Diane Capri Reveals: C J West

Here on Diane Capri Reveals, we’ve featured some of the biggest names in our genre, including my friends and colleagues Lee Child, the father of Rambo, David Morrell, this year’s Mystery Writers of America Grand Master, Margaret Maron, my colleague at the Bar, Steve Berry, dynamite writing duos Maxine Paetro (and James Patterson), Grant Blackwood (and James Rollins), and more. You can check out those posts by clicking HERE.

Readers love to discover new books. You’ve clamored for new authors and new voices as well as more from the giants in the field. In response to your requests for worthy tales to fill your empty e-reader devices, today on Licensed to Thrill we’re pleased to feature an author you’re going to love. (Leave a comment here on the blog because CJ West will send you a book to prove it!)

CJ West

CJ West


CJ West is the author of eight suspense novels including The End of Marking Time and The Winemaker’s Son, which was optioned into development for film by Beantown Productions, LLC (screenplay by Marla Cukor). Sounds great, doesn’t it?

CJ West is a lucky guy who writes seriously scary stuff. Which, of course, made me wonder why.

Diane Capri:  What was the scariest moment of your life? How did you deal with it?

CJ West: Only one? *grins*

Diane Capri: Let’s start with one.

CJ West: During hunting season several years ago. My brother, my father, and I were walking together along a trail in the woods. We were about five feet apart, carrying our shotguns when shots rang out in our direction.

Three or four twelve gauge shotguns blasted at us from about one hundred yards. The men were shooting semi-automatics and could fire successive shots as fast as they could pull the gun level. A single shotgun blast is menacing. When they come in your direction three at a time, there is only one thing to do. Hit the deck. I did.

Diane Capri: OMG! You’re lucky to be alive! What happened after the gunshots stopped?

CJ West: The three of us split up assuming that a deer was headed our way. My father stayed put. My brother went left. I went right. The deer ran to my brother, which is pretty much how my luck usually runs: lousy.

Diane Capri: Oh, come on! You didn’t get killed and you’re complaining about bad luck? Seriously? Okay. So tell us the second story, then. Surely it ends a little better?

CJ West: In an instant I went from standing still, to free fall out of a very tall tree.

Diane Capri: How in the world did that happen?

CJ West:  I was trimming tree branches before cutting down a large tree so I could better control where it fell. To get up into the high branches, I used a climbing tree stand which is like a see saw. When you press down, the tree stand holds your weight. When you lift up, the stand can be moved up and down the tree trunk. You climb by lifting up with your abs and adjusting the height of the platform.

As I was about to finish sawing through a very large branch, my kids came out to say hi. I talked to them for a minute from about thirty feet up and then went back sawing.

When I cut through the branch, instead of falling away from the tree and dropping, the branch hung up on other limbs far away from the trunk and the butt of the three-hundred-pound branch fell toward the tree and tipped the see saw in the wrong direction.

Diane Capri: Yikes! What happened next?

CJ West: In moments like this the world slows down and things seem to happen very slowly. In this instance, my vision went black and I don’t remember seeing anything.

The branch dragged the platform down, holding the opposite side so I couldn’t stop my descent. About fifteen feet down, I hugged the tree. The bark scraped the skin off my arms. One branch I had sawed off, sliced into me, opening a wide gash in my chest that required stitches.

Finally I stopped, climbed down and wiped the blood off with a towel before picking up my tools and going inside.

Diane Capri: Are you sure you’re not a psychopath or something? I mean, just wiped off your own blood from a gaping wound, lah-ti-dah?

CJ West: My youngest daughter was angry at me for days. My oldest still comments that I acted like nothing had happened. *shrugs* I don’t know. Maybe.

Diane Capri: Well, uh, good to know. Um. I’m a little afraid to ask, but what would we find under your bed?



CJ West: *laughs* A few months ago I bought the cutest Maltese puppy named Mousebear for my daughter. Mousebear is adorable, but she has a nasty habit of pooping under the bed, and the couch, and any other place she can crawl under. I don’t know what her fascination is with hiding her poop, but at least she’s adorable.

