Bridgetown High


Seventeen year old Mark Wilkerson has no memory of the fiery crash that killed his family on the Carquinez Bridge… Living with his grandmother and burdened with guilt, Mark vows to find the hit-and-run driver and take his revenge. The only detail he remembers is round taillights swerving in front of his family’s car, and he’s shocked when he notices the car of the high school’s bully, Jeff Marino, has identical taillights—and a suspicious dent. Now he wants revenge more than ever… Jeff believes Mark is an anti-Vietnam War activist like his cousin Gary—and despises him for it. To make matters worse, when Jeff’s girlfriend Genie Lombardi dumps him for Mark, it kicks Jeff’s hatred for him to a dangerous new level. Lies and threats escalate, until drugs and a shocking death send Jeff over the edge, and his campaign to get Genie back any way he can turns violent. When Mark’s memory begins to return, it leads to a terrifying confrontation. Will he finally prove the identity of the guilty driver? Or will he and Genie become one more tragedy associated with the Carquinez Bridge?

What is the Tag Line for your book? (A short description of your book in a sentence or two)

Is revenge truly justice... or just a path to more tragedy? Mark wants revenge against the person who killed his family, but in the end must learn to forgive.

Do you write full time or part time

Part time

How do you structure your day when you write

I use the hour-long lunch time at work to do my writing.

Why do you write? (Example; For fun, to make extra money, a personal experience you want to share with the public)

I love writing and being creative.

What are you working on right now / or your most recent work

I have a blog I use to contact readers and potential readers. I give advice to wannabe authors that appears to be well-received based on the number of people following me. You can read my blog at

What inspired you to create this book

I wanted to re-live the era of my youth, the mid-1960s. It was just fun doing that.

What genre do you write in and why did you choose it

Young adult. I chose that genre as I have many good, and some not so good, memories of when I was that age.

How much research did you do on your book? (If it applies)

Not a lot. I viewed some old photographs to get the setting right. I also did some research into the effects methamphetamines can do to kids who take them. I also did some research into the effects a suicide can have on the victim's best friend.

How do you think you have evolved creatively from when you first started writing until now

I began writing as a hobby 30 years ago, when I decided I could use my lunch breaks for expressing my stories. I began writing long hand on yellow paper pads. I got about half the book written before I finally got a computer and word processor. Now, writing on a computer is all I use. Over the years I decided I could turn my pen and paper writings into a novel. I utilized critique groups and eventually started my own group where I got a lot of great advice and helps to making my hobby into a dream come true, a published author. I owe much of my success to my critique members which whom, even after going our separate ways, I am still good friends.

What was the hardest thing about writing this book for you

Finding time to write, edit, help other writers, and overcome naysayers.

What was the most rewarding

Knowing people actually like my novel, "Bridgetown High." I've gotten some great reviews on Amazon. You can read them here:

If you had to start over, is there anything you would do different

Nothing I can think of. I did my best to create the story line, then edit, review, edit, and review again.

How have you evolved from when you first started writing until now

I think I've learned a lot about the craft of being creative and writing from my heart. I've also learned a lot about the technical side of polishing my novel to a brilliant shine. Then, getting a publisher was a a difficult task and I learned a lot in that regard and I thank Limitless Publishing for taking a chance with my novel.

Are you a planner type person, or do you prefer to dive right in when you write

I do some planning. I took a creative writing course in college and probably didn't learn all I was supposed to (I got an A in the class), but if I learned anything it was to begin the story with some kind of hint of tragedy and come up with a satisfying ending, then write to connect the seemingly disparate ideas.I also read a great book on writing. It's called "How to Write Best Selling Fiction," by Dean Koontz. His advice to wannabe authors is to begin the story with some kind of "terrible trouble" for the main character. Then, as the story progresses and the main character tries to overcome his/her trouble, he/she gets deeper and deeper in trouble until the final climax and denoument where everything is resolved.

Do they influence your writing

No. I write what I want. However, I have to admit that I have begun writing a sequel to "Bridgetown High" at the request of many of my readers. But, as I said, I write it the way I want.

