MOUNTAIN in eastern Washington is home to
a community of eccentrics. Otis Till, the area's visionary
winemaker, has been known to howl at the moon--fully
nude. Single mother Margot Pierce moved across the
country to build an inn, but so far all she does is
binge on gelato, the Hallmark Channel, and fantasies
of murdering her ex. High school senior Emilia Forester,
daughter of celebrity parents, is struggling to build
her own life outside of their shadow. And Brooks Baker
is a man haunted by his past spent living on the streets
as an orphan. Somehow, everyone lives together harmoniously,
their lives intertwined like the vines in Red Mountain's
beautiful and renowned vineyards in the novel
by Boo Walker, narrated with the resonate voice and
acting skill of Armen Taylor
Lowe: You’ve always wanted to write, but you’re
involved in the winery business. Did you start with
articles or fiction?
Walker: I used to play music in Nashville for
a living with a band called the Biscuit Boys. My first
taste of the creative process and putting words together
was writing songs. When I left that career, I had
to fill the void. Being a voracious reader, I always
wanted to try my hand writing fiction. So I went from
songs to full-length fiction.
Lowe: Anything happen at the winery itself
that could be described as “mysterious”
Walker: There’s always things that happen
at the winery with a sense of suspense or mystery.
Our winemaker was nearly killed by the press one year.
A year before that, someone stole our neighbor’s
grapes, picking them at midnight during harvest. I’ve
seen wars waged between humans that may not resolve
themselves for generations. Eastern Washington is
desert country, the wild west. We have coyotes that
will track you, we have badgers that will maul you,
and we have rattlesnakes that linger in the grass.
Even though Red Mountain is a tiny blip on the map,
the potential stories are endless!
Drinking a bit helped me with live interviews,
and many writers have been aided by wine in loosening
up the free flow of ideas. Red or white for this?
Ha! The best interviews always begin with a glass
of white. But I have a steadfast rule… no drinking
while writing. Even Hemingway stuck to that.
Favorite authors? Influences?
My favorite author for many years has been Pat
Conroy. We share pasts in Charleston together. If
I could emulate one writer, it would be him. But I
read Plum Island by Nelson Demille while traveling
through Ireland after high school, and it gave me
the thirst. I was in Waterville on the west coast,
and I remember thinking that I had to write a book.
Not that I could or should, but that I had to. So
I owe him a lot. My favorite book right now though,
one that has utterly blown me away, is A Gentleman
in Moscow. I’ve never felt so motivated as a
writer. Amor Towles puts words together in ways that
make my eyes water. The way his mind works is pure
art and genius. And most importantly, he’s reminded
me to be free in my writing. I don’t need to
subscribe to any particular way of doing things. I
need to write from the heart and let my voice shine.
Your wine is carried at Whole Foods, bought
by Amazon. Some of your characters are in wineries,
too. Ever thought about sending a case to Jeff Bezos?
He might buy movie rights.
I love the idea of sending wine to Bezos! I sent
him an email one time; he never responded. Perhaps
a box of wine would do the trick!
Hobbies? What’s next for you?'
I’m halfway way through the sequel to Red
Mountain. Once that’s wrapped up, I’ll
be writing a few books from my new home in St. Pete,
Florida. After many years in Washington, my wife and
I decided to take a new adventure. So I’m getting
out and about in St. Pete, learning the history, the
culture, the people. And then I’m going to throw
it all in a blender and see what kind of fiction comes
out I always tell my new friends that they better
be careful what they tell me, because I’m always
looking for new material. Other than writing, I still
play some music and absolutely thrilled to be buying
my son his first guitar this Christmas. My newest
hobby will be teaching him everything I know!