1. What gave you the idea to write Of Hearts and Stars?
It all started with a drawing of one my characters that a friend did way back in high school, dubstep, and this really cool idea for a scene consisting of one ship ruining another in a killer space battle using a needlessly large sub-woofer.
2. How many books do you envision in the Cadet Starship Chronicles series?
Four that follow Leoric's storyline, perhaps two or three retelling events from the perspective of other characters, and a compilation of short stories that revolve around the other cadets of Arbalest Solar Academy.
3. Would you tell us a bit about the Of Hearts and Stars webcomic? Does it tell new stories about the characters from your book and/or does it retell stories from the novel in visual form?
Of course! I've teamed up with Jacob Anderson, an absolutely talented illustrator, in order to pull it off. Right now the novel is out, but with the webcomic we have so much wiggle room. It was decided that it'd be a mix of both stories from the book as well as new stories--a companion of sorts that has potential to give fans more of the characters that they love.
4. What ultimately motivated you to find--or steal!--time to write, and what advice would you give to other artists about making the decision to make time to create within their busy lives?
I'd like to bring reading back. *ducks* Please! Stop throwing things! I love to read, too, but right now the crowd of most avid readers really isn't diverse enough. Even if I grumble at both franchises from time to time I felt that Harry Potter and Twilight did a lot for the young adult genre and literature in whole. I'd come across people my age that I'd never known to read with a copy of either respective novel in their hands. I, too, would like to some day join the ranks of authors who have inspired my otherwise book-opposed peers to crack a spine.
My advice? Finish it! You know what I'm talking about. I used to start writing projects, but then stop either due to writer's block, lack of confidence in what I'm writing, or poor time management. Then I stopped letting those three excuses control my pen and I threw down. Oh yes. It did take a while, but I felt so good for having finally started and completed an entire project. So yes, even if you think it's the most horrid story/poem in the world: finish it. Then rewrite it. Remember, fellow ink-slaves: even a diamond comes from a lump of coal if pressed and polished!
5. What's next for Ed West?
Writing, talks with editors, my illustrator, and my web admin. Oh? The big picture? I just want to find more ways for readers to enjoy my work, whether it be with webcomics, animated music videos, or even indie games. Tl;dr: big fun! For now readers can expect more of the webcomic over the summer, a finely polished anniversary edition of OHAS this fall, and the next novel in the CSC sometime in November.