Do you recommend being a part of a support groups to help you with your writing

Absolutely. Along with a few other writers, we started a critique group called "The Writer's Pen." I got wonderful advice and helps, not to mention encouragement when I felt down. Unfortunately, "The Writer's Pen" is now defunct.

Do you work with an editor If so, how much input do they have

No. The closest thing to an editor was my critique group. However, "Bridgetown High" was professionally edited by the editor at Limitless Publishing, but she didn't find much to "fix" due to the great work of my critique group.

Was there anyone in your past that you think influenced your writing

Yes. I loved the novels by Jack London, Louisa May Alcott, John Steinbeck, and many others. I loved their style and stories and hoped to be able to write like they did.

Do you have any tips or useful resources on marketing

Just keep at it. I think I got well over 300 rejections from agents over several years, but a publisher (Limitless Publishing) finally took a chance with me.

How are you publishing this book? (Indie / self-published, traditional)

"Bridgetown High" was published by Limitless Publishing on October 10, 2015, They are a small publishing company, but they have been great to work with.

What are your thoughts on book series

I have had many of my readers and fans encouraging me to write a sequel to "Bridgetown High." I'm seriously considering it.

How long do you think a book should be? (Pages or words)

For young adults, in my opinion, the length of a novel should be somewhere between 300 to 400 pages.

Do you have a strategy for finding reviewers

Some reviewers have volunteered their reviews, while others I've found on-line and traded reviews.

What advice would you give to your younger self today

If you dream about being a published author, go for it and don't give up. Writing a novel ain't for sissies.

What is your favorite book or film

I have so many favorites I could never choose just one. Among today's authors, I love the works of Dean Hughes, Richard Paul Evans, and still love the works of Jack London, Louisa May Alcott, John Steinbeck and many others.

If you don’t already have one, do you have plans to have a book trailer and what are your thoughts on them overall

I would love to do a trailer, but I have no idea how to do that, nor do I have the money for someone to create one for me. As for my thoughts of them overall, I'm not sure how worthwhile they are. I've seen some trailers that are very creative and inspiring, while others are a bore.

What are you working on next

As I've said above, I'm working on a sequel to "Bridgetown High." I also have two other novels sitting on the so-called back burner; "GERTA!" and what I'm calling for the time being "Johnny Sweeting's Story.""GERTA!" is more a middle age novel, set in the 1950s in a small town in California, while "Johnny Sweeting's Story" is historical, set in early Wyoming and California.

When you get frustrated, how do you deal with it

I'm always frustrated (just kidding). I suppose frustration is common to everyone. When I get frustrated I change the subject, i.e. go work on something else.

What advice would you give a writer that is just starting out

Enjoy the journey. There may be some times when you want to give up, but if you dream of being a writer, do it and don't look back.

About the Author

Paul W. West

Paul West is a freelance writer and novelist. Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, Paul claims to be a “Prune Picker,” though he now makes his home in Taylorsville, Utah. The rustic San Francisco Bay Area countryside, the quaint small town in which he grew up, and the colorful people who once lived there, have all teamed to fertilize his ever-churning mind with stories that are yearning to be told. From his earliest days in high school, his English teachers saw some raw writing ability in him, both for fiction and non-fiction, and urged him to pursue his dream of being a writer. In college his creative writing professors also encouraged him to mold his ability into a talent. After settling on a career as an environmental biologist, where he’s written numerous technical publications, the stories swarming through his mind kept crying to get out. So Paul began writing fiction, but only as a hobby at first. He has recently finished his first novel, BRIDGETOWN HIGH, and is working on his second. Paul intends to keep letting his stories out through future novels. Paul is the originator and former moderator of a private critique known as “The Writer’s Pen,” a sub forum in the “Authors by Design” web site (now defunct). He is also a member of Query Tracker forum; and Children's Writer's & Illustrator's forum; Utah Children’s Writers forum; among others. In addition to his writing, he and his wife, enjoy spending time with their four children and thirteen grandchildren, gardening, reading, traveling, and researching their family history.