Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Spoiler Alert: Santa Claus is Dead...I Think

When I was 5 years old, my neighbor friend Tommy and I often discussed weighty childhood subjects around the flagpole in my yard. On one occasion the discussion turned to Santa Claus and I, in a very matter of fact tone, told him Santa Clause was dead. He promptly ran home, crying to his mother.

I felt bad, but it was true. My parents told me about how St. Nicholas had lived centuries ago and was the inspiration for the modern Santa. My parents accepted Santa as a fun story, but wanted their children to understand the difference between the story and reality. Like my parents, I did not intend to shatter my friend’s childhood belief in Santa, but merely expressed the truth that the story of Santa Claus and flying reindeer was just that…a fictional story.

I know this can be a controversial subject. Even in my house my wife and I don’t exactly see eye to eye on this, so I am going to drop it here. But this subject ties in to another question I’ve been wondering about lately.

What is the relationship between truth and fiction? Or put another way, does fiction have some responsibility to be honest?

With Santa Claus, we repeat the story over and over and expect that everyone now, or someday will know that it is just a story. But what about when fiction ties closely to real events or history? Should we assume that readers would be able to draw the line between the truth of history and the fictional premise or relationships posed in the writing?

For example, I love the Kingdom and the Crown series, which fictionalizes events and relationships surrounding the life of the Savior. These books paint the picture of the time and circumstances in which the Savior lived during his mortal ministry. In these books, the things that really matter regarding faith and the life events and mission of the Savior are presented as historical truth and the fiction merely surrounds the true events but does not attempt to alter or stretch the truth.

I also love the Left Behind series, which fictionalizes the events leading up to the end of the world as interpreted loosely from the Book of Revelations. How many readers know the difference between the doctrine regarding the end of the world and the fictionalized account of what might happen? I suspect that there are many who believe the fiction of the Left Behind series to be truth.

I pose these questions, not because I have answers, but because I’m curious and hope to learn. Is there a line we should not cross in mingling fact and fiction for the sake of honesty and truthful representation? Whether its fiction based loosely on church history or the Civil War, or the life of Christ or end of the world scenarios, should we worry about honesty, or simply call it fiction and hope readers can tell the difference?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Defensive Tactics- Blog Tour- Kimberly Bennett

Here are a couple of my favorite quotes from Kim's review. I appreciate Kim's time in reviewing my book and posting a review to her blog.

"I'm amazed that this is Steve Westover's first novel! I really enjoyed the humor, the suspense, the love triangle and overall, the way he writes."

I also like..."This book is action-packed! With unexpected twists and turns, it keeps you turning pages.

I like that Kim noticed the personal growth of each of the three main characters. "The development of each main character was done very well. Jimmy learns about honesty, commitment, and second chances at life. Emily learns the value of not compromising her beliefs and becoming the main force in bringing justice to those who deserve it. Paul becomes "the man" in protecting and helping those he cares about

And finally..."And not very often can you find a story like this with corrupt business owners, judges and FBI agents, that is told in a clean way and with light LDS influence. It was fantastic!"

Thank you Kim. To read her full review, check out her blog at...

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Defensive Tactics- Blog Tour- Jen Kindrick

Today's stop on the tour takes us to Jen's blog at To read her full review, please check out her blog.

Here are a couple of my favorite lines.

#1- The first line... "Wow! What a book I have to share today!" Wow! Thank you Jen for the intro.

#2- "Paul, Emily, and soon Jimmy, end up being involved in one of the most twisted and exciting action stories I've ever read." Very Cool! Thanks.

#3- "This book is full of surprises, great humor, and suspense."

#4- "It is a great read for men and women alike."

#5- "Great work on this one Steve! I'll be looking forward to future releases! 5 stars!"

I really appreciate the kind words Jen shared with her bloggers. I do have to admit I was surprised by one line however. "I should warn the sensitive reader. If this were a movie, it would likely get a "PG13" rating, if not an "R" for some violent scenes."

Normally, I would never disagree with a reviewer, and I understand that ratings can be highly subjective. I personally believe Defensive Tactics is a PG book, not PG-13 or R. Yes, there is a little violence, but mostly implied. There is no language, sex or innuendo. I think it is a clean read, and I would feel comfortable with my young teenager reading it.

I truly appreciate Jen and her review. Check out her blog.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Defensive Tactics- Blog Tour- Cheryl's Book Nook & Cranberrie Fries

Our blog tour takes us to two stops again today. The first is Cheryl's Book nook. Cheryl reviews MANY books and I thank her for reviewing mine. Here are a couple of quotes from her review.

