Monday, February 18, 2013

Interview and Giveaway: Hell’s Mercenary by Luke West

Can you tell readers a little bit about yourself and what inspired to write in this particular genre?

I’m 25 years of age, and was born and currently reside in Queensland, Australia.
To be honest I just started writing without being aware of what genre I was heading into. I have always been an avid fan on Fantasy and anything Paranormal; I guess writing in one of these genres was inevitable. I love creating worlds and characters with abilities far outside the norm. It’s hard to do that in any other genre.

What inspired you to write this book?

Before writing this particular book, my hard drive was filled with only half completed novels. This was starting to bug me, and I started doubting my ability to ever finish one. For fun, I started writing the prologue to Hell’s Mercenary and I just couldn’t stop. When I wasn’t typing, I was planning the novel on scrap paper. I loved the characters, the worlds and the situations the both of them were open too.

Please tell us about your latest release.

Hell’s Mercenary is the first of three books from the Intervening World Chronicles.
Arliah lives a mundane life in Hell. In order to escape she unwillingly signs a contract with the devil. Before she knows it, she is signing out at Hell’s reception desk, and traveling up the lengthy elevator ride - eventually arriving at Earth. Her mission is to find out the secrets of Heaven, and bring them to Hell. Meanwhile the people on Earth are battling against each other to secure one of the weekly tickets in Heaven.

Do you have a special formula for creating characters' names? Do you try to match a name with a certain meaning to attributes of the character or do you search for names popular in certain time periods or regions?

A little bit of everything really. Obviously in a fantasy novel having the name Michael isn’t exactly realistic. I use online search engines and name generators mainly. Some authors find this to be the hardest part of writing the novel, matching a name to a character can be daunting.

Was one of your characters more challenging to write than another?

Yes! In Hell’s Mercenary, a character named Quookum eventually enters the book. She is a little, nosy old lady whose opinion is the only one that matters. I actually watched a lot of old people at shopping centers just to get a feel about the way they act. I ended up writing a complete background story on her for my own sake.

Is there a character that you enjoyed writing more than any of the others?

Ida is my favorite. She is a Witch who lives deep within Hell’s forest. She lives alone in a little old cottage and that’s how she likes it. Ida is a kind old lady, but is well aware of the art that is black magic. I have a special bond with her.

Do you have a formula for developing characters? Like do you create a character sketch or list of attributes before you start writing or do you just let the character develop as you write?

I let the character come out to play why I write. I usually have a fare idea of who they are and the purpose they have in the book. No matter how planned I am though, they always seems to have more to their personality then I realize.

What is your favorite scene from the book? Could you share a little bit of it, without spoilers of course?

One of my favorite scenes is when the main character Arliah re-enters Hell. This is home to her, but it’s the first time the reader is welcomed down under.
Certain elements of Hell are symbolic to what perception is already out there, but I wanted to develop this one step further. Hell has shopping centers, banks, grocery stores and children’s playgrounds. All of which the people can enjoy without a smile.

Can you tell readers a little bit about the world building in the book/series? How does this world differ from our normal world?

In the first book of the series, my main focus was to introduce the reader to the different worlds, and explain the difference between them.

Earth – A deserted world: a place of patience, hope and misery. This is the waiting zone for the humans. They must kill each other for the bounties that hover over their heads. The people with the highest bounties win a life-long ticket to Heaven. The people that try and don’t succeed, end up in Hell for 12 months. Once their expiration date approaches, they are sent down the Tunnel of Abyss, which turns them to dust.  The humans who don’t want to participate can stay on Earth, lingering in fear. Arliah must travel through Earth to find the gates of Heaven.

With the book being part of a series, are there any character or story arcs, that readers jumping in somewhere other than the first book, need to be aware of? Can these books be read as stand alones?

If the reader was to only read the first novel, they would miss out on the heart of the story, the history of the characters and why the world they live in is so brutal. I believe book two will be the most important.

Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? How do you deal with it?

Unfortunately yes. The longest it has lasted was six months. I rely on close friends and family members to pull me from the rut. When I don’t write, I’m not myself. It usually starts with me writing several pages of “rubbish” only to delete them afterwards. Very frustrating.

Do you have any weird writing quirks or rituals?

Listen to music that would best describe the scene I’m about to write. It may be Evanescence or a top 40 hit. 

Do you write in different genres?

Yes. I typically write Fantasy/Paranormal, but I’m working on a Horror. It’s not your typical “jump out of you seat” horror, but more “obscure.” I have a few general fiction ideas up my sleeve too.

Do you find it difficult to write in multiple genres?

It is challenging. Pulling the reader in and keeping them interested really depends on how you evolve the story. Keeping them interested with a horror story and keeping them interested in a romance is a completely different thing. This is what I find the most challenging. 

When did you consider yourself a writer?

That’s a tricky one. I guess any writer will find this the most difficult transformation. I only published my first peace a month ago, so I guess then. I have been writing since I was 12, but never imagined my work being read by others.

What are your guilty pleasures in life?

Dr Pepper and Peanut M&M’s. Even though the packet says to share, I don’t personally like the idea :D

What was the last amazing book you read?

I loved The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. One of my favorite books to date!

What can readers expect next from you?

