A life immersed in politics and international travel created plenty of material for a former North End MP’s first novel.
Dr. David Walker, a former University of Winnipeg professor who represented Winnipeg North Centre in the House of Commons for nine years, has authored Wild World, a political mystery novel now available at McNally Robinson Booksellers and online at amazon.com.
This isn’t Walker’s first book— he previously penned The Great Winnipeg Dream: The Re-Development of Portage and Main in 1979— but it is his first work of fiction. He acknowledged Wild World posed something of a challenge.
"If you do it over a period of time, you really have to concentrate on keeping the characters consistent. That’s what surprised me the most," Walker said from his Corydon Avenue business office.
"When you’re creating a story, you have to make sure the characters don’t change with your mood."
Wild World tells the story of several individuals in different parts of the globe whose lives intersect in a morass of mystery and intrigue. It was inspired by an article he read in 2008 about an arms dealer who managed to live openly in Spain.
Walker penned the tale of a man who travels to South Africa where he encounters an individual from Madrid, and decides he can sell missiles produced in Winnipeg. The story’s narrative moves back and forth between several different locales.
He admitted his experiences as a teacher and politician also influenced the story.
"It always struck me both in academics and in politics how coincidence plays into our lives, so I began with a story in Madrid and a story in Winnipeg, to show people how the world is interconnected," he said.
Winnipeg is prominently featured in the book, with two major characters, a businessman and an academic, playing major roles.
Walker’s background as an MP, academic and an occasional international consultant provided him plenty of experiences to draw from. As an MP, he served as chair of the Industry Committee and as Parliamentary Secretary to former finance minister (later Prime Minister) Paul Martin, and sat on House committees concerned with international human rights and corporate social responsibility. But he determined that wasn’t enough to drive an autobiography, and decided to use his experiences as part of a work of fiction.
"I was lucky enough between the academic world and the political world to have a really interesting life, but it wasn’t enough to drive an (autobiography). But if I could fictionalize it, and give people a flavour of the life I was involved with, they might be interested in the stories," he said.
Walker worked with an editor through Amazon’s self-publishing arm, CreateSpace, who helped him refine the 362-page tome.
He has also set up his own publishing house, Mulvey Books, which he hopes to utilize in the future to help others tell their stories.
"I’m also very interested too that a number of people, given the health of retirees nowadays, have books in them that are substantial, and figuring out how they can pay their way and get it done," he said.
Walker has already drafted a follow-up to Wild World, and hopes to do a three-part series. However, he probably won’t be looking at printing the follow-up until late next year, or even 2014.
Walker will be holding two book signings, the first of which takes place tomorrow (Nov. 22) at the University of Winnipeg from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. in the staff and faculty club. He will also be appearing at McNally Robinson Booksellers at Grant Park Mall Tues., Dec. 4 at 7 p.m. in the atrium.