Reed Logan Westgate
Reed Logan Westgate was born in Sanford, Maine and attended college in Dover, New Hampshire where he studied Accounting and Finance. He currently works for a non-profit social service agency in the finance department. He married his dream girl whom he met in grade school. They have a loving family with two beautiful daughters. In his spare time, he enjoys tabletop gaming, roleplaying games, and fishing.
Welcome to a new post on my favourite section of the web. Today we are accompanied by Reed Logan Westgate, urban fantasy author, writer of The Baku trilogy and the recently released Soulstealer Origins.
Let's dive in!
1.- What made you choose self-publishing?
Nearly a decade ago I saw an interview with R.A. Salvatore, one of my favorite traditionally published authors, where he mentioned independent publishing and how the market was vastly different than when he started. That it was so hard for new voices to get attention from publishers. He painted self-publishing as a ton of work, but if you were willing to put the work in it could be a viable path. That stuck with me.
When I finally got serious about my writing career I knew I wanted to self-publish. I was going all in, placing a bet on myself. After some planning with my wife, I took out a loan from my retirement and jumped headfirst into self-publishing. I knew I had enough to cover the editing, covers, and production for the three-book trilogy and I promised myself at the outset that I would publish those three books. Whether people loved them or hated them I would tell my story in full as I had envisioned it from the outset.
By the second book in the series I knew. This was what I wanted to spend the rest of my life doing. So I am working on a long-term plan, with the hopes of transitioning to a full-time self published author in nine years.
2.- Why did you decide to take urban fantasy as your genre?
I have written and read a lot of Fantasy. I absolutely love the genre, but it also represented a massive collection of my unfinished work. Wanting to try something different from anything I had written before I looked at other types of stories I enjoyed. I came up with an outline for a dystopian sci-fi series and the sketch of an Urban Fantasy novel. Largely inspired by my love of shows like Supernatural, Lucifer, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer the urban fantasy world came together effortlessly.
It was a tough choice on which to pursue, but in the end, I felt I had a better story and character with Xlina and Oxivius so they ultimately won out. The dystopian series needed a little more time to ripen.
3.- Which was the main inspiration for The Baku trilogy?
When I started outlining the trilogy the concept I really wanted to explore was the world of magic beneath the surface of society. Most importantly how the existence of such things would be hidden by our largest institutions. I love weaving together the lore and legends from around the world and so the big question when worldbuilding was what if all of it were real? Every lore, every legend, and every god?
With the Baku Trilogy I had a ton of fun flipping some scripts and delving into the preconceived notions of good and evil. Oxivius himself is a great representation of this struggle within Xlina. Necromancy is bad. She has always been told so. Yet Oxivius, the flesh-eating cannibal necromancer, continues to prove that the world of magic can’t be depicted in such simple terms as a single stroke of the brush.
4.- As you finished The Baku trilogy, which book would you say it was the most difficult to write?
The second book, Dirge of the Dead, was the toughest for me. I think every writer puts a piece of their heart and soul into their works. For me, Dirge came into being during the pandemic. Feelings of isolation, loneliness, and overwhelming helplessness really fueled the story. I was falling into a pretty dark place. The Infernal Games was finished, and doubt about whether I could do it again was creeping in. I was suffering with work life and personal life issues. I truly felt alone.
During that time I found a twitch streamer, Jason Gibeault. Jason is a top-notch miniature painter and all-around great guy. He was on three times a week during the pandemic, with a basic message. “Take care, because I care.” Honestly, he kept me going during the pandemic. He had no idea what I was doing. The struggles I had or the difficulties I was facing. But I would jump onto his stream and there he was talking about the isolation. Growing a community. He talked about keeping at your dream, even if you fail, to just keep moving forward. So I did.
Ultimately you see this play out over Dirge of the Dead. Xlina feels the isolation, cut off from friends and allies, she must face her problems truly alone. Ultimately, Dirge of the Dead is a story of finding hope in the darkest of times.
5.- On the whole publishing process, which part would you say you enjoyed more?
I definitely enjoy the writing process the most. My day job keeps me pretty busy so I tend to bottle up all my ideas during the week and then do massive writing sprints on weekends and vacations. I can get lost for hours just writing. After that, my favorite thing is seeing the cover art for the first time. For me, that’s when the book becomes real. It’s the moment where it has moved beyond a concept and has inched into reality.
6.- Recently, you published a new book, Soulstealer Origins, related to one of the characters of The Infernal Games, Ox. Could you tell us a little bit about it?
While Xlina is the main character of the Baku Trilogy, the audience fell in love with Oxivius. Something about the flesh-eating cannibal necromancer just resonated with people. I found myself constantly being asked about his background, where he came from, and just a general desire for more spotlight on him.
In the background, I had a large amount of his backstory drafted and explained, but his role in the Baku Trilogy was always meant to be more of the enigmatic mentor. Given the number of people asking for more, I decided it merited going back in time and telling the Origin story. With that I set out to tell the story of Oxivius, spanning his very long life. I am having a lot of fun with the Soulstealer Trilogy as it allows me to dabble in multiple time periods. Origins is set during the fall of the Knights Templar in the early 1300s, Mistress of the Waterfall picks up at the turn of the 1600s, and Exile will wrap up his four hundred years in Otherworld before his return to Earthrealm in the Baku Trilogy.
7.- How did you find mixing different mythological creatures for your fantasy? Did it imply much research?
The one thing I wanted to stay away from was Vampires. I didn’t want my story to vanish into the crowd that is werewolf/vampire stories in Urban Fantasy settings. With that goal, I set out to research myths and legends and incorporate those into my world. I actually love grabbing some of these lesser-known creatures and spinning them into the setting. The Baku for instance, from Japanese lore this creature devours dreams. What would that be like if they were humanized like vampires and werewolves? Thus Xlina was born.
You’ll find a range of creatures in the Baku-verse. A variety of fairies, monsters, folklore, and gods, all woven together. Brick, for instance, the ghost of fire. The flame Prometheus freed and gave as light to humanity. Weaving that tale into the lovable wolf spirit that is Brick is probably my favorite thing about writing Urban Fantasy.
8.- What can we expect from Reed Logan Westgate in the future?
After I finish the Soulstealer Trilogy later this year, I plan on continuing with the Xlina, Amber, and Oxivius in the aftermath of the Baku trilogy. The first book in that series will be Mistfall: Nightmare’s End. There is still so much story left to explore I don’t see myself ever being done with the Baku-verse I have created. That doesn’t mean I won’t take a detour now and then to try my hand at some other stories and genres, but you never forget your first.