Friday, December 9, 2011

Interview with John Walker

Tell us about you.
Since I was just 12 years old, I have known that a writer is all I have ever wanted to be.  

I was born in 1968 and raised in England. These days I’m a globe-trotting ex-pat Brit. I love books, movies, music, yoga, German Shepherd dogs and wolves. I enjoy meeting other authors; discussing the writing process and helping other writers get their own projects off the ground.

I enjoy cooking, black coffee, red wine, and Guinness with a good meal, and I have a devilish, sometimes zany, sense of humor. I can’t resist a practical joke so be warned: if you are ever walking through a door and a bucket of water tips over you, it was most likely me that put it there.

My novels are mainly revenge-thrillers, some with a supernatural twist. 

I have several books planned for the future. 

No rest for the wicked.

Tell us about your book.
My first book, Wrath and Remembrance, is a violent revenge thriller told from the view point of the central character, Jack Parrish. A series of tragic and violent events leads him to solve the mystery behind his own amnesia as a killer hunts him and those closest to him are murdered one by one.

This book is the first part of a quartet.

What inspired you to write this particular story?
I have always loved thrillers, particular those that focus on an ordinary individual whose has to struggle through extraordinary circumstances, sometimes with a personal vendetta.

In 1986, I was working on a building site near a lake when I suddenly imagined a man running down the side of a nearby hill, away from a stone quarry and towards a train line. That led me to wonder why he was running ... my character, Jack Parrish came to life and it all developed from there.

What can readers expect when they open your book? Give us something that isn’t on the book blurb.
I write through first-person narrative, so readers will see the world as my character sees it, experiencing the events as he does, along with his thoughts and feelings.

Many readers have told me they felt like a fly on the wall in Jack Parrish's life and, by the end of the story, they felt they actually knew him for real.

How old were you when you started writing?
I have been an avid reader for as long as I can remember, but I got into writing when I was 12 years old. It started when I was giving story to write as part of my school English homework projects. The teacher had a rule that stories had to be no more than 2 pages long. For fun, I would rewrite the stories in my spare time and enjoyed expanding on the narratives and dialogue, adding new characters and situations. The rest is history.

Do you stick with one genre, or have you branched out to others? Which ones? 
Several of my stories are cross-genre, as there is an element of the supernatural in my "Dark Retribution Quartet".

With Hank Shank VIII, I researched the life of Henry Tudor and updated his story to the 20th Century, so it was fact retold as fiction.

Do you think you would ever branch out into another genre? If so which one(s). 
I would love to write a good science fiction story, but so far I haven't had any ideas for one. I've read so many great sci-fi stories over the years and the authors have had me in awe with what their imagination has produced.

Where do you get your ideas?
I find there's no greater inspiration than real life itself. Since my teen years, I have been a "people watcher". I simply watch and listen as I sit in diners, etc, observing people and how they interact with each other. Authors can pick up on so many character traits that way. Also, the TV news reports are a source of ideas. There are times when I watch a report and think: they couldn't make this stuff up!

Who is your greatest inspiration?
I couldn't point to any one particular individual, but again I find that life and the people I have observed have inspired me.

What are you reading right now?
I have a pile of books next to me that I've been wanting to read for a while. I tend to vary my reading material so that I don't get stuck in any one particular genre. Right now I'm reading a factual book: Dog Training For Law Enforcement, by R. S. Eden.

I love dogs and I'm qualified in K9 training/handling, so this book has particular interest for me.

Who are your favorite authors?
To name just a few: Douglas Adams, Chuck Barris, William Peter Blatty, Arthur C. Clarke, Michael Crichton, Robert Daley, Philip K. Dick, William Diehl, Robert "Bob" Forward, Ron Hansen, William Harrison, Joseph Heller, K. W. Jeter, Mark Kermode, Ken Kesey, Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Stanislaw Lem, Herbert Lieberman, Stephanie Merritt, James Mitchell, Michael Palin, Joe Queenan, M.J. Rose, Gerald Seymour, Martin Cruz Smith, Whitley Strieber, Joseph Wambaugh, H.G. Wells.

What is your current project?
In the works right now is a road-chase-thriller called Backlash. This is a novel set across 8 states of America as the central character hunts for his ex-girlfriend and the man who betrayed him.

In addition, I collaborating on a hard-hitting, gritty, cop series, with author Stacy Eaton. So far, we are working on a 2-book story focussing on drug addiction. We have discussed other forms of addiction that we have decided on exploring in a series of books following on from this initial project. The working title we have right now is Blue Haze.

I have several other writing projects noted that I will announce later.

What do you feel is your greatest accomplishment as a writer?
Simply doing the work. It's the creative process and seeing a project through from a single idea - to completion, realising that vision, that I find the most rewarding. That's where the magic really is for any writer. In the end, writers write for themselves. So long as I've stayed true to my own vision and wrote the story as it played out in my imagination, then I can be happy that I've accomplished what I set out to do.

Have you experienced any setbacks for your writing along the way? If so, will you share with us.
I find time restrictions to be a major setback. Silly things like life, paying bills, grocery shopping, chores, the need to eat and sleep ... all get in the way. There just isn’t enough hours in the days and days in the week.

How did you overcome these setbacks?
I make time. It's that simple. I turn off the TV and write. When I have to go anywhere, I carry a small notebook and pen to note ideas as and when they come to me.

Do you believe in writer’s block?
With God's Soldiers, book 4 in the Quartet, I had writer's block which was scary because for a short time I worried that I wouldn't be able to complete the series.  However, I came to realize that the problem: I was trying to write 2 stories in 1 and both were clashing with the other. When I saw the problem, I was able to separate the notes, begin a rewrite and the problem was fixed. I remember breathing a sigh of relief that night :) 

What is the best writing advice you’ve ever received?
To write! Sometimes, we get sit and nothing comes, we stared at the blank page or screen. When that happens, I put away the laptop and sit with a writing pad and just write whatever is on my mind, including how I feel about not being able to write more on the project I intended to work on. Often, other ideas have come to me that way.

What is the best advice you have for other writers?
To never give up. No matter how long it takes, or how frustrated you get, keep at it. In the end, when you have completed your project - you'll know it was worth it.

What is more important to you, plot or character?
I can't choose one because both are important to me. I like a well-developed plot that holds my interest, and well-written characters are also essential as I like to believe and care about them.

Are you a panster or a plotter?
Very much a plotter. I outline a story first, using squares of memo block paper. I scribble notes for a chapter on each square, then move them around on a table. When I have settled on the beginning, middle and end sequence of events, I number the squares, tape them together, and then begin to write.

Preferred POV to write.
First person. I like to put the reader into the character's mind.

Preferred POV to read.
Any, so long as it's a well-written story.

Tell us 5 random things about you the person, not the author
1. : I drink way too much black coffee.
2. : My friends are very tolerant of my abiding obsession with The Shining.
3. : Jack Nicholson is my favorite actor.
4. : I never grew out of being a goth.
5. : Part of my bucket list is to learn to play the harmonica well enough not to have packs of stray dogs turn up outside my window - howling.

Where to connect online

What format does your book(s) come in?
Amazon Kindle, Print, PDF download, 

Where to buy your book(s)