Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Caldwell County Newspaper Article- by Anne Tezon

Book signing by local author Friday at Far West Store
By Anne Tezon

The premier novel of Kidder resident Steve Westover will be unveiled with a book signing this Friday evening, from 6:00 to 7:30 at Far West Country Store. “Defensive Tactics” is a fast-moving read set in Kansas City that pits two FBI agents against a corrupt federal judge, a crime syndicate and a “mole” inside the agency who threatens to get all of them killed.

The only thing this book lacks is sex and foul language. But that’s exactly what this Latter-day Saint bishop intended. Westover is an assistant manager at Bank Midwest in Cameron by day but on evenings and weekends, much of his time is devoted to answering the needs of the congregation of the newly formed Far West {Ward} for the LDS Church. When he began writing this first novel, he wanted to appeal to a niche audience hungry for an exciting read but without any compromising of high moral standards.

Westover admits he never thought about writing a book and doesn’t even read [many] books. He always watched movies and television. But one morning he woke up from a dream that featured three characters, and he jotted down some notes and let them sit for a while. His wife, Mica, finally urged him to do something with the characters. When he sat down to write, the instinctive novelists “what-if” exercise began. AS he wrote, with Mica reading behind him, she’d get excited and ask, “What’s going to happen next?” He had to admit he didn’t know. But it’s a wild ride that the three main characters take readers on.

Years after a family tragedy leaves him emotionally scarred, Jimmy finds himself homeless and jobless. He looks up an old friend who is an FBI agent in Kansas City. Paul is in a new relationship with Emily, a female FBI agent, and Jimmy comes between the two in his struggle to regain his identity. Emily draws them both into her undercover assignment and the three new friends fight to protect each other and evaluate who God wants them to be.

Defensive Tactics is fashioned around the intricacies of relationships and the choices all of us make in our daily lives. Westover questioned whether people [would] have to compromise their moral standards in order to function in stressful job and relationship situations.

In looking for a publisher, he wanted one that promoted the kinds of standards he’s trying to keep. The second largest publisher out of Utah, Bonneville Books, is known for its “clean fiction” and caters to families wanting good but clean reads. A reader not familiar with LDS culture would not make the connection, as Westover keeps the church background of the characters just under the radar. He didn’t want to be in a position of representing the church and ends up producing a great read without being preachy or doctrinal, posing universal situations that all of us confront, no matter our church background.

Westover already has a second book at the publisher’s, this one a kid’s fantasy book based in Crater Lake Oregon, where he grew up. A second adult novel is also in the hopper. Of his first work, friends and family members have read it and one family member expressed surprise, “Wow, that was like a real book!”

For Steve, the novel publishing process has taught him, “You can do things you never thought you could. It’s fun. It’s a nice hobby.”

This “hobby” has resulted in a read you won’t be able to put down until its exciting conclusion.