Interview: Bill Walker -- A Note From an Old Aquaintance

Monday, November 23, 2009

I'd like to welcome Bill Walker, author of A Note From an Old Aquaintance which I recently reviewed for a blog tour.

About the Author
Bill Walker is a graphic designer (and writer) specializing in book and dust jacket design, and has worked on projects by Ray Bradbury, Richard Matheson, Dean Koontz and Stephen King. Between his design work and his writing, he spends his spare time reading voraciously and playing very loud guitar, much to the chagrin of his lovely wife and two sons. Bill makes his home in Los Angeles.

1. What was your inspiration for this book?

The inspiration for my novel was the desire to tell an intense love story where the characters and their emotions drive the story. My previous books hung on unique premises and the plot was more dominant. For me, the real inspiration and challenge was to create a story where real things happen between people, where situations have drama and gravity, but are not hinged on a ticking clock or some other suspenseful gimmick. That's not to say I want a book that languishes, either. I like a book with a decent pace, and instilling that has become almost instinctive for me. Here, we have a story of two young people who meet and fall in love in that hopelessly romantic way so many of us dream about, yet life gets in the way, as it has a habit of doing. Obviously, in a love story like this everyone wants to see it end well, and I like to think I served the needs of readers in that respect.

2. What message do you hope readers take from it?

That true love does exist and that it can last a lifetime. There is so much cynicism in the world, and I fall prey to it myself. I wanted to write a book that made the reader feel good at the end, that all can be right with the world, if only for a little while.

3. What made you decide to take Brian’s wife and son out of the story

the way you did?

I needed to establish that Brian had a life without Joanna. Although she had a tremendous effect on him, emotionally and creatively, because he had to leave her, he moved on with his life and found someone else to love, marry and have a family with.

I took them out of the story, as you put it, because for 2006 portion of the story to work Brian couldn't have any emotional encumbrances, such as a wife and child, if he was going to re-unite with Joanna. I also wanted the reader to feel sympathy for Brian right away, as well as to show readers the kind of man he is with regard to his dedication to keeping his wife alive in spite of the odds.

4. What character did you enjoy writing the most?

That's a tough one. All of the characters in A Note from an Old Acquaintance are my favorites--even the minor ones--like Cary Mosley, the private investigator. It would have been easy to fall back on stereotypes for that one, but as I fashioned his character, he seemed to take on a genuine life of his own. I really love it when things fall together that way. It's one of those moments in writing for which I live. Every character I create is a reflection of the different facets of my personality. In many ways, authors are the ultimate actors because we inhabit each character as we write them, thinking as they think, doing what they do. In our minds we become those characters for that scene or chapter. It's both exhilarating and draining, and there is really no other way to do it, at least for me.

5. Some reviewers have expressed a dislike for Joanna. What are your thoughts about this? Was this intended?

Of all the characters in this novel, Joanna was the toughest one to write. She literally has to walk an emotional tightrope. When we meet her, she is engaged to a man she has loved for nearly six years, yet when she meets Brian it is a cataclysmic moment for her. In that one instant, she knows in the deepest regions of her soul that Brian is "the one." Yet, she still has feelings for Erik. What is she to do, abandon the one man who is her soul mate or break it off with Erik, something she cannot bear to do, either. I'm sad that some readers don't see this about her, as others do. What I wanted were readers to feel for her and wonder: "what would I do in that situation?" and not just pass outright judgment on her. I guess the bottom line is one cannot please everyone. I tried to tell an honest story as honestly as possible, and I hope most of the readers will feel the same way I do about the characters.

6. Tell us about your writing routine.

When I'm in the midst of a book, I will awaken very early, throw on some coffee, eat a quick breakfast and then get cracking. My goal is three finished pages in a day. If I do more than that--and sometimes I'll do a lot more--that still does not let me off the hook for the next day. I feel I'm freshest in the morning, but will write at any time if inspiration strikes me.

7. Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Just that I hope readers enjoy the book.

Great answers! Thanks again for stopping by!


Bill Walker said...

Dear Jenny: Just wanted to thank you for hosting me. It's much appreciated.

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