Wesley is the author of the upcoming novels The Deaths of Tao (Angry Robot Books, Oct 29, 2013) and Time Salvager (Tor Books 2015). A former stunt man, Wesley is a member of the Screen Actors Guild, and can be seen in film and television such as "Banzai Chef," Fred Claus, and putting out Oscar worthy performances as a bank teller in Chicago Blackhawks commercials. His debut novel, The Lives of Tao (Angry Robot Books), is out now.

We’ve heard that you personally acted out every fight scene in The Lives of Tao. Do you act out dialogue too? Are there other ways in which your acting experience has informed your writing?

I don’t act out the dialogue because that would just be silly. Okay, maybe once or twice to work out the breathing. After all, have you ever tried to punch someone while you’re talking?

Actually, I think acting has helped with the timing of writing banter. The Lives of Tao has many light moments and a lot of what makes dialogue successful is pacing and comedic timing. Acting helped out with that immensely when I ran the scenes in my head.

You’ve published two novels, but don’t have any short story credits—what’s up with that? How did you decide to leap straight into novels?

I don’t have any short story credits because I’ve never written any. Personally, it’s not my bag. To be honest, I don’t think I’ve ever tried to write a short. They are an entirely different beast from novels, and in many ways, they’re much harder. With short stories, you have to make every dang word count. Every meaning has to be exact. I like to take time with my scenes, let them slowly unfold, and be leisurely in playing it out.

You've mentioned that due to some OCD tendencies, you lost touch with friends while writing The Lives of Tao. Did you do better working on The Deaths of Tao? Any tips for other writers with the same tendencies?

Actually, no. I think it’s gotten worse. Well, not true. Let me start over.

In regards to my friends prior to my writing career, yes I don’t see them as much anymore. Part of it is because we’re old now. Folks I used to go to the bars and clubs with now have families and babies and houses in the suburbs and all that jazz. I’m still clinging to living in the city with just my wife and dog.

My #1 recommendation for any writer is to get a dog. We’re in a lonely profession. Sometimes, I forget to leave the house for days at a time. Eva the Terrordale is one of the few reasons why my pasty white ass sees the sun once in a while.

As for friends after my writing career begun, I have more now than I’ve ever had in my life. The writing community has been kick-ass awesome. That would be my advice to writers who find themselves falling into a “cat lady” lifestyle. Join the writing community online, be it online forums, twitter, Facebook…etc. It’s a great community out there. Be involved. Lastly, attend conventions. They’re a blast and a great source for networking with agents, publishers, and other writers.



You've mentioned that due to some OCD tendencies, you lost touch with friends while writing The Lives of Tao. Did you do better working on The Deaths of Tao? Any tips for other writers with the same tendencies?

Actually, no. I think it’s gotten worse. Well, not true. Let me start over.

In regards to my friends prior to my writing career, yes I don’t see them as much anymore. Part of it is because we’re old now. Folks I used to go to the bars and clubs with now have families and babies and houses in the suburbs and all that jazz. I’m still clinging to living in the city with just my wife and dog.

My #1 recommendation for any writer is to get a dog. We’re in a lonely profession. Sometimes, I forget to leave the house for days at a time. Eva the Terrordale is one of the few reasons why my pasty white ass sees the sun once in a while.

As for friends after my writing career begun, I have more now than I’ve ever had in my life. The writing community has been kick-ass awesome. That would be my advice to writers who find themselves falling into a “cat lady” lifestyle. Join the writing community online, be it online forums, twitter, Facebook…etc. It’s a great community out there. Be involved. Lastly, attend conventions. They’re a blast and a great source for networking with agents, publishers, and other writers.

What do you wish you were reading but aren't, because it doesn't exist?

Ok, this one is easy. If I had one wish to read something but can’t because the damn thing doesn’t exist, it would be Wang Dulu’s Crane-Iron Pentology.

What the devil is that, you ask? It’s a five book wuxia series that was never translated to English. Movie goers will probably know the film adaptation of the fourth book, which is Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. It is a travesty that this series has not been brought over to the western world. Someone get it done!

By the way, in case you’re wondering why I just don’t read the Mandarin version, it’s because my Mandarin speaking abilities rival that of a five year-old’s and my Mandarin reading ability even less so. That’s what happens when you get snatched from your natural habitat at five years old and migrated to the dangerous outlands of Nebraska.

What should a reader do after reading this? 

Paint a self-portrait. Learn Tai Chi. Adopt a pet. Taste your alcohol. Buy a stranger a meal. Call your mom (I’m bad at this). Leave your phone at home. Punt a racist. Watch at least the first season of West Wing. Lastly, try stinky tofu.