Interview with Armada West
Armada West is a writer from upstate New York, specializing in the genre of paranormal thrillers.
Hailing from the land of Sleepy Hollow and Rip Van Winkle, West grew up in an area populated by legends of the supernatural
and unbelievable. She made her debut has a playwright in 2005 with her comedic work “The Loo Cue” being performed at the Copake Grange, starring Fiona Hutchinson. West currently lives in the south where she continues her writing. Despite being a devout Christian, Armada spares no dark or gritty details. West spends her free time working as a graphic designer. Find her online via Facebook and Purchase Bottom Feeders on Amazon
When did you first realize you wanted to be an Author?
When I was in eighth grade and realized that I had a serious problem paying attention in school, because I spent all my classes writing.
What would you say is your interesting quirk that only happens when you are writing?
I can’t have music on. Lyrics in songs are incredibly distracting for me.
What was one of the most surprising things you learned in writing your books?
I’ve discovered that I’m not nice. I really like to push my characters to their limits, especially mentally. I also don’t usually do “happy” endings — logical, always. But that doesn’t always mean happy.
Where did you get ideas for your books?
Photographs are usually the most inspirational to me. Whenever I’m feeling at a loss looking at photos really pumps me up.
Out of all the books you have written which is your favorite and why?
Definitely Bottom Feeders. It’s been a labor of love that I’ve been working on for years, with a very intricate and deceptive plot and a wide range of characters. I feel like at this point it’s my masterpiece.
Who is your target audience?
Females 16-35 are definitely who I write for. I love having female protagonists who others can learn from.
What do you think makes a good story?
Consistency and utilization of different conflicts. I love seeing man vs. man, self, nature, etc. all working in tandem together.
Who are some of your favorite Authors?
Thomas Harris, Dan Brown, JR Ward, and George R. R. Martin are my favorites. I also really enjoy the Old Testament; it’s downright brutal.
I think Amber Heard has the look that I see for Jillian.
What song best describes your book and Why?
“Jillian (I’d Give My Heart)” by Within Temptation. The main character is named Jillian, and the lyrics actually fit it perfectly. Completely unintentional, haha
Who are some of the people that influenced your love of writing?
Doris Flynn Taylor was my mentor when I was younger. My teachers at school were incredibly encouraging too.
What kind of TV shows do you like and do you find that as a Paranormal Writer that you gravitate toward True Blood, Vampire Diaries, Lost Girl and others that center around Preternatural or Supernatural Creatures?
I usually only watch documentaries or reality TV shows. A Haunting is my favorite, along with Dead Files, Ghost Adventures, etc.
How are your Supernaturals different from the traditional mythology?
I give vampires a huge twist in Bottom Feeders by making them the headsmen of God. They’re usually portrayed as coming from dark origins, and I put them in a polar opposite position.
What is your view on the Paranormal “Craze” that’s going on, do you feel that it is a fad that people will look back on and laugh or a lasting interest that will birth classics to come?
People have always loved paranormal stories. I feel that a few standouts will wind up becoming modern-day classics, while a lot of others will wind up in discount bins. It all depends on the story.
What other genres do you write?
I’m started trying my hand at romance. I definitely prefer plotty, supernatural stories though.
If you had one piece of advice for an aspiring Artist what would it be?
The same thing that my mentor told me: ten chapters, ten pages each.
What would you like to say to friends and family of Authors (not just your own)?
We know that we may never become rich and famous, that isn’t why we write though. We write because it’s an overwhelming urge to write and share a story with the world.
What projects do you have up and coming?
So much! A short story for Christmas, “Underneath” is in the works along with “Unaware” in early 2013 — both are sequels in the Undefeated series. I’ve started the sequel to Grave Diggers as well.
Is there anything else you want to share with your readers?
Keep an eye open! I’m always putting out something new!
Excerpt from “Bottom Feeders”:
The world went into slow motion as the muzzle of Cerberus’ gun rose in her direction. The silencer gave a small pop – after that everything else happened too fast to make sense. Gavin became a human shield, flinging himself in front of Jillian. His face was inches from her when his teeth suddenly gritted together in pain. And then she felt it, the sting as the bullet hit her vest. The force sent her stumbling backward, clutching her stomach. Donatien grabbed her arm, twisting her around and pushing her toward the gravel. There were the sounds of gunfire overhead and Donatien’s voice was rough in her ear, his body covering her small form entirely.
“Stay low, get on the other side of the car then run as fast as you can. We’ll find you.”
