I am from a quiet little west highland town in Scotland called Campbeltown, few have heard of it unless they are Scots; It is unremarkable other than being a pretty and small seaside town. I was raised on a farm near to the Mull of Kintyre, it was a good place to grow up. Like many young boys I liked to explore, what child does not, and on our doorstep were druid burial sites, standing stones, duns, brochs, forts, castles, abbeys and many other things. I did not even have inkling, at that time, of how much history sat close by. I learned by going walking and fishing in the area which was full of small fast flowing trout rivers and forests. I found the remains of a thirteenth century Dun on out land as well as a number of much older Cysts and even helped the Glasgow University Archaeology team excavate one. Not far up the road to Carradale was the ruined Saddel abbey, built in the tenth century by Somerled, The Lord of the Isles, it was the only abbey consecrated to the church of St Fillan which predated even the catholic church in Scotland and Ireland. I think having such things on my doorstep inevitably led to a taste for the mysterious, ancient and wonderous. Add to this my love of reading and I think my path was foretold.
Food and drink?
Oh yes please.
Well I like to drink. I love a glass or even a bottle of Red Wine, I enjoy a beer on a warm day. I am not one for spirits, not because I disagree with them I just like the things that I like. Those things as I said are beer and red wine.
I have quite a few people that I think of as heroes for many varied reasons and so it is difficult to come up with only one. This I have thought of and tried to narrow it down and when I finish I still come up with two. The first is Sir Richard Francis Burton, explorer, linguist, writer, swordsman and … well I could tell you all of his virtues and failures but let me just say that he was one of the most amazing people that have ever lived.
Looking at this question from a different angle I again pared out many and was left with FMA De Voltaire, The scalpel of reason. A rarely matched intellect that also reasoned, again from the literary world his reasoning (in my opinion) is rarely matched; he taught us all so much.
An uncreative job;
As a young man I packed milk, twenty pints to a crate, twelve crates to a pile, 144 crates to a van. I still remember, manual work frees your mind to think. I also think that working is a good thing in its own way. At the same time I worked filling freezers in a shop, I worked on the farm at the weekends, I was twelve at the time. Since then I have always worked and some of the jobs I have had have been tedious yet I do think sometimes that frees your mind to think on other, higher, matters much as a walk in the forest or a long car drive does now.
My favourite time of year is spring. I am a gardener in my own way, I love gardening, I love nurturing seeds and creating something from nothing. I love the warm days of summer especially as they are so few here and autumn equally as I get to reap what I have sown but I like the quickening of spring.
Do I plan or Just write.
Actually I do both dependant upon what I feel like at the time. I prefer to write for the fun of writing in which case I just start with an acorn and follow my imagination to wherever it may lead hopefully a mighty Oak. Like many authors, sometimes I write because I have to, in which case the books are planned and paced. I prefer the former to be honest but it is rare that a novel of any length can be held together correctly if you do not have a plan and a number that I have started without a plan have come to nothing in the end. Strangely I do believe that those that have been completed with no plan other than me wishing to write them have turned out better than the planned novels.
My characters are not always based on real people but they often are. I think it is pretty easy to tell as you read my books, which are, and those that are not as those based on someone I know tend to be central characters and far complex than the hazy characters that appear every now and then. Often they are friends or family, girlfriends and I tend to use very few characters in my novels compared to most writers that I need to know them very well indeed. Most of my novels have only three or four main characters and sometimes for short stories there is only one or two. There have been a couple of exceptions to this “Cornelius” has a large cast and “Sommerled” will be similar.
I suspect that so many of those I have read have influenced my writing in major and minor ways that it is now hard to tell who has made the most difference. Was I pushed though I would probably say Karen Blixen, Jonathan Aycliffe and M.R. James.
I am perhaps luckier than most as far as the mind goes as I have a degree in psychology and so I need do little research on that though there is always some as I never know quite as much as I need to. As far as forensic science goes I use it rarely, as it is normally historical and supernatural suspense I write, however when the need arises I am again fortunate as I have a friend whom is a microbiologist and works for the forensics department in the Police. Predominantly with DNA but they will find out what I need to know when the need arises. My problems arise more with historical research as history is rarely as it first appears.
At the moment I have three projects on the go at various stages of completion. “The Miscast Fate” which will be my new novel will be out mid summer this year; A blend of science, thriller and romance that asks the question, if you can foresee the future and know that the love of your life will die, how can you change that future? Todd, a maligned genius, faces a race against time to save the love of his life. Everyone is against him from the church, the establishment, and the scientific communities, even his friends. It seems the only person on his side is his greatest rival and the person that he hates most in the world.
“The River” will be the sequel to the critically acclaimed “A River of Tears” and will be out at the end of October this year. A tale of eternal love and romance in a land peopled with sprites and dryads, were-beasts and faerie of all sorts. A land where, as the lights die out in hoses of the folk, the goats stretch their legs and stand upright and meet in the forest to discuss politics and philosophy. Where all is serene apart from the weather. Yet evil stalks the land in the form of a monstrous beast, the Fae call him Grendel. We would call him human. A tale of true love from the magical pen of Raymond walker, an ecological romance that like its predecessor will reduce you to tears as we do more damage to this world than we ever did it good.
Lastly “Sommerled” I have been working on this for a number of years now and it is not yet complete, when it is it will be released both as a novel and a history book. Somerled MacSorley, the first “lord of the Isles” reclaimed his father’s lands from the Norse invaders despite being at a vast numerical disadvantage. His abilities as a warrior, military tactician (especially in sea battles) led to a meteoric rise to power during which he challenged the faith of the Catholic Church, the Norse at the height of their power and even the crown of Scotland. He landed an army in Erskine, Renfrewshire, the land of the stewards of Scotland before being murdered in his tent. Some friends and I have puzzled over this problem for many a year and believe that we have an answer to that ancient mystery but have yet some work to do before it can be published.
I am easily found at;
Raymond, I've enjoyed getting to know you, as I'm sure everyone else has. I hope you drop by again! Thank you.