Diane Capri: And tiny! You’d be in trouble if Mousebear was a great dane, wouldn’t you? How can you say you’re not lucky? Okay. Let’s talk about your books. You are writing a series, right? Tell us about that and your new release, The Cat Bagger’s Apprentice.

The Cat Bagger's Apprentice

CJ West:  The Cat Bagger’s Apprentice, sequel to The End of Marking Time, scheduled for release on May 22.  I’m really excited about this book for the impact it has on readers. The End of Marking Time ends with a shock that really takes readers by surprise and makes them think. In The Cat Bagger’s Apprentice, I’ve managed the same sort of surprise in slightly different fashion.

The Marking Time series takes place in a world without prisons. Criminals are put into psychological treatment programs that monitor and challenge them to readjust to society. The juicy part of this series comes from the characters (and readers) not knowing illusion from reality and also the crafty psychological ploys the reeducators and relearners use against each other.

Diane Capri: Sounds like a very scary place to me. Congratulations! You also have some news on two more books, don’t you?

CJ West:  This is a great time for a photo reveal because this year I’ve started doing my own covers and today I can show off a few new ones. The first cover I designed is The Cat Bagger’s Apprentice (my latest release above). I’m renaming two of my older books and I have just finished the new covers in time for this reveal.

The Winemaker's Son Black Heart

The Winemaker’s Son was formerly published as Sin & Vengeance. One reviewer said Sin & Vengeance was one of the worst titles she’d ever heard. Black Heart was formerly published as A Demon Awaits.

Aside from the lousy title, I wanted to change both titles and covers because lots of readers were getting these books confused with Christian fiction. The Winemaker’s Son is an intense revenge story and wouldn’t appeal to Christian fiction readers. Black Heart is a story of redemption that follows a spiritual search, but the story is not told in the style of a religious book. My hope is that the covers and titles are more consistent with what is inside. Drop me a note and let me know what you think of them.

Diane Capri:  Be sure to leave a comment here today and CJ will send you a free book! C.J. blogs at www.cjwestkills.wordpress.com. You can also find him at www.22wb.com or at www.facebook.com/cjwestfans

Thanks for joining us today, CJ West! It’s been fun!

As always, thank you for reading!

, , , , , , , , , , ,

51 Responses to Diane Capri Reveals: C J West

  1. LM May 21, 2013 at 8:36 am #

    Always enjoy your interviews, Diane. Looking forward to reading another CJ West thriller!

    • Diane Capri May 23, 2013 at 5:43 pm #

      Thanks so much for reading. CJ scares me! 🙂

  2. judy w May 21, 2013 at 8:39 am #

    I have stumbled on quite a few new authors from Diane’s blogs and will definitly be looking into your books. Some of these new authors have proven to draw me in which means I now have a new collection of books to read.

    • Diane Capri May 23, 2013 at 5:44 pm #

      Hi, Judy! Thanks for stopping by. Do let us know what you think of CJ’s work. As I said to LM above, he scares me (which is no easy feat!!).

  3. CJ West May 21, 2013 at 9:40 am #

    Thanks LM and Judy. It’s great to do a fun interview like this one. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.

    I’d love to hear from you when you’re finished checking out my Marking Time series!


  4. Tasha Turner May 21, 2013 at 9:50 am #

    Love the new cover and title for sin & vengeance/winemakers son. That was one heck of a psychological thriller. I can still picture scenes from it when I think about it… One reason it’s not been reviewed it gives me nightmares every time I think about it. You look too sweet to have such a warped mind CJ!

    • CJ West May 21, 2013 at 12:43 pm #

      Thanks Tasha!

      Sorry about the nightmares. My mind is a little warped, but aren’t all thriller writers?


