Today we welcome Chuck Walsh.
Book ‘Em: Tell us about you and your life outside of writing.
Chuck Walsh: I live in Columbia, S.C. I am married and have three children. I work at Columbia College and have done so for seven years. Outside of writing, I lead what I would consider a normal life. I played baseball in college and semi-pro for years and so I’ve always had a life style where exercising and working out are as much of the routine as eating and sleeping. Running also is where my ideas are born with regard to the next scene, next chapter, next book. I might be more inclined to talk about who is in the World Series as I would on JK Rowling’s success when I’m in a social setting, so I probably don’t fit the mold on how a male writer is “supposed” to be and act. And I think that might lead some to perceive my writing to be superficial in nature, when, in actuality, it is completely the opposite. I strive my books to have depth, meaning, and to probe the reader to ask questions about good and evil, God and Satan, heaven and hell.
Book ‘Em: Which books have you written? What are they about and why did you choose to write them? Do your books have a message? Are they fiction or nonfiction?
Chuck Walsh: To say that each of my books has a message understates what I hope to achieve in each book. I truly want the reader to be touched in some way. In my murder/suspense novels I want fear to rise within the reader’s soul. In my literary fiction works, I want them the reader challenged as to why bad things happen to good people. I want them to feel what each character feels, and to feel as though they know them intimately by the end of the book.Shadows on Iron Mountain is a murder/suspense tale of women being abducted from cabins and hiking trails in the backwoods of Iron Mountain. The big city detective who is assigned to find the one responsible becomes immersed in the remote Appalachian land and soon understands he is going up against more than just a madman, but a culture as hard and rough as the mountain soil where the killer is hiding. A Splintered Dream is a great comeback story of a man whose dream of playing for the New York Yankees appears to be shattered, only to find the will to overcome incredible odds lies in the inspiration of his young daughter. Black Mingo Creek is the tale of a man who has been framed for killing his brother’s wife and daughter. A survivalist and former Navy Seal, the man is hiding out in the swamps of the Lowcountry of South Carolina as he gets revenge on the ones responsible for the deaths of his sister-in-law and niece.
(Black Mingo Creek will be released in the spring of 2018)
A Passage Back is a story of a man who has an accident after the death of his mother, finding himself back in time to when he was a twelve-year old boy. He finds that going back in time does have its consequences, reminding him his childhood was not all fun and games. Though that is the case, he hangs onto every moment he gets to spend with his mother as he senses that his time in the past is fleeting.
Backwoods Justice is the sequel to Shadows on Iron Mountain, as revenge killings take place to avenge the capture of the killer in the first book.
A Month of Tomorrows is the story of a struggling writer who is asked to document some war stories told by an elderly man who is dying of cancer. As the book weaves between the past and the present, the writer soon realizes that the old man’s stories have much more to do with life, love, and tragedy, than simply stories of what the man endured in the jungles of the Philippines in WWII.
I have written six fiction novels, and coauthored one non-fiction book.
Book ‘Em: Do you have a work in progress?
Chuck Walsh: Aside from my books, I have teamed up with a screenwriter and we are turning A Month of Tomorrows into a movie script.
Yes. My latest project is Jakob’s Well. It’s about a man who became an orphan when he was five years old. The only thing he has that links him to his past, his family, is a keepsake box with some jewelry and a few photos. Yearning to find out who he is as a man, and who is family was, he finds an elderly man who is a catalyst to help Jakob understand his roots. Jakob removes an item from the keepsake box, and the man sends Jakob back in time so that Jakob spends time with the family member for whom the item belonged to. The kicker is, Jakob won’t know that the person he spends time with, be it his mother/father/grandfather, is related to him until he returns to the present.
Book ‘Em: What was the most difficult section/piece you ever wrote? -What made it difficult?
Chuck Walsh: Writing about my mother passing away in A Passage Back. Imagining her dying was so hard to take. It was very emotional writing it as I didn’t want that day to ever come. The odd, yet wonderful thing was, my mother survived breast cancer and lived for ten more years. Oddly, when she did pass away, it was eerily similar to the way she died in my book.
Book ‘Em: What sort of research do you do for your work?
Chuck Walsh: When I wrote the three murder mysteries, I spend time talking with crime scene investigators, federal agents, and EMS personnel to make sure the book was accurate with regard to the handling of the crime scene, who would lead the investigation, who had what duties, etc. With A Month of Tomorrows, it was based on the life of my uncle, so I had a life time of being around him to know who he was. He also sat down with me to tell me specifically about his hard times in the war. With A Splintered Dream, I researched a good deal with former minor league baseball players to get a good feel for how life truly is in the minor leagues.
Book ‘Em: Which books and authors do you read for pleasure?
Chuck Walsh: I tend to stick with books that are deep in prose and character. Books like 13 Moons by Charles Frazier and Serena by Ron Rash I loved. Any and all ten of Cormac McCarthy’s books are incredible.
Book ‘Em: Is there an author that inspires you?
