Raised in Wyoming as the third of seven children, author Josh Walker grew up as a fan of Star Wars, Lord of the Rings and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. After graduating from high school, Walker spent two years in Chile, where he learned the language and culture, met new people, and made lifelong friends. He returned to the United States, taking an interest in early childhood education, but returned to Chile to visit old friends and found a new one – his wife, Macarena. They have been married for seven years and have two children, a one year old boy and three year old girl.
A long-time fan of history, mythology and ghost stories, Walker is currently the Research Coordinator for HauntedNorthAmerica.net and this month, he will release his debut novel, Luke Coles and the Flower of Chiloé. Readers can learn more at www.joshwalkerbooks.com.
I grew up in a big family. There were seven of us, four boys and three girls. We were and are very close. Video games and media have been the main fountain of our bonding. My dad was an attorney which gave my mother the chance to be in the home with us. With the guidance of our parents, we knew there were set expectations for us and that has always made me very driven, almost to a fault. The relationships I formed with my family and friends as a child have helped me value the importance of friendship and being kind to everyone around me as an adult.
What do you enjoy most about writing?
What I most love about writing is that it allows me to escape the stresses of everyday life. Seeing my story be published and seeing positive responses to it is the thing I love second most about writing. I hope that someday my grandkids and great-grandkids will have a chance to read some of my stories and connect with who I am.
How did the story of Luke Coles and the Flower of Chiloe originate? What were your inspirations?
Chiloe is an island off of Chile’s southern coast. In June of 2005, I spent three months there. You hear about ghost stories and myths: in school, watching cartoons, and reading books. When I was on the island, I heard a whole new plethora of myths and ghost stories relating to the area. The townspeople told me about witchcraft, the Trauco, the Pincoya, and other creatures. The difference between the stories I heard as a child and the ones I heard in Chile is that on the island, I saw evidence that the stories were true, or at least rooted in truth. I have written a lengthy blog post going into the details of that. I could go over it here, but it would turn a ten minute interview into a thirty minute one.
What was the most challenging aspect of writing Luke Coles?
The toughest part of writing Luke Coles was keeping every plot point straight in my head and tying together the three different timelines that form the main story. It is one story, but whenever you don’t tell something chronologically, it is hard to remember what has been developed in the story and what hasn’t.
How has the culture of Chile influenced your life and your writing?
My wife is Chilean and I have spent between two and two and a half years of my life in that country. I loved the people and how they take care of their neighbors. Some of their traditions, such as saying hello with a kiss on the cheek, have snuck their way into Luke Coles.
What book do you wish you had written?
There are so many amazing books out there. It is hard to pick. If I had to choose just one, I’d say Journey to the West. It is one of four books considered to be classic Chinese literature. When you read it, the experience is similar to watching a television series. Every few chapters is a different episode. The book’s biggest strength is its symbolism and the imagination put into each of the adventures that the characters go through. Considering the age of the book, I’m hoping that no one has exclusive rights to the story, so that I can do a version of this story and adapt it to a western audience with the goal of keeping it as close to the original book as possible.
Which haunted location would you most like to travel to and explore for yourself?
There are two places I’d love to go, I’m not sure which would take the number one spot. They are the Sedlec Ossuary and the Waverly Hills Sanatorium.
What’s the earliest memory you have?
My earliest memory is when I was two. My mom was getting my older siblings and I ready to go trick or treating. My brother was in a wool or felt lion costume with floppy ears. I don’t remember what I had on, but I remember not liking when whiskers were drawn on my face with a black, face-paint-dispersing crayon.
What NFL player have you most enjoyed watching?
Jerry Rice helped me learn to love football and helped me to bond with my older brother. To this day, I can say the one thing we share in common is a love for the 49ers.
What is the best video game you’ve played recently?
My three year old daughter recently discovered Pokemon, so we have spent a lot of time playing those games. They are much more entertaining for me with her commentaries than they were as a teenager.
What are your expectations for the upcoming Star Wars sequels?
With Disney’s acquisition of Star Wars, I am really excited to see what they do with the new movies. When I consider what Disney has done with their license to make movies based on Marvel Comics – The Avengers, Captain America, and Iron Man – it makes me expect the same from them in terms of what they do with Star Wars. I think the Star Wars movie I’m most looking forward to is the rumored Boba Fett spin-off movie.
What are you working on next?
I have a lot of things coming out soon and I am currently working on a lot of things at once.
I have some short stories that will be coming out in various anthologies later this year. I am spearheading one of those anthologies. It is titled Forgotten Places and all the proceeds from it will be going to St. Jude’s.
My second Luke Coles is with some beta readers. We are working to polish off its story and then it will be off to the editors and hopefully set for release by Christmas.
I have started the third Luke Coles and have outlined the fourth one. After the first four Luke Coles books are finished, I will be moving from urban fantasy and taking on a traditional fantasy novel.