      • Tasha Turner May 21, 2013 at 3:54 pm #

        I got out of reading Edgar Allan Poe in high school because of the. Nightmares. But it does mean you are a fantastic writer as 6 months after finishing your book a number of scenes flash through my head if the book is brought up. 😀

        A couple other authors in your genre I can read as they just don’t hit the pyscho scale the way your books do. One has come to me for advice as his books aren’t selling and now that I’ve read them compared to yours they are like “wanna be stories”… Now how do you tell someone that in a way they can hear it?

    • Diane Capri May 23, 2013 at 5:45 pm #

      See what I mean, Tasha! This is one scary dude, for sure!!

      • Tasha Turner May 23, 2013 at 5:52 pm #

        I know and I just agreed to read another book. As soon as I see Goodreads has the new cover for Winemakers Son I need to write a short review. I thought I might need to reread the book to review it but with all that I’ve seen in my head since reading your interview I’m fairly confident I can write a review about how vividly terrifying the story is. LOL

  5. Linda May 21, 2013 at 9:58 am #

    Enjoyed reading the interview. I can’t wait to read The Cat Bagger’s Apprentice!!!!

    • Diane Capri May 23, 2013 at 5:45 pm #

      Thanks for stopping by Linda, and for your comment. Be sure to let us know what you think!

  6. Dawnna Hale May 21, 2013 at 10:02 am #

    Really enjoyed C.J.’s book “Addicted To Love.” I had the opportunity to help edit “The Cat Bagger’s Apprentice” and loved it also. C.J. is so clever with his plots, you kind of just shake your head. His books are fast paced and his writing is smart, you won’t find many mistakes. I would highly recommend him, not only as a writer, but he’s a super person.

    • CJ West May 21, 2013 at 12:45 pm #

      Thanks Dawnna.

      It’s been great getting to know you this year!

    • Diane Capri May 23, 2013 at 5:46 pm #

      Thanks for the input, Dawnna. And for stopping by!

  7. Sylvia May 21, 2013 at 10:08 am #

    I enjoy keeping up with you CJ. Looking forward to reading your newest release.

    • Diane Capri May 23, 2013 at 5:47 pm #

      Thanks for stopping by, Sylvia, and for the endorsement. CJ fans are fierce!

  8. Lee Anne Knibb May 21, 2013 at 10:24 am #

    Diane can find some interesting writers and now I want to read CJ West’s books. Thanks.

    • Diane Capri May 23, 2013 at 5:48 pm #

      Hi, Lee Anne. Glad you’re enjoying our Reveals series. Do let us know what you think about CJ West’s books!

  9. Joyce Magan May 21, 2013 at 11:04 am #

    I love the new titles! I do have the older versions and loved your writing!
    Look forward to receiving another book you have done recently, 🙂

  10. Joyce Magan May 21, 2013 at 11:05 am #

    I love the new titles! I do have the older versions and loved your writing!
    Look forward to receiving another book you have done recently.

  11. JoEllen May 21, 2013 at 11:09 am #

    I love CJ West books, I have all of them and starting to read them again. I like the layouts, format and interesting story lines in all of them, my favorite is Sins and Vengeance and Marking Time. Can’t wait for all the others I know will be reading! God Bless you CJ – Great interview!

    • Jo Vasichek-Ralston May 21, 2013 at 12:19 pm #

      Hey, my name’s JoEllen, too! 🙂

      • JoEllen May 21, 2013 at 12:43 pm #

        nice to meet you Jo!

  12. Jo Vasichek-Ralston May 21, 2013 at 12:24 pm #

    CJ! Love those covers~ Good job! Waiting for the new book to come out 🙂

    • CJ West May 21, 2013 at 12:46 pm #

      Thanks Jo!

      • Diane Capri May 23, 2013 at 5:49 pm #

        You meant, “Thanks Jo and Jo,” right? 🙂

  13. Nancy Violette May 21, 2013 at 1:19 pm #

    Love the new covers, CJ.
    If you haven’t yet read any of CJ’s books, now is the time to begin. I love them all. I’m not sure I can pick a favorite.

    • Diane Capri May 23, 2013 at 5:51 pm #

      That’s a very lovely endorsement, Nancy! Good to know! Thanks for stopping by and for the comment. Do come back!

