Welcome to Jersey Girl Book Reviews, Boo!
How long have you been a writer?
Do you have a "day job," or is being an author your career?
I do national sales and marketing for Hedges Family Estate, a vineyard in Eastern WA State. So I spend a lot of time on the road traveling the country slinging juice. I feel like I have a mini-Anthony Bourdain kind of life (though I'm not that cool), and I couldn't be happier.
What inspired you to become a writer? Describe your journey as a writer.
Back in the old days (in my twenties), I was a songwriter and banjoist for a band in Nashville. In 2001, I was diagnosed with Focal Dystonia, a career-ending hand disorder. Depressed and in a desperate struggle to figure out a way to satisfy my creative urge, I happened upon Nelson Demille's Plum Island. After reading it (more like ripping through it), I knew I had to write a novel.
Please give a brief description/storyline about Lowcountry Punch.
After losing the love of his life and nearly destroying his career, DEA Special Agent T.A. Reddick, a banjoist and avid sailor, has just left Miami for Charleston, SC, where he's thrown right into an undercover operation to topple a high-society cocaine smuggler, and everything gets in the way, including several more women that are determined to capture his love.
What was the inspiration for this story?
This is my Lowcountry version of Miami Vice, the television show I had a love affair with as a child. And Charleston is one of the greatest, most intriguing cities on the planet, and like all of them, she has a dark side that's so much fun to explore.
How did it feel to have your first book published?
There's not many better feelings than the day you see your book for sale, knowing that all that pain and joy and effort you put in has finally led up to the point where you can finally share your story, where you can finally share your real voice, the deepest part of you.
Do you write books for a specific genre?
I'd say modern thriller with a mystery edge.
What genres are your favorites? What are some of your favorite books that you have read and why?
Though I'll dabble in anything, I love to read in the same genre as I write. Like I mentioned earlier, Nelson Demille's Plum Island is very important to me. His character, John Corey, who has graced several books over the years, is the best protagonist since Travis McGee, my other all time favorite character, who was created by John D. McDonald. At the moment, I'm on a Harlan Coben kick and have read just about everything he's ever done. I'm so fascinated by his ability to create page turners. In the end, that's what I want to master, writing page-turners. The kind of book you give five minutes and it becomes obvious what you'll be doing for the next couple of days.
Do you have a special "spot/area" where you like to do your writing?
I am certainly a creature of habit. With my hot tea and my dogs by my side, and some good jazz or electronic music playing, I sit at my desk in my office in Charleston and write every morning just as the sun begins to rise. And if I'm on the road, I have my laptop out and write in airports, hotels, and even in the air.
How do you come up with the ideas that become the storyline for your books?
It all begins with a character. Who is he? What does he want? And what women can I throw into his life to cause problems? As far as subject matter, I usually find myself fascinated with something I have read recently and that gives me a jump off point. For example, with my new one, Turn or Burn, I was looking for inspiration when I read a piece on the Technological Singularity in Time magazine.
When you write, do you adhere to a strict work schedule, or do you work whenever the inspiration strikes?
I'm a morning guy, whether it's in my office or on a plane. Very often I wake up and start at it within minutes. The only way to battle procrastination is to start typing.
What aspects of storytelling do you like the best, and what aspects do you struggle with the most?
I love character development, especially creating a romance. I'm no Danielle Steele, but I really like how love pushes a story along. And I like to play with how love can really get in the way, how it can affect a character's decisions. The toughest part is fighting that little voice in your head that says you're wasting your time. Every writer has the voice of doubt, questioning your ability, asking you why the hell you're spending all that time locked up in a room. But that makes the victory of finishing a book that much sweeter.
What are your favorite things to do when you are not writing?
I just married the most amazing woman I've ever met: a fiery, gorgeous Italian-American who can cook better than any chef that I have encountered in my travels. I'd be happy walking the beach with her for the rest of my life. I'm also learning to play banjo left-handed, hoping that I can beat this dystonia thing.
What is/was the best piece of writing advice that you have received?
Read. Read. Read.
What is the most gratifying thing you feel or get as a writer?
Someone reaching out to me and saying they enjoyed my book. It doesn't get any better than that.
How do you usually communicate with your readers/fans?
Facebook, Twitter, and email, which can all be found on boowalker.com. Come find me and say hello!
Is there anything in your book based on real life experiences or are they purely all from your imagination?
Anything I will ever write will have a great part of me in it, but I can't say that I've ever been a cocaine smuggler or a DEA Agent. But I've had my heart broken and I've had my own life experiences that find their way into all my words. I do enjoy research, too. For Lowcountry Punch, I spent many hours with the Charleston DEA who were instrumental in feeding me ideas and setting my facts straight.
What authors have been your inspiration or influenced you to become a writer?
John D. McDonald, Nelson Demille, Harlan Coben, Stephen King, George RR Martin, Allan Folsom, Daniel Silva, Greg Iles, Stuart Woods, Pat Conroy, Jeffrey Archer, Jonathan Safron Foer, and his wife, Nicole Krauss.
What is your definition of success as a writer?
Anyone who finishes what they are working on.
Are you currently writing a new book? If yes, would you care to share a bit of it with us?
I just sent my newest novel, Turn or Burn, to my agent, and I'm on pins and needles right now. It's about Harper Knox, a private military contractor who decides to battle his PTSD by returning to where he grew up, ripping out his family's cherry trees, and planting a vineyard. But as he quickly learns, making wine costs lots of money. So he takes a job in Seattle protecting a doctor who is breaking new ground in the race to combine man and machine. The assignment proves to be anything but a normal bodyguard gig, and he and Francesca Daly, a fiery Italian transplant (sound like my wife?) and fellow contractor, grow close as they come to losing their lives.
Thank you Boo for allowing me the opportunity to interview you on Jersey Girl Book Reviews, and for taking the time to share some things about you and your writing career with us!
About The Author:
Boo Walker spent his College of Charleston years and a few after in Nashville as a banjoist and songwriter for the avant-garde punchgrass band, The Biscuit Boys. Some hand problems knocked him out of the game, and he stumbled into a position with Automated Trading Desk, a short term equity firm based out of Mt. Pleasant, SC. To feed his ravenous muse, he began writing his first novel, Lowcountry Punch. Around that time, what started as a passion in wine became a neurosis.
After six years of the Wall Street thing, Boo decided it was time to end his sedentary, computer-driven lifestyle. He grew out a handlebar mustache and moved clear across the country into a double-wide trailer situated on 5 acres of Malbec vines just down the road from Hedges Family Estate on Red Mountain in Washington State. The Hedges family took him in and taught him the art of farming and the old world philosophies of wine. He now travels North America peddling the family's juice, and chances are you can find him in an airport somewhere.
BUY THE BOOK: Lowcountry Punch
BARNES & NOBLE
Book Description: Lowcountry Punch
After the worst Christmas Eve of his life, DEA Agent T.A. Reddick leaves Miami for the magical city of Charleston, South Carolina, hoping a return to his roots will heal a broken heart and the guilt of killing a friend. The sleepy and sultry town of Charleston is filled with echoes of the Old South: genteel playboys, society debutantes, and quiet cobblestone streets. But as Reddick will soon discover, there's danger lurking under her charming veneer. When a movie star's death shines a national spotlight on Charleston's underground cocaine trade, he must go undercover to find the main supplier and shut him down. As a hurricane bears down on the port city and the DEA gets ready to spring its trap, Reddick must contend with more than he ever could have imagined.
Brash and bold, T.A. Reddick is a hero you won't soon forget. Lowcountry Punch is an action-packed novel that will have you on your knees begging for more.
Book Excerpt: Lowcountry Punch