Calvin Walker is a talented young writer based in the Dallas/Fort Worth Region. Since 2007, he has been a contributing writer for a growing online Christian Magazine, The Path. Calvin completed his debut novel entitled The Gallery in 2009.
After narrowly escaping an encounter with a married man, Seth Burgess self proclaimed perfect world is shattered. Seeking refuge at a local bar, an unwanted stranger named Ruben strikes up a conversation. The two strangers end up having more in common than either could imagine. Seth is an amateur photographer. Ruben is a gallery owner in need of an artist. Ruben extends the offer to display Seth’s work and a drunken Seth accepts.
The night before the gallery’s opening Ruben invites Seth to walk through the completed set-up. Very sober and uncertain, Seth makes his way through a lifetime of memories. Hanging from the walls are vivid pictures of a mother who hated him, a father that neglected him and a failed suicide attempt. Each picture takes on a life of its own and demands resolution. As the night progresses, Seth discovers a profound understanding of God, love and the power of forgiveness.
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How did you start out your writing career?
I've been writing since I was a kid. I wrote my first play in fourth grade. And, I started my first novel when I was fourteen. I have been a contributing writer for an online magazine, Pathmegazine.com, for the past three years.
What did you learn while writing this book?
I learned that I need patience, lots of it! Also, I learned a lot about commitment. A novel like this requires so much commitment. I am not referring to the commitment that it takes to actually finish writing the novel. I am referring to the commitment required to stand firm about the beliefs and truths that I live by.
What did you hope to accomplish with this book?
I really hoped to show people the importance of forgiveness. We live in a world with so many bitter people who never fully tap into the beauty and abundance of life. I wanted the book to reach out to those who are still stuck in their past. It is my desire that the book would shake them from their stupor and encourage them to live again.
Is the “writer’s life” what you thought it would be?
No, the writer’s life is not at all what I expected. I am self-published. There are some major challenges that come with that. Being self published means that I am in charge of purchasing and promoting my book. The work is grueling and can sometimes be very discouraging. The thing that keeps me when I want to give up is hearing how the book has impacted a reader’s life. That part of the writer’s life is much more than what I expected. Knowing that I have been able to positively impact someone is an amazing feeling.
Which five characters (can be from books, movies, or tv shows) would you invite over for dinner and why?
Montague from Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 457- I love this guy! He was someone who allowed himself to be liberated from the mundane.
Julia Sugarbaker from Designing Women- She was a pistol. She spoke her mind. I loved her sarcasm and drive.
Alicia Black from Kimberla Lawson Roby’s The Best of Everything – I want to invite her to my dinner table for one reason. I have got to ask her how she could go shopping at a time when her husband needed her so much.
John from James Baldwin’s Go Tell It On The Mountain- John was such a big inspiration for my own main character, Seth. I read this book in high school. I could totally identify with the main character’s identity crisis.
Leah, the wife of Jacob ( Israel ) – I’ve always said that when I get to heaven I plan to throw her a party. I can really relate to what she went through. She was in a relationship seeking a love that she was owed but not given.
What are three things you wish you’d known before you reached where you are now?
If your synopsis is too long it can make your whole book sound boring.
Blogs are an aspiring writer’s best friend. (Build a fanbase via the web)
If you write short stories or poetry, do your best to get some of your smaller works into anthologies or lit journals.
Can you give us one do and one don’t for those aspiring to be a writer?
Do- Research! Whatever genre, whatever time period, take some time to research. Small details like making sure that you can mention the name of a song in a scene because it was out during the year that your character is currently living in. Little things like that make for more believable reading.
Don't - Rush! Take the time that you need to develop your characters and your story line. You don't have a publishing house giving you a date when the book needs to be finished. So, you have all the time in the world to perfect your story. Remember...if your book does not make its intended impact, it won't matter that it is available to purchase.
What one thing about writing do you wish other non-writers would understand?
Writing fiction is not easy. I think people believe that all you have to do is allow your imagination to run free. If writing a book was that easy, I would be on my fifth. There is so much that goes into writing a novel. You have to create and connect with the characters. You have got to think of a story line. Then, you have to go back and see how your characters would react to the situation that they just got themselves into.
What was the best advice you’d ever gotten about the publishing industry? The worst?
The best advice that I have ever received was to connect with bookclubs. The worst...hmm, actually I have never received any poor advice about the industry.
What is something readers would be surprised you do?
I am actually a pretty straightforward guy. I don't have much of an adventurous side to me. Sometimes, I eat butter and honey sandwiches, does that count?
If you could be a character from any book you've read, who would you be?
The Apostle John from the Bible. I love this guy! He is one of the most prolific writers of any time. He had such a pure heart and love.
Our theme this month is The Business Of Writing. Can you offer any advice about the business side of writing?
Get a good literary agent! If you are wanting to make this a career, I would suggest a very good agent. They will be able to help guide you through the potholes and pitfalls of the literary world. If you want to go the self-publishing route, I recommend Booklocker.com or Lulu, Both of these websites are great for self-publishers. For all those who want to go the self-publishing route, my best advice to you would be PROMOTE, PROMOTE, PROMOTE! Nobody is going to know that you are out there unless you make a little noise.
Oprah always asks, What do you know for sure?
That God is real! That is the one thing that I know for sure. At the end of the day, God is real.
Can you give us a sneak peek of your next book?
I would love to! The Gallery is the beginning of a three book series. I am currently working on the second book in the series which is called The Garden. The Garden is due out early next year. My beautiful wife, Rayanna Walker, will be co-authoring this time around. The Garden is all about relationships. It talks about the good, the bad and the brutal. That is all I can give you without giving away the surprise.
How can readers get in contact with you? (mail, email, website)
They can shoot me an email at email@example.com. They can also check out my blog at http://lifeaccordingtomypen.blogspot.com/. The blog will have updates on upcoming projects and engagements. People can also feel free to send me a friend request on Facebook.
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