Today I’m interviewing Michigan writer, T.W. Dittmer, the author of the interesting novel, “The Valley Walker.”
John Walker Michaels, a man known to the Hmong of Laos as the Valley Walker, a man the army has classified as a deserter … an openly emotional man who draws her out of her shell and into the world of Hmong mysticism. At the end of this time … even after talking to him, learning his history and meeting his family … Special Investigator Teri Altro can only shake her head when asked about him.
She had touched him and felt his warmth. She knew he was real.
Or was he?
~ from The Valley Walker
Welcome to “Painting With Light,” Tim.
Thank you, Ron.
I’m fascinated with your novel. Can you tell us a little about yourself and your background?
I grew up in Gary, Indiana. My father worked in the steel mills, then turned to preaching the Gospel. My mother was a legal secretary. After graduating from high school, I joined the Army and volunteered for Vietnam.
When my military service was complete I studied music, but ended up working in an automobile engine testing laboratory.
An interesting background. What were you like at school?
I was a dreamer in high school. Not a bad kid, but not very motivated, so my grades were poor. I did better in college.
Were you good in English?
Not really, but I liked reading, which got me pushed into the advanced English and Composition courses.
Who are your favorite authors?
Stephen King, Thomas Harris and John Steinbeck.
Where do your ideas come from?
They can come from anywhere. An idea occurs to me, then works at me until I spend a lot of time pacing the floor and imagining it coming to life.
Do you have an “elevator speech” for your novel?
No. I’m no good at that sort of thing, and I prefer the stairs. To me, The Valley Walker is a soldier’s story.
There’s a lot of that in my work, too. Do you work to an outline or do you prefer to just see where an idea takes you?
I can’t work to an outline. More power to those who can, but it’s just not me.
How have you evolved creatively since you started writing?
My writing started as an outlet … a purely selfish indulgence, I guess. Once I put my work out there and started getting feedback, I realized I wasn’t being clear about the thoughts I was trying to convey. Now I try to write in a way that makes more sense to the reader.
What’s the hardest thing about writing?
None of it is “hard” but it’s definitely a growing process. The Valley Walker is my first novel, and it’s a long road ahead of me. It’s been an interesting journey, so far. I’ve met some great people and learned more than I thought possible. I imagine the journey will become even more interesting.
For your own reading, do you prefer eBooks or traditional printed books?
It depends. Some books I like on my eReader, others I prefer in print form.
What’s your favorite book?
That changes as I change, but Steinbeck’s East of Eden is my favorite right now.
What is your favorite quote?
I don’t have a favorite quote. I don’t like to align my life with another person’s idea of achievement or inner peace.
Do you have anything else in the works right now?
I am currently working on the second draft of my next novel, in the same genre.
I’m looking forward to it. Good luck, Tim … and thanks for doing the interview.
Thanks, Ron. It is truly an honor to be associated with a serious writer like you.
I’m just about finished reading Tim’s remarkable book, and I already know what I’m going to say in my review:
“The Valley Walker” is one of those rare stories that will stay with you long after you finish reading. Most of the characters are totally believable, and the lead character, John Walker Michaels, was superb. This unusual story of a young soldier who turns into so much more will keep readers turning the pages. Well done!
“The Valley Walker” is available as an eBook on Amazon, and you can discover more about the author at these locations:
My readers know there is a lot of realistic Vietnam War reference in my novels “Reichold Street” and “One Way Street.” I think the books are a perfect way to remember, and express my gratitude to, friends who served or perished over there.
As always, you can find my books as eBooks or paperback on Amazon, or at Barnes & Noble. You’re also invited to visit my web site, BROKEN GLASS, or like my Book of Face page. You can also follow my shorter ramblings on The Twitter.
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