  14. Gypsy Courtois May 21, 2013 at 2:47 pm #

    CJ you sound like a good writer of Thrillers. I look forward to my first read of “The Winemaker’s Son” to further my thriller author’s list. Hope you and yours are happy and well. Keep writing.

    • Diane Capri May 23, 2013 at 5:52 pm #

      Thanks for reading, Gypsy. Thriller lovers are fabulous, right?

  15. Charmaine Friedrick May 21, 2013 at 3:56 pm #

    Welcome CJ West,I’m a fan of Lee Child ( who isn’t ?) and Diane Capri, looking forward to adding you to the list!

    • Diane Capri May 23, 2013 at 5:52 pm #

      Aw, shucks, Charmaine! What a lovely thing to say. Hope you enjoy CJ West as well!

  16. Pat Davis May 21, 2013 at 5:28 pm #

    I enjoy Diane’s interviews and plan to watch for your book. I’m not an e-reader. I like to hold the book in my hands. I’m so glad Diane’s books came out in print. I’ve been buying all of them. Where’s the best place to find your books?

  17. Rachelle Lerner May 21, 2013 at 8:57 pm #

    It is always wonderful to find new books to read. We just have cats now and I miss having a dog. If my cats saw Mousebear. I think my youngest would thing it was a real mouse.

    • Diane Capri May 23, 2013 at 5:56 pm #

      Hi, Rachelle! Thanks for stopping by. That mousebear does kind of look like a real mouse — only cuter. It might be interesting to see how the cats react. My little schnauzer, Miki, really wants to play with the neighborhood cats, but they either hiss at her or run away. 🙂

  18. Robert Tusing May 21, 2013 at 9:58 pm #

    I haven’t read any of CJ West’s previous books but it sounds like I would enjoy them. Thanks.

    • Diane Capri May 23, 2013 at 5:57 pm #

      Hi, Robert! It’s always nice to find new authors and for authors to find new readers, isn’t it? Thanks for stopping by and do let us know what you think.

  19. Ron B May 22, 2013 at 5:48 am #

    Look forward to reading another CJ West novel – love the interview – well done.

    • Diane Capri May 23, 2013 at 5:57 pm #

      Thank you, Ron! Good to see you here. Do come back!

  20. Annie P May 22, 2013 at 11:00 am #

    I already read Sin and Vengeance and the End of Marking Time, CJ West is becoming one of my favorite authors. Diane, as always, thank you for bringing insight into the creative minds that so keep my mind occupied. Wonderful interview.

    • Diane Capri May 23, 2013 at 5:58 pm #

      Thanks, Annie! Good to see you here. Thanks for stopping by and for the comment.

  21. Jan Leonard May 22, 2013 at 1:35 pm #

    Good interview…Okay, now i will have to start reading CJ West books Sounds like my kinda genre

    • Diane Capri May 23, 2013 at 5:59 pm #

      Hi, Jan, Glad you enjoyed the interview. Do let us know how you enjoy the book!

  22. Donna White May 25, 2013 at 11:15 pm #

    Sounds like my kind of books. Thanks, Donna

  23. Sanjit Narwekar May 26, 2013 at 2:10 am #

    digital books have revealed so many new writers and hopefully cj west will be one of them. his blogs are interesting and the winemaker’s son promises to be a good book. will keep a look out for him on amazon’s kdp. All the best.

  24. Renee Schuls-Jacobson June 1, 2013 at 10:19 pm #

    What a great interview! I loved reading about CJ!

  25. Deborah Ferguson June 16, 2013 at 6:25 pm #

    Can’t t wait to read one of CJ West’s books. IF IT is half as entertaining and intriguing as one of yoursit will be a very enjoyable evening!

    • Diane June 20, 2013 at 2:28 pm #

      Thank you, Deborah! Let me know how you enjoy CJ’s work, too!

Get Jack in the Green—Free!

Sign up FREE to my email list & start reading Jack in the Green in minutes...