By AK Dale
CHARLESTON, W. Va. – Now everyone take your seats, eyes up, hands in front of you, with your mouths pressed shut.
The professor is in.
Robert W. Walker isn’t just your ordinary staff member at West Virginia State University.
No, he is a Harper Collins, Berkley Book, and Five Star, published author in multiple genres while also dabbling in the art of educating our collegiate youth in subjects from English 101 to Creative Writing; business writing, literature as well as the basics of grammar.
“ When I was a child in the fourth grade, I became interested in stories and history and footnotes in history, all of which led me to want to write stories,” Walker said. “Mark Twain’s boys adventure tales completely captured my imagination and I wanted to be Twain.
“I began writing as a way to be heard at a young age when I began nurturing a strong ego, which is a useful item to have for a writer to get over the fears inherent in the question your brain keeps putting to you: Who the hell do you think you are that anyone would be interested in a damn thing you have to say?” Walker added. “I began as a reader and loved becoming lost in a book, and I progressed far enough through the looking glass to find the other side of the book, the author’s hand and heart guiding we readers through the tales, and reading Mark Twain really got me going. I wrote my first novel in total imitation of Twain’s Huck Finn.”
That motivation led to a writing career that, despite not being technically his ‘full time job’ is still very much the predominant force in his professional life.
“I consider my writing as a full-time job just the same as my outside job,” Walker said. “I put in just as much time and effort. It keeps me sharp and motivated. Biggest obstacles are your loved ones when they do not take your writing as a job.”
It may not be considered a job to Walker, but it takes time to put together the works he has created.
“I got lucky and began series work, and getting into series characters led me to, I think, a record number of series characters by one author – eight,” Walker said. “I have been at it for over 35 years now and most recently placed forty out of print titles onto Kindle bookshelf alongside some ten other newer works, most being original to Kindle Only titles as in Titanic 2012 – Curse of RMS Titanic, Bismarck 2013 – Hitler’s Curse, Children of Salem – romance amid the witch trials, and the urban fantasy horror title Bayou Wulf.”
Walker believes he may be the “only author to challenge” Arthur Miller’s The Crucible (Children of Salem), place a supernatural creature on board the Titanic and later the World War II ship the Bismarck, or to continue several series characters who were thought dead before the “advent of Indie publishing ala Kindle” through is Instinct Instinct Ink titles.
Success has come in all forms, but he does have his particular rush of choice.
“Success in my career would be to see one or more of my books translated to film as I would love to see my characters ‘come to life’ on the screen,” Walker said. “Making enough financially to maintain a writing career would also be great.
“The most rewarding aspect of writing is knowing readers are enjoying your work,” he added. “More so than the money aspect, hearing from readers who have gotten a great deal out of your work from entertainment to learning does it for me.”
What also fulfills his life his spending time with his wife Miranda, also a novelist, while Walker also enjoys travel, reading, tennis, being out on the water doing things such as snorkeling and scuba diving.
“My greatest motivation to write is research but I also listen to soft music, use lots of coffee and chocolate to get underway or as a reward,” Walker said of a few other likes in his life.
Overall, Walker believes his life has been quite a good one, maybe an example of what other hard charging authors can one day expect?
“I lead a charmed life when it comes to encouraging people around me, that is having positive people around me,” Walker said. “It helps greatly and began with teachers in schools I went to in inner city Chicago where I grew up. Ms. Evelyn Page to whom I dedicated City for Ransom was the greatest. Without her pushing me, I may have gone into crime rather than gone into writing crime novels! My family, my sister in particular, my son, Stephen, who does my ebook cover art, my wife, friends like Joe Konrath and a slew of other authors. Yes, very lucky. These people inspired me by simply believing in me.”
Maybe that inspiration will lead to some more impressive works in Walker’s career.“I have tackled many heady issues in my novels such as separation of church and state, the cause and effect of this, that, and the other, even down to the mistakes made by Captain Smith of the Titanic that fateful night.” Walker said. “I always tackle tough subjects as part of my repertoire but I also keep control of research and factual material as backdrop and not foreground, and perhaps this gets lopsided in Children of Salem as there was so much wrongs needing to be righted. I have tackled what scares Hitler in Bismarck 2013, but in my current work in progress, going back to the notion that evil feeds on evil and exists not so much outside of mankind but firmly embedded, planted there by our early history and nature of the beast. The aggressive gene that is truly inescapable.”
TO FIND MORE on ROBERT W. WALKER’S WORKS check out:
WERZOMBIES Press thanks you for taking the time to read about our special guest here today. The Press is an Alan Dale creation and is inspired by his DEAD NATIONS’ ARMY book trilogy which launches in July with his first novel, “Code Flesh.” The Press hopes you consider subscribing to the site and look forward to more interviews, news features, columns, and many more in the future. Once again, thank you for joining us here at the Press!