Jillian did as she was told, scrambling on her hands and knees away from the commotion in the direction of the car. Mónica was crouched behind a tire, the gun out of its holster and in her hand. As Jillian reached her the young girl pointed farther back to a row of boxcars lined up on the tracks. From the corner of her eye Jill could see Blair, Russ and Johnson running as fast as they could toward the fence. She could ignore Mónica’s advice and follow them or she could listen and take her chances on her own. Anything Vic had said about tonight was worthless and, as she watched the people who she’d grown up with heading for the hills without so much as looking back over their shoulder at her to see if she was still alive…well, that answered the question. She skirted off toward the boxcars, knowing that she had already wasted too much time.
Where should she go? She could head for the fence, hop over and then try to find her car – she had the key. But that was if the guys didn’t have a spare, or didn’t just hot wire it. The car was no guarantee. A loud bark and shouts were close behind. Jill glanced back over her shoulder then kicked it into high gear, running as fast as she possibly could. Ahead she saw a boxcar with a ladder attached to the side. Taking a deep breath she jumped, grabbing onto the metal and pulled herself up. More barking and it was getting closer. When she was on the roof she laid flat, catching her breath. Her heartbeat was pounding in her ears and it was hard to keep the rasping of her lungs quiet as she tried to catch her breath. Over the tops of the boxcars she could see gunfire in the distance and, farther away in the city, flashing red and blue lights. They’d be doing a full search of the yard – she had to get out of here. But now that she wasn’t moving the stinging of the bullet that had hit her vest was setting in. Jill curled up onto her side, wrapping her arms around her waist while her head fell back onto the roof of the car.
A hand wrapped around her ankle and yanked her off the roof. Jillian let out a shriek as the ground came flying up at her, her hands out to catch herself. She hit the ground hard, agony slamming through her chest in waves as pain shot up her wrists and arms. There wasn’t a moment to savor the pain. Hands were pulling her up to her feet then slamming her back against the car, pinning her there. Cerberus was bleeding lightly from the crown of his head and he looked as pissed as a viper spitting venom.
“You little slut,” Cerberus snarled, sweat gleaming on his brow and trickling down the side of his face, mixing with the blood. His hand formed a seal over her mouth, silencing anymore noise that she might’ve made. “I am leaving this yard with those guns and you both. When I get my hands on that boyfriend of yours I will show him how to handle a cunt like you – and here’s a hint, it’s not with gloves.”
Her heart was up in her throat and Jillian was struggling to breathe behind his hand, hyperventilation on the horizon. Jill’s eyes were wide as she stared at him, sucking in every ounce of air that she could get. His hands reached up, unzipping her jacket and splitting it open. Cerberus surveyed her heavy black sweater for a moment before taking a knife out of his pocket, weaving it through his fingers before shoving it up against her throat. One of the dogs was snarling nearby then it let out a yelp and felling silent.
“This is my city,” he snarled. “I’ve worked these streets since before you were born, and you think that you and your boyfriend can just walk in and take it from my palm? I’ll fucking kill you.” Cerberus snarled at her, lips curled back and baring his teeth. “Do you know what I do with sluts like you? I sell you to a Thai whorehouse for you to lie on your back until you get slapped in the face by your own saggy tits.” The blade pressed closer to her throat. Jillian didn’t move, didn’t breathe, and didn’t dare look away from him. “I’ll destroy you.”
The knife was cutting into her throat and she felt a wet trickle of blood make its way down her neck. Then the blade lowered, catching onto the neck of her sweater and cutting through the soft cashmere. The material split effortlessly and Cerberus’ hands finished the job, ripping her shirt open. The hunger in his eyes turned to brief confusion when he exposed, instead of her lush breasts, a bulletproof vest with a bullet still embedded in it.
Cerberus was suddenly yanked to the side when one of his men dragged him away by the arm. A bullet ricocheted off the car, rebounding and shooting away. The hands pinning her fell let go and Jillian ducked, covering her face with her arms as she crouched down against the boxcar. There was more gunfire and shouting. The sirens were loud now.
“Jillian! Jillian, are you alright?”
It was Gavin’s voice. He was kneeling over her. His palms were burning hot, cupping her face while he scanned her for injuries.
“I-I’m ok,” she managed to say, blinking rapidly. His face was flecked with dirt and splatters of blood. Gavin tilted her head back more to look at her throat and the crimson river trickling down her neck. “It’s alright, it’s not deep.”
“We’ll get you taken care of.” Gavin pulled her up to her feet. It was then that she saw the blood staining his shirt, saturated to the point of dripping. Her eyes widened.
“Don’t worry about it.” But her hands were pulling at his shirt, tugging it up to look at the injury, except that when she exposed his flesh there was no gaping wound – only unmarred pale, satin flesh covering ropes of taunt stomach muscles. The confusion on her face was easy to read and Gavin brushed her hands away. “It’s not mine,” he murmured.
“Come on,” Gavin said, tugging on her hand. “You’re coming with me.”