This is the first of Hardin Local’s new Spotlight on Local Artists, a column dedicated to showcasing local talent involved in the arts. We intend to feature artists, musicians, authors, or any other form of creative endeavor for those who hail from our local area. If you wish to have your story and work featured on Hardin Local please contact us on Facebook or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Hardin County Author Spotlight With Burt Walker
This article features Burt Walker, who after many years in the business, technology, and entrepreneurial world has shifted his interests to writing fiction. Burt is the author of two novels and co-author of one non-fiction humor book. What our readers may find of particular interest is that his novels are set in Kentucky. One is set in Hardin County specifically. The other is set in a fictitious Bewley County, but according to Burt, “readers from the local area will have little doubt about which area of Kentucky the novel is based.”
In 2016, Walker decided to “take a stab” at the craft of writing fiction. He’s been an avid reader nearly all his life. “It was just a whim, really. I began the project as one of those bucket list items,” said Walker. “I had spent most of my professional life writing, but it was all non-fiction technical writing, so writing has always come easy to me. Writing creatively, however, turned out to be quite a challenge.” Walker’s professional background began as a software engineer. As he moved to the business world, he applied his experience in software by being the architect of the software that drove his business.
His interest in technology was the inspiration for his first novel, Canine Plague. “As a follower of technology, I became interested in the increasing role played by social media,” said Walker. “I wrote the novel before the concept of fake news became a common phrase. But I asked myself, could news based on a fictitious event, no matter how absurd it seems on the surface, ever become so believable that it could actually influence the outcome of society in a major way. That became the premise of the novel where a preposterous idea took hold and was the catalyst for a near post-apocalyptic outcome.”
Canine Plague was based on a sabotaged medical research project revealing that dog dander was the cause for the vast majority of cancer in humans. The resulting panic resulted in political enemies becoming allies and previous allies becoming enemies.
Walker’s second novel, Status Schmo, released in May, 2018, once again explored the power of social media, but in a different manner. It illustrates how social media can be used as a force of good by exposing what is believed to be uncommon failures of government as common. While the characters in Status Schmo are fictional, Kentuckians will recognize a striking resemblance to real life Kentucky politicians. Status Schmo reveals a well developed, character based story about a Kentucky small-businessman who is plagued by overzealous bureaucrats and politicians to the degree that his life resembles the biblical character of Job.
Interestingly, each of the plagues encountered by the protagonist, Joe Winston, are real life events that actually happened to U.S. citizens in recent history. They are things that happen to citizens every day in this country, but the story sets them all upon a single family. Walker claims this is not a conspiracy based novel. The fact that these things happened to Joe are merely a coincidence, but clearly illustrate how an overwhelming government, mostly on autopilot, can actually shatter people’s lives.
Idiots, Assholes, And Me
Walker’s third book, Idiots, Assholes, and Me, co-authored by his friend, humorist Lauren Lindsey, is a humorous look at the way Americans drive. Yes, it’s a book about driving. The central premise is that everyone can be defined, in psychological terms, by the way they drive their cars. Walker defines it as adult humor, but says that the language inside is no worse than the title. This book includes cartoon-style illustrations for each of the defined driver types.
More About Burt Walker
Walker is in the research phase of his third novel, yet to be titled. It is a historical fiction story based in New Mexico where he completed his undergraduate degree and lived for many years. The novel will be set beginning in the 1960s through today in the small community of Placitas, New Mexico not from Albuquerque.
Burt Walker has been married to Teresa Warren Walker for 32 years. He has three adult children and two grandchildren. He and his family moved to Vine Grove, Kentucky, in 1994 after retiring from the Air Force. Burt is an advocate for pet rescue and a board member of Forever Homes for Paws in Radcliff, KY.