An LCTXO local author book review:
One small package …
Just in time for a birthday celebration for Lake Conroe novelist
Not long ago on a late summer afternoon, one small package – left just inside the front storm door for protection from a rare afternoon rainburst – turned R.D. Frazier’s household upside down. Trying to remain calm while his wife insisted he hurry and “shred the box if you have to,” he managed to extract the contents intact, and glance at the mountain scene on the aqueous-coated cover of his first novel.
A glance was all he got, as his wife grabbed it away and cried, “It’s just in time for your birthday!” and the Willis author finally experienced the reality of his first novel, Dear Walt. After weeks of anticipation, his newly released novel has been published and is now available through his website, DearWalt.com or Amazon.com.
From the moment readers open Dear Walt and are introduced to 14-year-old Andy King’s silent tears and defiant question about prayer — “What good is it?” they are indisputably drawn into his life, often recognizing some of their own faltering steps that have bogged down their lives from time to time. “Pursuing Andy’s somewhat turbulent, emotional journey into manhood,” Frazier said, “reveals to us just how precarious our own lives can be when we reject the One who can provide solace — instead relying on our own self-absorption.”
To fully appreciate Dear Walt it is imperative that you immerse yourself in the lives of every individual who comes in contact with Andy as he pursues peace. The painstaking story of his troubled response to God’s invitation parallels the story of mankind throughout all time.
In telling a little about how the book came about, Frazier – who works as a print-and-web graphic designer – said Dear Walt was not premeditated. “On the contrary … after listening to an extraordinary Sunday morning sermon portraying Moses’ exile to Midian, unrelenting words invaded my thoughts, demanding to be heard, until I set them down on paper,” Frazier said. “Even so, I still cannot explain the single-minded insistence of those beginning words that I write them in a letter to someone named “Walt” that Sunday afternoon.”
Frazier says there is no one person named Walt in his conscious memory of any particular consequence, but that “Walt” represents a composite of those who have consistently steered him in his life, even during the times he felt he was in his own Midian desert.
Initially, he did not set out to write a novel. In fact, Frazier said, “As I wrote the first few pages, I was hoping I could develop it into my first real short story. But as the characters took on their respective lives and relationships, they required the same thorough development and inclusion as the text of the Dear Walt letter that very first Sunday.” From there, he said, the plot took shape and extended through its own energy, due in part to his pastor’s continuing multi-Sunday treatise on the early days of Moses.
Frazier said he simply could not dismiss the compelling parallels of Moses’ flight from Egypt because it was “a place he could no longer live” in his self-imposed exile, to his lead character Andy’s bus journey to Denver and his first days in Platteville. For Moses, Midian offered refuge from the immediate storms of life. For Andy, the first refuge was in Platteville.
From the first glimpse of the riveting mountain scene on Dear Walt’s book cover, through 287 pages of Andy’s compelling story — plus a sneak preview of Frazier’s next book-in-progress ‘Welcome to Ricochet,’ — readers will find themselves caught up in Andy’s life as he searches for an elusive peace. Many will, no doubt, identify with Andy’s often troubled journey … for they, too, have sought a similar harmony in their own lives.
Ultimately, one will find Dear Walt brings together an intriguing cast of characters whose lives are all touched by Andy’s retreat from “a place he could no longer live” to his eventual reconciliation within his own spirit.
The author, a native Texan, grew up in Wichita Falls but has spent most of his adult life in the Houston suburban area with his wife of more than three decades. He worked professionally as a photographer early in his career, and spent several months working in western Colorado — where he eventually set much of the plot of Dear Walt.
However, facing the challenging economic instability of the energy crisis in the early 1980s, he developed a newfound enthusiasm for technology, and made the switch to computers and publishing. He currently works as a print-and-web graphic designer, develops websites commercially, and spends much of his ‘off-work’ time writing.
Today, reflecting on the decades after his own teenage rebellion against the church, Frazier says he now understands and appreciates the painful … yet necessary … revelation of God’s grace in his life. Revelation that laid him bare and exposed him once again to God’s keeping presence. At age 51, facing a life-threatening heart condition, he came face to face with his own immortality and slowly began his journey back to the God who had always been faithful to him.
Much like Andy in Dear Walt, he says he crawled through the turbulence and chaos of a life lived without walking with the Lord — and, much like Andy’s, his own long journey brought him home — where he is no longer “in a place he could no longer live.”
Dear Walt is his first novel, and while the plot is based in Colorado, both the fictional characters and plot actually grew out of his return to the faith of his early years after a 35 year absence.