Friday 13 May 2011

C.J. West interview: The End of Marking Time

The End of Marking Time by C.J. West

C.J. West has written 5 thrillers. His latest, The End of Marking Time, pits a gifted housebreaker against a futuristic prison system then asks you to decide his fate. Sin and Vengeance, the first book in C.J.’s Randy Black series, is currently in development for film with Beantown Productions, LLC (screenplay by Marla Cukor).

Can you sum up your book in no more than 25 words?

“1984 meets Prison Break.” Michael O’Connor is locked in a plexiglass box and he begs for your help to get free.

What was your motivation for writing it?

I was wrestling with the idea that the start we are given in life limits who we can become. Parents are an incredible force to shape our lives and replacing the effort nurturing parents give us is a monumental challenge. Are we doomed if our parents fall down on the job?

How long did it take you to write?

This idea exploded out of me. Normally I spend 6 months drafting a book. I drafted this book in 6 weeks and the storyline never changed. Editing took three months and the book was ready in record time (for me). I credit this to the grip the idea had on me. Readers have said that this book is very thought-provoking and the ideas stay with them.

How important is a book's central character?

Michael O’Connor is everything to The End of Marking Time. I think books can have an ensemble cast, but some ideas require a dynamic character who embodies this story.

What are the greatest opportunities facing writers these days?

I think e-books are the greatest thing to happen to writers since the printing press. The ease (and low cost) of distribution really changes the game for new authors. I have given away thousands of copies of my latest book and readers have given the book away to their friends tens of thousands of times. To do this with a print book would have cost $50,000. Because I was giving away an e-book I was able to reach tens of thousands of readers through social media.

Ever tried your hand at screenwriting?

I was fortunate to have my book Sin & Vengeance optioned for film. The screenwriter for the project really wanted to capture the essence of the relationship between the central characters and so she spent lots of time talking with me about the book and how it would translate to film. I learned a great deal during this process even though I didn’t actually write the screenplay. I am really grateful for the experience and I hope to see the film on the big screen some day.

What's the oddest question you've been asked in an interview?

My daughter interviewed me on my Blog Talk Radio show and asked what my most embarrassing moment was. Being my daughter, she’s seen more than a few embarrassing moments and she also knows my history - my dad won’t ever let me forget it. On air, I told a story about a day my father brought me out fishing and sang a song to make fun of me. My daughter knew the song well and started singing it on the program. I got two embarrassing moments for the price of one.

How do you feel about reviews?

I think reviews are really important but I seem to be in the minority. As a writer I want people to enjoy my work and feedback is an important part of that. When I buy a book I always read the reviews (best vs. worst) so I know what I am getting. Lately I’ve seen some books with really awful reviews selling very well, so it seems that many people disregard reviews when buying e-books.

What is your favourite Dystopian Novel?

The Road. The book gripped me from start to finish. I was really disappointed with the ending, but I don’t know how the book could have ended better given the scenario.

The End of Marking Time by C.J. West


  1. Thanks for hosting me Allan. It was an enjoyable electronic trip across the pond.


  2. Glad to have you, CJ. Hope you'll come back when the next book's out.