"Defensive Tactics is Mr. Westover’s first novel. It reads like it is Mr. Westover’s third or fourth novel. Right from the beginning this book grabbed me and I was hooked all the way until the last page."

"This book was packed full of intensity and high octane adrenaline!"

"The suspense just kept building and building as the story line moved along. I can’t wait to see what Mr. Westover has up his sleeve next."

Thanks Cheryl!

The next stop is at Cranberryfries by Debbie Lambson. Here are a couple of my favorite quotes.

"This was a fun book about a corrupt judge and FBI stake outs."

"Westover does a great job at leaving you wondering who you can trust."

Thanks Debbie.

Check out their full reviews at their blogs.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Defensive Tactics- Blog Tour- Sheila Staley

I appreciate Sheila's kind words in reviewing Defensive Tactics on our Blog Tour today. Thank you. And for the record, I love the name of her blog.

Here are a few of my favorite quotes.

"My initial impression, as I was reading the first chapters of the book was, there is no way this is Steve's first book! It truly felt like a seasoned writer had created this story."

"All of you mystery/suspense/action lovers, do not despair. There is plenty of all three things, including a heavy dose of " holding your breath until the very end" moments."

And finally..."This book has something for everyone, male and female of all ages. This is a juggernaut of excitement, full of high- speed suspense and an ending resolution that touches the heart."

To read the full review, visit Sheila's blog at

Monday, October 4, 2010

Defensive Tactics- Reviews by Donny Anderson and Rebecca Talley

Today we are going to make 2 stops on the blog tour. The first comes from Donny Anderson who posted his review on Saturday the 2nd. Here are a couple of my favorite quotes.

"Defensive tactics is a book my wife and I both found easy to read, fast paced, and enjoyable."

He also wrote..."I like Westover’s depiction of honest relationships devoid of the immature games people commonly play that hinder trust."

The second stop is with Rebecca Talley.

"I enjoyed reading this book...I think he created some great characters."

I also like..."Westover did a good job of creating an interesting and suspenseful story."

She also noted..."Westover did a great job characterizing the bad guys, too. The judge is slimy, slimy, slimy--I'd like to slap him."

I have to admit, that bad guys were definitely begging for a beat down.

Rebecca mentioned that she's not a fan of the omnicient point of view. I think many people feel this way and POV was a real struggle for me writing this book. As my first novel, I had NO experience writing point of view and very little understanding about it, so went with the only thing that made sense to me. I suspect with time and study, I will get better at this, and avoid shifting POV.

I appreciate both Donny and Rebecca reviewing my book. Thanks.

To see their full reviews, and to learn more about their writing, visit their blogs

Friday, October 1, 2010

Defensive Tactics- Blog Tour- Debbie Davis

It is very flattering to read a review like Debbie's. I appreciate the kind words and the way she shared her personal experience while reading. While it was certainly my hope in writing, that the book might contain more value than simply a fast, exciting escape story, Debbie's experience with the themes of the book are beyond my expectations. Thank you for sharing.

Many of my friends know that Defensive Tactics was originally titled "Escape from the Dark". I originally titled it this way because of the emotional, physical and spiritual escape the characters needed. We all have moments of darkness in our lives and the escape comes only when we recognize the true source of our light and salvation. The publisher re-titled it Defensive Tactics, I'm sure because it sounded more exciting and action packed, but I am always pleased when the reader recognizes the themes of redemption and personal growth, or escape from our basest, most natural selves.

Here are a few of my favorite quotes from Debbie's review.

"Defensive Tactics is a fast-paced story that grabs you and doesn't let go until the last pages. I loved how integrity and understanding, love and second chances are all so neatly woven into the story - especially with Jimmy."

"The author has the ability to teach and nurture as he keeps the excitement going, and I read things that the bishop talked about in the book with Jimmy to my husband because they rang so deeply with in me."

"It made me sit up and go WOW, I just had an epiphany when gospel truths rang clearly."

"I felt that this story had it all. I really enjoyed it from start to finish and found that I grew along with the characters in unexpected ways."

"I felt that this was an amazing first book by Steve Westover and would never have believed that it was his first novel- if I hadn't been told. It has the air of a seasoned writer to it, with complicated plot twists and character growth throughout the story!"

To read the full review, visit Debbie's blog at