Tag Archives: Tim Dorsey

In Memory of Walker Newton

Writing about death is practically an everyday occurrence for me, but I now find myself writing about it from a completely different, and very unexpected perspective.

Several months ago I was attending the Inspired Mic, a monthly “open mic” night for authors here in my town, and there was a newcomer in the lineup.

Walker Newton read an excerpt from one of his novels, and by the time his six minutes were up he had morphed from a writer I had never heard of, to the guy I wanted to be friends with.

 

Walker Newton 1

Maybe it was his style of writing, which was very similar to mine. After the event several people approached me and commented about the similarities in our styles.

It could have been the fact that he was also a musician, often combining his musical performances with his book signings. I thought that was too cool.

Most likely it was his cool, easy manner.

Walker Newton 2

Unassuming, modest, easy-going and humble.

I liked him immediately.

When I learned that he was from neighboring St. Augustine, and that his books were set there, I thought How do I not know this guy?

 

Walker and I had a couple of conversations and were featured together at a signing held at a local winery, where we exchanged books.

We were well on our way to becoming friends.

Sadly, that friendship has been put on hold.

 

Walker Newton 4

Rance “Walker” Newton passed away on Monday April 13, 2015 at the age of 70.

After serving as a submariner in the US Navy, Walker received a Bachelor’s Degree and a Master’s Degree. He traveled extensively and had a very successful career in hotel development.

He was a talented musician and writer, but far more important, he was a friend to everyone he met.

His legacy will live forever in the hearts of all who had the pleasure of knowing him.

Walker Newton 3

I’ve never written an obituary, and I didn’t know Walker well enough to do him justice, but I can say that he was taken far too soon.

Walker Newton works Walker Newton on Amazon

 

As always – Thank you for reading…and Godspeed Walker

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Confession Time: Ike Was an Accident

While preparing for our weekly radio show, Friday Night Writes (Friday night from 8-10 EST on FlaglerBeachRadio.com) Armand and I were throwing around some potential discussion topics when Armand suggested Creating your biggest character and giving it the playful subtitle The Ike Syndrome – as a nod to my biggest character.

I started thinking about the origins of Ike and I quickly realized that I would have no great insight to share as to how my larger-than-life protector-of-Flagler-Beach came into being…because I never had any designs on creating a character of such mythical proportions.

Okay – maybe mythical is a bit much, but you get the point.

Here’s the story behind the story…

…cue flashback effects and eerie music…

When I began writing my first novel, Living the Dream, I never intended it to be released.

Living the Dream

I’ve told the story about how I had a crazy dream which became the jumping-off point for the book, and that much is true…but what I haven’t told too many people is that I was really writing it as a way to pass time.

I had been living in Florida for only 5 or 6 months at the time. My social life was non-existent and there were many hours to kill, so I filled them with writing as opposed to watching TV. I assumed that when I got to the end, the story would spend the rest of time collecting virtual dust as a file on my computer’s hard drive.

Since I had no plans for my hobby/project to ever see the light of day, I decided to have some fun with it by naming characters after my friends and family. It was fun seeing how many I could squeeze in.

When Jimmy, the antagonist, needed a forged passport and credit cards I had to introduce a person with some black-market connections (Ralph – local bookie and mob type). Since Jimmy was not the type to associate with the criminal element I needed a go-between…so I threw in Ralph’s right-hand-man Ike.

Ike was named after one of my closest friends and barely had any significant role in the story (which is why I never bothered giving him a full name).

Eventually I convinced myself that Living the Dream was worthy of being published, so I started the process to make it happen – and in the meantime began working on book number 2 – Water Hazard.

The plot for Water Hazard came about from reading an incredibly insightful and somewhat scary non-fiction book called Water Follies, which dealt with the damage we are doing to the planet by over-pumping ground water.

Water Hazard

I had a good lead-in to the story where the protagonist, Steve, is inadvertently tasked with rescuing a kidnapped teenage boy. A mission that subsequently lands him in hot water with a crooked land developer, putting his life, as well as the life of the boy and his mother, in grave danger (is there another kind?).

My problem was that Steve needed help.

That’s when I remembered the enigmatic Ike character.

I decided that Ike would prove very useful to Steve since he had access (via his boss Ralph) to all sorts of resources…not all of them legal.

This is where the legend of Ike really began to grow.

My next book, Pump It Up also included Ike and his bag-of-tricks, as did No Good Deed and Backseat to Justice.

Suddenly I had written 5 books in 3 years and in so doing created a bit of a legend.

tee shirt front

I have actually had women ask me to introduce them to Ike. (I haven’t figured out a good reply to that one yet!)

So when it comes time to discuss the topic of creating your biggest character on the radio with Armand…I guess I’ll have to come clean about how Ike was not so much a creation as a happy accident, sort of like the wheel or Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.

For all I know that’s the way it happens.

Maybe Robert B. Parker had no idea what he was setting up when he wrote the first Spenser book. Did Tim Dorsey envision Serge A. Storms as almost being a household name? How about Janet Evanovich? Do you think she knew that Stephanie Plum would take on a life of her own?

Want to read more about Ike? click here

surf 17Tune in Friday night at 8:00 EST to hear our discussion – and if you’re an author…leave some feedback below about your biggest character and how they came about. You can also interact with us live while we are on the air through our facebook page.

As always – thank you for reading

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