I like to be different. I notice the different things in life, and the different/unique personalities out there. I hope to release a book that you can’t compare to any others, yet can’t remove your eyes from. That’s the goal anyway.

Where can readers find you on the web?

Official website:

Would you like to leave readers with a little teaser or excerpt from the book?

Although the wide-open space that the desert provides gives me a certain realm of safety, it also opens up a new world of danger. This desert doesn't just contain sand; it owns the gates to Hell. The sun exits, allowing the moonbeams to guide my way. The sweat that once consumed my skin has now gone, allowing coldness to enter my body. The night is black, showcasing the thousands of stars that make up tonight's sky.

My legs begin to ache, proving I must be close. As my eyes scan the area, I can't help feel the oppressive silence. No noise from banished souls, no echoes from the outer city, just deathly quiet. Too quiet. I take in the outline of the lift. A small rectangular shape, outlined in silver metal. If I were any taller, I’d have to duck or my head would be covered in bruises. A batch of unsettled butterflies take up residence in my stomach. Something is not right. Standing in front of the rusted lift doors, something is definitely telling me not to push the button alerting the lift to my presence.

Surveying the situation, I become concerned with what little protection this scene provides me. The humans must be laughing at the target I am so readily providing them. To them I am no threat at all, just a young woman with long black hair and skin so white I could pass as a ghost. My bright blue eyes could be my only chance of scaring them off. I realize I'm not a bulky woman with muscles like a professional wrestler. I don't have devil horns sprouting from my forehead. My appearance betrays no mythical power with which to fight them off. 
I'm just a girl.

I rely on my black leather trench coat, my high leather boots and my visible tattoos to composite the bad ass image I need to survive in this place. I pull my dagger from its hilt, happy that my glove hides the ring. Allowing a smile to form across my face, hoping to display the confidence I only hope I possess. I wait. Seconds turn into minutes. The unsettling feeling staunchly refuses to leave me. With my dagger still at the ready, I slam my left hand against the button on the panel.

I jump when the lift jerks into motion. This is the only sound I have heard in hours. I wait. The eerie creaking of the rusted chains pulling the carriage to the surface echoes loudly through the desert. No hiding my presence now. 

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The Full Fang

Hell’s Mercenary
Intervening World Chronicles
Luke West

Genre: Fantasy

ISBN: 978-0-9874799-0-7 

Number of pages: 203
Word Count: 58, 000

Cover Artist: Jessica Drumm

Book Description:

If you were faced with the abominable decision to die or kill a loved one to survive, would you be the honorable sacrifice?

Hell’s Mercenary. The Urban Fantasy novel from the Intervening World Chronicles, by up and coming author Luke West.

Tobias is the Devil – the ruler of Hell. For years he has banished the souls of innocent humans only to compliment his ruling status, but slowly things are starting to change.

Fewer souls are struggling down the elevator ride eventuating at Hell’s reception desk, yet heaven is reporting an influx of angel’s climbing the staircase into the clouds.

Tobias begins questioning the rules with his sister and rivalry – Constance – the leader of heaven.

When his inquiries go unanswered, he entrusts his assistant Arliah with a mission she simply cannot refuse, yet reluctantly accepts.

Her uncanny nature and gothic philosophy only cause havoc among Hell’s people, and their eyes slowly open as they begin noticing her continual departures through Hell’s gates and presumably into the beauty of heaven.

What Arliah soon comprehends is that the gates of heaven are located at the other end of Earth.

Earth – A deserted world: a place of patience, hope and misery. The only escape is to win the game; your target – the humans with the leading bounties.

Will her black magic connections lead her to the gates of heaven – a world believed to be the light at the end of the tunnel? Or will her newfound supernatural powers carve the third strike against her signed contract?

Her mission – find heaven, and once she does, bring it to Hell.

About the Author:

Luke West is an up and coming author from Queensland, Australia. He was raised and still resides on the Gold Coast.

“Life is a journey, who knows the destination.”
 – Luke West

Luke has always enjoyed creative writing, and his first dream – to become a published author – was realized at a young age. His parents were constant, avid readers of his many short stories and novels, and have always supported his decision to chase his dreams.

After studying the art of writing throughout his teenage years, Luke finally took the leap to pursue his writing career and set out to release his debut novel.
Luke decided to explore the self-publishing world, aiming to prove to the publishing houses that he has what it takes to research, market, and sell his work. With this goal achieved, he hopes to secure a full time career in the world of the written word.

Luke enjoys writing Fantasy, Horror or anything with a paranormal twist. His debut Urban Fantasy novel, Hell’s Mercenary is the first of three books from the Intervening World Chronicles and is available for download now!

For the latest news or to connect with Luke personally, visit
“Thank you for allowing me to entertain your imagination. I hope my books find themselves among your favorite books.”
– Luke West

Official Website:

Official Page:

Leave a comment for a chance 
to win an ebook copy of 
Hell's Mercenary


Debby said...

Great interview. I liked reading about the characters. I have The Hunger Games and have not read it yet. After reading your interview, I may just do that.
debby236 at gmail dot com

bn100 said...

Nice teaser


Luke West said...

Thanks Debby & bn100 - nice to meet you both :D