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
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
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