Paula Shene interviews Robert W. Walker

Published July 24, 2012 by paulandpaulasbooks

Today’s guest is Robert W. Walker.  Robert  has been an author on my reading shelf for many years.  I first was introduced to him when I was working at one of the local libraries and was put in charge of taking the paperbacks out of their neglected, thrown onto rack, if they want it bad enough they’ll find it, state and into a shelving unit made specifically for paperbacks, and, finally in alphabetical order.  I had shelved some of his books in hardcover so I already knew of him, just had not yet read his work.

When I kept bumping into him on forums and then in groups on Facebook, I decided to ask for an interview.  One he graciously granted and I promptly misplaced but knew I had in the lineup, so lost is too much of a  final word.  However, I did need to go and ask for another copy and he, at least not in typed words, sighed out any displeasure at my faux pas.

I do not stalk any of my authors, but they seem to float down my Facebook stream daily with the added benefit of my being able to share timely news and to find that I not only enjoy his books but he is the type of writer who prepares in exactly the same way I do for my stories.

His series,  the one I got introduced to him is #12 and is his latest WIP:

My Work in Progress will be #12 in my Dr. Jessica Coran Series. Thus far, less than a third through, but I got this remark from my editor on first 100 pages: “Shocking and unexpected …. Just the way it should be. You’re just writing in your own awesome style, brilliant, unforgiving, and keeping us readers on the edge of our seats. Love it.” AND here I had grave doubts as I have not done an Instinct title in 12 years! Like riding a bike; I just have to stay on it!!

I write horror, suspense, mystery, thrillers, historical thrillers; no one has ever accused me of writing literature, but I am among those fiction writers who work using Research First. Not everyone does or needs to. This is MY process. There are many rivers to the ocean, and I respect anyone anywhere who can start and finish a novel, as a novel is a complex matter of layered art no matter the genre. I do not plan from the END as some do, I do not follow a set formula, but I do a vast deal of living with my characters before it is all over in order to know them inside and out, to create fully realized characters and to run them through the plot mill. I do not do outlines or character sketches, but I do sleep, eat, and travel with my characters.

What inspired you to write?

When a young man in middle school, I began reading the works of Mark Twain. More than any other author, Twain inspired me. My first novel was purely in imitation of Twain’s style, and he taught me so much, as a result.

Do you have anyone you show manuscripts to and get advice from or are you a loner doing it all yourself?

I have cultivated some first readers; it is not a smart idea to assume anything and especially to assume a work of fiction is whole and complete without getting feedback. Feedback from trusted individuals has always been part of my process. A work is not finished without the help of great editorial advice.

What genre do you normally write in?   Also,  is there a genre you’ve always wanted to write in, but don’t feel you could pull it off?

I have taken my cues from Twain on this as well, and so have tried my hand at many genres and crossed many in the same story. Being versatile has always been a goal. There is no genre I have not incorporated or folded into my work. Most of my titles are crime novels but even my horror titles, I try to layer and layer like a wedding cake. The more layers, the greater the challenge, and I hope the better the read. I go for complexity that mirrors life.

Do you ever base your characters on people you know?

All the time, yes and I do mean the good, the bad, and the ugly, HA. Many characters are composites of people I know. I also have run contests wherein a person can get his or her actual NAME attached to a character in a novel. I also love to do cameos of historical figures I believe I understand from my readings in my historical thrillers and alternate histories.

What advice would you give to someone who was just starting off in writing?

Write a MYSTERY. No other category of fiction teaches plotting so fast and so well. A new writer will flounder about like a fish out of water trying to get a plotline underway in other categories but to learn commercial, mass market appeal DO a mystery. Figure out what is the greatest mystery of all time and write to that end. It provides a ton of learning. In addition, get hold of my book Dead On Writing – a how to for the dysfunctional writer in us all.

Do your stories tend to have morals, or specific messages, included within them?

Mostly that karma will take out the bad guys, typically in a horrible way – terror and horror they commit on others catches up to them. The reader enjoys a novel wherein the author delivers vengeance and retribution.

This question was posed by a fellow author, and I loved it so much I decided to throw it into the mix ~

Oh no! One of your characters has escaped. Luckily, I have caught the character! I will interrogate the character with the help of a lie detector.

Welcome!Take a seat, make yourself comfortable. You will be returning to your book once this is over. What’s your name, where are you from and what is your role in the book?

Dr. Jessica Coran, FBI agent and Medical Examiner, Quantico, Virginia in the Instinct Series of 11 books, and I am the heroine in each book, although I work with other agents and local law enforcement officials on serial killer cases of the worst sort. I stare into the abyss in order to catch monsters.

Tell us why we would enjoy reading your books?

I provide action, color, the five senses on every page; people who get into the rhythm of my novels have told me that it is as if I had abducted them for the time they are in the story; even reviewers have noted this with such remarks as “Walker quite literally snatches the reader’s mind for the duration of the novel” — Midwest Book Review. Many reviewers have likened my plots to those of Kathy Reichs, Karin Slaughter, Patricia Cornwell, and John Sanford.

Links for books and/or sites

website –

blog –

url for 1st Instinct title – Killer Instinct –

Amazon link to Titanic        


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