Building Character with Richard "Tex" McKenna from Tex, and the Gangs of Suburbia

Welcome to my blog feature, Building Character in which you get to meet a character from a book. Talking to a character outside of their book is fun! Huge. Amounts. Of fun. 

This week Strands of Thought is host to Tex McKenna from Tex, and the Gangs of Suburbia. Welcome to Strands of Thought, Tex. Tell us a little about yourself and what your life is like.

Hey, um, I’m Richard “Tex” McKenna. Boy witch. Now, what are we doing here again? I hope no one’s gonna’ read this. I’d like to keep my witchiness a secret. It’s hard enough being in high school with bullies and a heinous vice-principal. Sure don’t want others knowing I’m a witch. That’s all I need.

It’s not like I chose to be a witch. Just found out last year. My mom’s legacy was passed onto me. Wish she’d passed on a ton of cash or something. But that’s my luck. Tex McKenna, broke male witch.

Besides being a boy witch in high school, tell us what other conflict are you up against.

What am I not against? Last year, when I found out I was a witch, it fell upon me to find out who was killing the bullies at Clearwell High. Long story. This year sucks much more. My girlfriend, Olivia, dumped me. Some dumb reason about not wanting to be on welfare or something. I dunno. Girls are more indecipherable than the nebulous rules of witchcraft. Guess I should mention that this year (my junior year) it fell upon my admittedly bony shoulders to save someone’s life. Through crazy events out of my control, I have to join a high school gang. I know, right? Tex McKenna, gangsta! And there’s this weird girl, Elspeth, who I’ve never seen before, don’t know, have no clue about. But she’s kinda’ hot. And she knows I’m a witch.

What have you learned about yourself, or friends, or family while trying to resolve all of this?

Nothing’s more important than loyal loved ones. My dad, even though he doesn’t have a clue, is always there for me. Then there’s Olivia. My ex.  She dumped me (did I mention that?). But she’s still there, willing to help. Even if it is as just “friends.” Gah! Just wish she wasn’t showing so much attention to the golden tanned Greek God, Brandon. Guy’s dumber than a bowl of cereal. Doesn’t stop every girl in school from ogling him. Jerk. There’s Mickey, my witch mentor. Hair bluer than sky and a slap sharper than a knife, she’s tough, the rock I need. Don’t know if I’d consider him a friend, but Detective Cowlings, possibly the only gay cop in Clearwell, Kansas, is a valued ally. But he suspects there’s more to me than meets the eye. He’s right, of course, but don’t tell him. People aren’t going to read this, right?

Is there anything about you that people are always giving you a hard time about? How do you feel about it?

Like a lotta’ kids, I’m bullied. No real reason. Just ‘cause I’m different, I guess. I’ve been called tons of names, but that pales in comparison to the true threat to my existence. Okay, okay, I know that sounds over-the-top, but really, every day you survive at Clearwell High? Victory! And, besides, I’m a teenager. It’s my right to be melodramatic.

 If you could change one thing in this world, what would you change?

Okay, I’m gonna’ cheat. Two things HAVE to change. One: I want my girlfriend, Olivia, back. I’ll do anything. And I do. But the stupid love spell goes wrong. In a major way. It’s complicated. Two:  I want an end to high school bullying and the random violence. It’s horrifying, yet I’m always in the midst of it. Really, though, it’s up to everyone banding together. Knowledge is power. So is witchcraft. But I can’t use it to fix everything. Barely understand it. I don’t even understand myself.

You are right, Tex. Kids have the most power to end bullying. By standing up for each other, they would stop the bullies preying on the weak. There is power in numbers. Thank you so much for stopping in and talking about your new story. I’m sure no one will see this, don’t worry! However, if we do have any readers, here is more about Tex’s book.

Tex And The Gangs Of Suburbia: Tex McKenna’s junior year of high school is just as bad as his sophomore year. Maybe worse. Olivia’s dumped him.  He's caught up between two warring gangs and gone “undercover” with the Modern Gangstas to unmask a murderer.  All this poor Witch Boy and supernatural trouble magnet wants to do is end the school year alive.  And maybe find out who the mysterious punker girl is and how she knows all his secrets.

Super special AmazeBalls Deal! Act fast, hit up the MuseItUp website, and you can buy both the Tex books for the price of one! My publisher's going cray-cray! But don't tell her and buy before she changes her mind! Our lil' secret!

TWITTER: @StuartRWest


About Tex’s author, Stuart R. West:

After working as a graphic and production artist for the last 23 years, the company for which I labored shuttered its doors in July of 2010, finally allowing me the time and mental energy to tackle something that I'm passionate about.   

“Tex And The Gangs Of Suburbia” is the second novel in a trilogy detailing the adventures of my teenage witch, following the initial book, “Tex, The Witch Boy.” The trilogy is meant as entertainment but also deals with current social issues teens face. “Tex And The God Squad,” the third book, will soon follow.

I'm married to a professor of pharmacy (who greatly appreciates that I now prepare dinner for her) and have a 20 year old daughter, who hasn’t yet decided what to do with her life. But that’s okay…it took me 25 years or longer.


  1. Go Tex! Can't wait to read this one!! :)

  2. Thanks, Meradeth! Hope it doesn't disappoint.

  3. Sorry to hear you're having more troubles, Tex. Hope things get better for you. I'll be reading your story soon. Looking forward to meeting your new friends.

  4. Wait. What? Beverly, thanks for your well-wishes, but, um, how'd you hear about my problems? Gah! I was told nothing would be exposed about my being a witch. Okay, deep breath. You guys still think Olivia likes me?I'm such a living, breathing "Lifetime" movie.


  5. Thanks for (over)sharing, Tex! I hope your bully, witchy, girly (ummm, girl) problems get better.


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