came out about your Night Things series. For those unfamiliar with Night Things, how would you quickly describe it?
West: A combination of Breaking Bad, The Sopranos, and Universal Monsters. Dark, twisted, and gritty. I am very excited about this one and grateful at the opportunity to shop it through Council Tree Productions!
Yanes: What was the inspiration for Night Things? Was there a moment in which different ideas came together and Night Things was born?
West: It started as an idea for a story about a drug-addicted pornographer in a world where monsters exist and it grew from there. ‘Hardcore Crust’ is the title of the very first Night Things tale. I didn’t intend for it to be a series, but when the ideas came, I couldn’t deny that it needed to be one.
Yanes: The series is based in New York City. Given that you lived in NYC, what are some restaurants and places you love visiting that you included in the series?
West: None really, to be honest. But I loved most of the NY bookstores and definitely Jekyll and Hyde’s!
Yanes: In part, Night Things uses classic monsters to touch upon the American immigrant and melting pot experiences. Are there any specific historical events involving immigrants you feel influenced your writings the most?
West: No, it’s a blend of everything from way back to now. In many ways, I feel it is more relevant today than it was three years ago, when the series began. That xenophobia and intolerance still holds as strongly today as it did in the past is a sad statement on humanity. I didn’t intend for Night Things to be as appropriate in this area as it is. I mean, sure there is a point there. But Night Things is first and foremost a horror drama. I don’t intend to smack people over the head with a message, but it’s there.
Yanes: While writing Night Things, were there any characters that took on a (un)life of their own?
West: Oh yeah. Johnny Stücke (Frankenstein’s Monster) definitely stole most of the limelight. He is the driving force in the story. Hero on occasion, villain at other times. He is a very complex character caught in the space between man and monster.
Yanes: When people finish reading the Night Things series, what do you hope they take away from it?
West: Well, first and foremost, I want them to enjoy themselves. You can’t be a classic monster fan and not enjoy this series! And I hope people look a little differently at our world to see who the real monsters are. We have them. They just aren’t always who we think they are.
Finally, what are some projects you are working on that people can look forward to?
West: I’ll have announcements about that soon! Right now, I am focused solely on the Night Things pitch to networks!