Wednesday, June 9, 2010
Walter Fredericks, writing as T.F. Walters, My Brother's Keeper
T. F. Walters, author of My Brother's Keeper
In 2009 I met T. F. Walters and his friend, film maker/actor Keith Hayes, in Waldenbooks store in the CNN center in Atlanta, where he was scheduling an event to promote My Brother's Keeper. A handsome man, he has an aura that is simultaneously understated and intriguing. Walters' debut novel is the story of brothers Dallas and Dakota Seabrook and their mother, Nora Seabrook. Nora is doing her best to keep a good home and raise two boys in Harlem in the 80s and 90s after their father goes out for the proverbial loaf of bread of no return.
The call of the streets and fast money have an iron clad grip on Dakota, the older brother, while Dallas is a carefree fellow who enjoys and excels at school and sports. What the boys have in common is a fierce devotion to each other and their mother. Told through the eyes of Dallas we are provided the sights, sounds and feel of their lives as if watching a 3-D film, thanks to Walters' tight control of language, dialogue and action. The family trio settles into a life that, though not perfect, has managed to find a workable balance within their circumstances.
The balance is shattered by the brutal murder of Dakota, and seemingly apathetic police investigation. Dallas, for whom the future appears to offer the keys to the doors of success, success he's methodically planned for, sacrifices all to find Dakota's killer.
AuthorHouse. 183 pages. ISBN 1420853805 Available at Barnes & Noble , Amazon, .
Madame Perry: You have a style of telling the story that makes the reader see, hear and feel the action. People will assume it is, at least in part, autobiographical. Is it, and if so, how much?
T. F. Walters: My book is loosely based on my life. The story of Dallas and Dakota Seabrook being raised by a single mother was my brother and I growing up, hence the title. We had to take care of each other while my mother worked. There are different parts of the story that are autobiographical. There are actually too many to point out. The content of my book is based off of my life's experiences.
Perry: What one event in your childhood had the greatest effect on your career as a writer?
Walters: The one event in my childhood that has had the greatest effect on my writing is the brutal murder of a close friend. He was murdered right in front of me and that changed my life forever. I realized that my life was a canvas that needed to be painted on and shared with the world.
Joy Barge: What was your general mood as you were writing the book?
Walters: Joy, during the time I was writing "My Brother's Keeper" my mood was one of heartache and disappointment. I was coming out of a very serious relationship and I had to move back to New York and stay at my mother's house.
Joy Barge: What did you hope to accomplish by sharing this story with your readers?
Walters: I hoped to touch my readers in some way. I believe everyone who reads my book can relate to a particular character or situation. I want people to live the story as they read it.
Barge: Did writing this book give you a better understanding of your own life experiences?
Walters: Definitely, I can't stress enough how much of me and my life is poured into this book. When I look back at some of the things discussed in the book, it amazes me how incredible my childhood was.
Perry: What lesson from an older person do you still live by today?
Walters: My mother is my role model and biggest supporter. She taught us to work hard, stay focused and never let anyone keep you from achieving your dreams. I continue to follow that wisdom as I live out my dreams today.
Barge: This has certainly been a pleasure, and I wish you much success with this and all of your work.
Walters: The pleasure is all mine, Joy, and after hearing you on the radio it's very nice to finally meet in person.
Perry: And I'm delighted to have you as a guest in Madame Perry's Salon. I don't want to reveal to much, but I know about the screenplay and we hope you'll come back and talk to us about that.