I'm currently reading
your book PI Harry Walker. Walker Joe, please tell us why you
choose New Orleans as the setting for much of your work?
Let me first mention what lured me to the craft. I backpacked
to the Wimbledon Tournament seven times and slept in a line/queue
over night to get great Centre Court seats. When I returned home
from my first trip in 1989, after an incredible experience, I
decided to record my Wimbledon sojourn. I went the next three
years and each time I recorded my experiences. Zap! I was hooked.
I then spent five years writing "That Neapolitan Furlough"
and "Rose, Ma Petite." These were the learning years.
Did I mention that I'm an avid sometimes rabid tennis player?
In the first novel, I took several
chapters from my own life and enhanced the plot with a great
deal of fiction. That's really what authors do isn't it? It was
true of Earnest Hemingway just to mention one. He literally lived
his books. The second one I simply don't remember what sparked
its creation, but I'm pleased something compelled me to write
about Rose. I spent considerable time researching the history
of 1864 Paris and New Orleans. So, the history is authentic,
but Rose is a figment of my imagination. To say she's nonpareil
is not an exaggeration. Marjorie, my wife loves this novel.
Now, I'd become more knowledgeable
about the publishing world. I'd heard many editors preach that
clichés were unacceptable. And yet, I'd never read a published
book that didn't include quite a few of them. So, I decided to
write a book and include as many clichés as feasible.
I thought a down-on-his-luck PI from N'Awlins who used clichés
like they were going out of style, chewed bubblegum, and drank
Early Times was the perfect vehicle. This imagination produced
"PI Harry Walker." And it includes about 700 clichés
I'm proud to admit. So, over the next three years I wrote more
PI Harry Walker Mysteries. I did good when I introduced his partner
Deloris Pillsbury. They became the café au lait PI Duo.
PI Harry Walker is being published at PublishAmerica around July
Now, Molly, after I've managed
to evade your question masterfully, let me paraphrase it. You
said that you were currently reading my book PI Harry Walker,
and you wanted to know why I choose New Orleans as the setting
for much of my work?
I fell in love with New Orleans
the first time I visited. It's my kind of town. What's not to
like? It presents scintillating jazz and the blues. That endears
it to me, since I played the trumpet for fifty years. However,
I quit recently. And how about that food? And it's wicked. I'll
quote from the second PI Harry Walker Mystery, Vieux Carré
Pillow Strangler. "Where else do you walk on a banquette,
be offered a lagniappe, munch on jambalaya and muffulettas, dine
on filet gumbo and top it off with café au lait and beignets.
Then go fais do-do to zydeco or second line with Creoles, mulattos
and Cajuns in a impromptu parade, which happened just for the
fun of it." Really, I try to pick interesting places to
send my PI Café au lait duo: Paris, Key West, Florida,
London, Las Vegas, and the likes.
Chuckle. You answered the question masterfully
As you work do find your characters 'come alive' when you are
writing? Do they take over and direct the tale as you go along?
I try to breathe life into them.
I'm big on description. I try to paint a picture of them with
words. Here's a quote from Rose, Ma Petite. Rose asks the French
poet, "Monsieur Baudelaire, are you a lawyer?" "Non,
Mademoiselle. I am a poet. My paints are words. The painter,
if skillful mixing pigments, has the infinite nuances of the
rainbow to depict his subjects. Only imagination and vocabulary
limit poets' colors. Possessed with the latter and a knack for
mixing words, he might depict the subject authentically; or distort
to be more sensational; or shade to be humorous; or pervert to
appeal to prurient interest. 'Tis no different, Mademoiselle
Rénaud. Edouard uses la brosse. I use la plume."
I think this aspect of writing is the most difficult for writers
and yours truly. I start out with a general overall notion for
a plot. Like in "PI Harry Walker" the idea that kicked
it off was to have the wife of a mob boss looking for a PI to
get infidelity evidence to support her divorce case. No other
PI in New Orleans will touch it. Finally, she telephones Harry.
He's desperate, and he reluctantly takes her assignment after
she offers him the Washington Mint. As I develop the story it
creates the needs of the words that follow. So, in my case the
continuing story line feeds off of what's been writ. Aren't you
glad you asked Molly?
Well WJ, yes, I am. You add a delightful viewpoint for your work.
Now tell me please what your writing plan included. Did you write
your book first or did you seek out an agent or a publisher?
I never thought about selling my work until I'd finished several
novels. I was having a great time writing them and going to literary
places on the NET learning the craft. The day I thought my work
had commercial potential was the turning point that took the
joy out of writing for me. Every writer, even the well-known
novelist, goes through this black period of finding an agent
or publisher. Those who endure get published. Few get rich. The
irony is that finding a creditable agent is harder than finding
a reputable publisher. And to get published by the giants of
publishing your work has to be presented to them by an agent.
Well, I was unable to sell my work through my first agent. I
don't have one now. And I'm not eagerly seeking one. When "PI
Harry Walker" gets printed, I'm going to make some moves
that I hope will launch my writing career. Sorry molly, I could've
answered this with a simple, "I wrote two books first."
Thank you for giving me an opportunity to rave about my writing
I'm glad to hear your writing story! Listening to other writers
helps us all put our own work into perspective. Would you care
to tell us what you are working on right now?
I'm working on my horror mystery, which I will call "Blood
Trust." Three teens go to Hobglobin, Mississippi, a small
town well known for scary places and people, and they disappear.
One of the affluent parents engages my two favorite sleuths Harry
Walker and Deloris Pillsbury to find her son. Then all the horror
and haunting begin. Eat your heart out Stephen King.
Brrr! Look forward to it, I think WJ. I know many writers belong
to writing and critique groups. Do you belong to a writers or
No. But they're only a few clicks away on the NET. They can be
a valuable experience if you are perceptive, objective, and heed
the criticism offered. If your skin is thin stay away.
Chuckle, gotcha. I know PI Harry Walker is in process of publishing
with Publish America. Do you have appearances and/or book signings
lined up for the next few months? Do you enjoy these activities?
Not at the moment. I'm going to plan several appearances when
PI Harry Walker is published. I think I will enjoy the experience.
Recently, I presented a paper at the local college. I told about
my writing and read an excerpt from PI Harry Walker. I enjoyed
That sounds like fun. Do you have special advice for aspiring
Write for the love of it, and pray that you find an audience
after you've perfected your crafts.
Good sound advice for certain. Writing should come from the heart.
Sales and all of that should never be the focus. What does your
family think of your writing?
My wife has read and enjoyed all of my writings. My young grandson,
who is attending John Hopkins Medical College has read and loved
my mysteries. He was the valedictorian of his class. So, my work
seems to appeal to younger people and the intelligent. What do
I know? I l just love to write.
PS: If any of your readers would
like PublishAmerica to send them a letter announcing the Publication
of "PI Harry Walker" email me and include your address:
firstname.lastname@example.org To read chapters visit my homepage http://www.ct.net/~walkerj/
Thank you for a delightful interview Walker Joe. And I want to
wish you great success with your work. Especially with PI Harry
Walker as it comes into print.