Intimate Conversation with Keith Thomas Walker
Author Keith Thomas Walker is a graduate of Texas Wesleyan University where he earned a bachelor’s degree in English. He enjoys reading, poetry, and music of all genres. Keith currently works in administration at one of the city’s largest hospitals. He lives in Fort Worth, Texas with his wife and two children. Fixin’ Tyrone is Keith’s first book.
Fixin’ Tyrone is one woman’s struggle to find peace and fulfillment in a life that seemed to be flowing perfectly until her son’s thuggish father is released from prison. Mia thought she had it all; two smart and beautiful children, a well-paying career and classy suitors, some with million dollar portfolios. Her wild days of college are far behind her, and Mia’s only regret in life is the thugs and hoodlums she once loved. All she got from her old lifestyle was two fatherless children and a lifetime worth of heartache.
It took six long years to rebound from the mistakes of her past. The new Mia is strong and confident and thoroughly uninterested in anything a thug has to offer her, but that all changes when she gets a letter from prison. Tyrone, the father of her oldest child, is getting out, and he wants to get back in his son’s life. Tyrone wants to get back in Mia’s life as well. Mia would have to be crazy to take him back… but this time, it seems the tiger really has changed his stripes. Or at least he’d like her to think he has.
Q. What impact will this book, Fixin’ Tyrone, have on the community?
I hope my book will cause the community to be introspective about drugs, thugs, prison, family and second chances. I would like the community to be aware of the thin line between recreational and hard drug use, and I would also like my readers to be more open-minded and less critical of black men going to or leaving the penitentiary. I would like my readers to believe in true love again and be willing to make sacrifices for the love of their life.
Q: Tell us a little about your main characters. Who was your favorite? Why?
My main character is Mia. Mia is a successful executive at an investment firm. Mia is smart and witty. She’s assertive and firm and fair. She is a good mother and a good friend. Mia is also vulnerable and passionate. She is definitely my favorite character. Another main character is, of course, Tyrone. Tyrone went to prison for six years, during which time he claims to have changed his life. Tyrone is freed from prison at the start of my book, and he immediately tries to make things right with his child’s mother, Mia. Tyrone is handsome and sexy, and he’s also honest and determined. Tyrone is strong, yet vulnerable. He’s a hard-worker, but he’s also disadvantaged because of his environment and the felonies on his police record. His dilemma is very familiar to me, and he is my second favorite character.
Q: Are your characters from the portrayal of real people?
Tyrone is a portrayal of countless black men I’ve met throughout my life. I have many friends and relatives who went to prison for drug dealing, so this aspect of black culture hits very close to home. And like most incarcerated black men, Tyrone has dreams and aspirations that go well beyond his reach. Like Tyrone, all of my incarcerated brothers have told me they want to do positive things once released from prison. The prisons are full of good intentions, but these dreams often fade once the convict is released. Tyrone experiences his share of turmoil when he returns to the “free world,” and it’s interested to see whether he’ll fall back into his old lifestyle or if he will make the changes necessary to stay out of jail and revitalize a relationship with Mia.
Q: Who did you write this book for? Why?
I wrote this book for women, mainly. Growing up, most of what I wrote was about manly topics and from a man’s point of view. One day a friend challenged me to write a book for women. I thought it would be difficult because I never got into the head of a woman for any of my stories, so I brainstormed a few ideas that would not only interest women, but topics that were common to them, yet still intriguing. I think it helped that I have always been somewhat of a sensitive brother, and I have a lot of empathy for nearly every situation. When I got started, I enjoyed looking at different scenarios from a woman’s point of view, and this new insight has also been beneficial in my everyday life.
Q: Is there a message in your book that you want readers to grasp and share?
I’m not an activist, per se, but there are many messages in my book I would like the readers to grasp. The first would be to be wary of the individuals in your life and always remember that your personal safety is much more important than any relationship. Readers should also learn that not all people can be judged by their circumstances, and it’s not right to give up on anyone who truly wants to change. I also stress the evils of drug use and the troubles crack cocaine in particular has caused our communities. Lastly, I hope my readers learn that true love is important. It may not conquer all, but sometimes it is worth fighting for.
Q: What sets your book apart from other books in your genre?
The first thing that sets my book apart from others in my genre is the fact that I am a man, and most romance novels are written by women. I won’t say I’m better than all of those women, but I do believe my maleness adds a certain perspective they cannot fully provide. Also (and I don’t mean to insult anyone in particular) I’ve found that a lot of writers, especially in the urban fiction genre, really don’t know what they’re doing. It’s one thing to have an interesting story to tell. It’s another thing to have the education and creative writing training to tell this story beautifully. According to my website, Keith Walker is THE MASTER OF ROMANTIC SUSPENSE AND URBAN FICTION, and I believe this title sets me apart from all others.
Q: Do you write full time? Describe your writing schedule for our readers.
It is my dream to write fulltime, but, alas, I’ve only published one book so far. I work fulltime at one of the largest hospitals in Fort Worth . I work the graveyard shift from ten p.m. to six a.m. I work in an office, and I have a computer, and... Well, let’s just say it’s not always terribly busy here. Don’t tell my boss, but if I were to seriously calculate it, I’m pretty sure I do 60% of my writing at work.
Q: What do you like to do when you're not writing?
I like to read and go to the movies. I like to play video games, either alone or with my kids. I love music of all genres. I like to take the kids to the park to fly kites or toss the football around. I love to eat! I like restaurants – either fancy or fast food, it doesn’t matter. I like to perform at open mic or poetry slam venues, and I like to watch others perform as well. I went on my first cruise last summer. That was wonderful. I would like to do that again one day. If I had enough money, traveling would probably be my favorite pastime.
Q: What is the best piece of advice you would give to an aspiring author?
The best advice for any aspiring author is to never give up. I’ve signed three contracts so far, and for each of those books, I have a dozen rejection letters. When you put your dreams in an envelope and send them across the country, you’re left in a rather vulnerable position. When a rejection letter comes back, you can either let it break your spirits, or you can try harder. The problem is you never know who’s going to open your package at those publishing companies, and you may not know what they’re looking for. You might get a rejection letter because they didn’t like your query letter, or you might get one because the editor was sleepy the day she/he opened your package. There are thousands of publishing companies out there, so unless you have thousands of rejection letters, it’s not time to give up.
My second novel is How to Kill Your Husband. It will be published by Genesis Press in June 2010. Here is a back cover blurb for How to Kill Your Husband:
Claire is a happily married mother of three. Her life seems picture perfect until she suspects her husband of sixteen years is having an affair. With the help of her quirky friends Becky and Melanie, Claire gets to the bottom of it, but they uncover much more than she bargained for. When she believes she has sufficient proof, Claire decides on the most obvious course of action: She must kill her husband. The book has been reviewed by celebrity reviewer Ivory Tabb, read it here.
Visit http://www.keithwalkerbooks.com/ or send an email to email@example.com
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