Chuck Walsh: Cormac McCarthy inspires me like no other author. I think he is the greatest writer in the last fifty years, and nobody else comes in a close second.
Book ‘Em: Was there a person who encouraged you to write?
Chuck Walsh: No. I had no writing background and I’m the last person anyone, including me, would have ever thought would become a writer. I simply decided when my mother got sick with cancer in 2005 that I was going to write a book to tell her how much I loved her. Thus, A Passage Back was born. So when I began writing it, my family thought it was just some whim or new hobby. Now they encourage and support me all the time.
Book ‘Em: What would you say are your strengths as an author?
Chuck Walsh: I would say my strengths are the depths of my prose and setting. I try to take the reader by the hand into each scene, being their eyes, ears, and nose. And I think I create characters and circumstance to make the reader feel what the character feels, to question what the character questions with regard to life.
Book ‘Em: How often do you write, and do you write using a strict routine?
Chuck Walsh: Working for Columbia College I currently only have time to write on weekends and holidays. The only writing I’ll do at night after work is editing what I’ve written. My creativity works best when I have two or three or four days back to back to get into the story and the characters. I try to use my time running through the trails near my house to plan what the next scene, chapter, or book will be.
Book ‘Em: Five years from now, where do you see yourself as a writer?
Chuck Walsh: I see myself creating what surely will be my best novel yet, until, obviously, I begin the next book after that one. Seriously, though, isn’t that what drives a writer—to begin a work that they just know will be the best story, the best book, ever written?
Book ‘Em: If you could offer one piece of advice to a novice writer, what would it be?
Chuck Walsh: We all have stories to tell, dreams, and sometimes, nightmares, to bring to life. A writer’s job is to bring these stories to life in a manner and style which makes the reader truly not want the book to end. So, consider every word, every sentence, every paragraph, to be extremely important. And so editing and re-editing, shaping and re-shaping, are crucial. If the writer has gone back over their work 100 times, just think what that 101st time will produce. The creation of the book, the characters, the setting, is the “fun” part of writing. But it’s the editing and shaping that presents the opportunity to make the story perfect.
Book ‘Em: What would you consider the best compliment a reader could give your book?
Chuck Walsh: To hear that the book touched the reader in a way that elicited precious thoughts and memories of loved ones that are no longer with them. That and when someone tells me they didn’t want the book to end. One elderly lady told me a while back with regard to A Month of Tomorrows – “reading the book was like eating the sweetest apple. I savored every bite and didn’t want it to end.”
Book ‘Em: Provide an excerpt of your writing that you would like to share with our members.
He stepped along the narrow trail, dawn carving light from the dirt and the underbrush. He walked as though in a dream, carefully stepping as if the land beneath him might fall away into some world that had not yet been entered. The smell of embers and sugar hung heavy in the air, and he loved the aroma. Not for the fragrance, but for the concrete evidence that the souls of Iron Mountain still stirred in the bottom of the white lightning brewing in the distance. Below him in the concave bend of the mountain, he saw the glow of the fire. Rolls of smoke rose through the hardwoods, melting with the foggy morning like two celestial beings becoming one.
I couldn’t decide between these two, so I am including both.
He stepped off the trail and worked his way down the steep slope toward the still. He heard voices, voices of men at work. Vocation as old as the hills. Men who carried on tradition. Men who knew no other form or means of survival. And in those voices he heard a certain dialect and dialogue that he couldn’t speak, though he yearned to do so. But foreign tongues cannot speak the language of that land of 10,000 hills, no matter how hard they try. No matter how long they stay on Iron Mountain.
When he got close enough to see the fire, and the three men pouring the moonshine into mason jars, he sat. He watched. He rubbed his hand through his oily beard and looked at them like a child at a carnival sideshow. He watched them work their trade, men who seemed as though there was no distinguishing the day before from the day that would follow. A trio of habit they were, as though it gave proof to their undocumented lives.
The world is a place where checks and balances seem to sit on the dusty desk of an otherworld accountant, someone who is slow to bring about sweet revenge to those who choose to break the laws and commands of mankind. As if God has assigned the night watch of keeping his children safe from evil to an unmotivated distant relative, the world can be slow to right the wrong of injustice. Evil and cowardice, free to roam the streets of decency and righteousness, lurk about as if repercussions are as far off as a fading star in a distant galaxy. It worries itself not with the here and now, and gives only a passing thought to Judgment Day, providing a world of time to prepare a compelling case to the Lord of all creation of how repentance has taken hold at the last moment.
But sometimes, revenge comes in the form of man.
My website is chuckwalshwriter.com. My books are available at all online outlets such as barnesandnoble.com, amazon, createspace, apple tunes, and select bookstores. A Month of Tomorrows is also available on audible.com
I have book trailers for:
A Month of Tomorrows – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=akVUXAh7lhU
Shadows on Iron Mountain – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OAxC60Z_Jrk
Backwoods Justice – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H_Ya8Lq9X_4