Southern fiction. A rasp of a vel, set in the 60's-80's.
I was born in 1950 in the Terrell State Hospital in Terrell, Texas. My biological mother was a patient there and suffered from a life-long mental illness. I was adopted out of the hospital as an infant by Dorothy and Edward Walters of Texarkana, Texas, where I grew up. My adopted parents were self-employed piano, voice and theory teachers in Texarkana and were highly thought of in their field. They were both educated at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston. On two occasions, Prudence Mackintosh wrote about studying music with my dad in Texas Monthly magazine... one as recently as December of 2011. I began grade school in 1956 at Highland Park Elementary School in Texarkana. It was there I made many of my lifelong friends. It was at Texas High School that I wrote my Junior theme about the Phantom Killer, a series of unsolved murders that occurred in Texarkana in 1946. Everyone in highschool wanted to read it, and it was then I knew I was going to be a writer. Rather than working summers in high school, my father had selected readings for me. I remember when I was fifteen, I believe, I read PAPA, a biography of Ernest Hemingway, and I read Zelda, a very sad biography of Zelda Fitzgerald. I was so taken with Zelda, that my dad then had me read Tender is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald. It is no accident that the major female character in my book is named Nicole-the brainy, beautiful and insane debutante- not unlike Nicole Diver or Zelda Fitzgerald herself. My dad was a student of the American novel. He gave me a literary education that I will always be thankful for. I attended college at Texarkana College, the University of Texas at Arlington, and the University of Texas at Austin where I studied journalism. It was at Texarkana College that I had my first job writing for a city newspaper. They say that once printers' ink gets in your blood, it never gets out. I think this is true. I have suffered from various forms of mental illness since I was in highschool. Perhaps they have robbed me of many of the normal experiences I wish I could have had. But in retrospect, they helped create a Bob Walters that is unique among others, and definitely worthwhile in his own right. For twenty years I have been on the medication, Clozaril, and I have had no problems. For this I am deeply thankful. If I have a motto it is this--nothing comes easy, nothing comes overnight. If you want to be successful, you must be willing to pay the price.