1.1 Early life and education,
2 Benedict's Brother
2.1 Inspiration behind the book,
2.2 Publishing Benedict's Brother,
2.3 Benedict's Brother - The film and future works,
3 Personal life
3.1 Peter Walker,
3.2 Beating cancer,
Early life and education:
Tricia Walker was born in Ampleforth, North Yorkshire, to author Peter Walker and music school secretary, Rhoda Smith. She was the third of four children. Walker had a rural upbringing in a small village. Growing up in a Roman Catholic household, she chose the name Benedict (after St.Benedict of Nursia) as her catholic name. She went to secondary school at Bar Convent in York and was a weekly boarder.
Walker credits the location, scenery, sense of place and her Yorkshire identity to having a big impact on her literature.
After completing her BA Honours in Humanities from Middlesex University (formerly Middlesex Polytechnic) in London, she worked for a brief while in marketing.
Inspiration behind the book:
In her early 30's Walker went to visit her brother who is a Buddhist monk in Thailand. The seed of the story came from her quest to find out what happened to her uncle, who left her £5000, which she used to make the trip.
In similar vein, the opening line of Benedict's Brother reads: 'Today, my great uncle left me one hundred and thirty-nine thousand pounds. I've no idea what to do with it'.
In hindsight, Walker realised the journey to Thailand was her own way of coping with the death of a close childhood friend at the time. The physical setting and scenario of her journey is captured through the book but the story has been fictionalised for impact.
She did not find out what eventually happened to her uncle who was a prisoner of war, held hostage on the River Kwai, in Thailand. Through research, she found out that his regiment were captured in Singapore, some of whom were sent to Thailand, while her uncle and others were sent to Taiwan.
Scottish crime writer, Val McDermid, who was a friend of her father's, mentored Walker on the draft of Benedict's Brother. After two years, the initial manuscript was rejected in 1999. Her agent suggested she get started on her next book, which she did.
Seven years later (in 2006) while housesitting for her sister who was away on holiday, Tricia decided to post the first 10 pages of the book on her newly created Blogger account. She had only just heard of blogging and decided to use the platform as a means for promoting her story.
Publishing Benedict's Brother:
It was 16 August when she published the first post - the month that coincides with the opening chapter of the book that begins in August and finishes in January. Her only means of promoting her blog was an email sent to 30 friends. While she kept adding new posts, she steadily gained a stream of dedicated worldwide Blogger followers. Her mother was proofreading the content and her sister was editing it.
The entire book was published on her blog between August 2006 to January 2007. The aim of her blog was to see her work published and she knew that the key to a beautiful book is a beautiful story. Readers of the blog encouraged her to publish a book version as they wanted something physical that they could carry with them and read.
She decided to apply to the Arts Council England which gave her £5000 to launch the paperback of Benedict's Brother. The book was published by Coppice Publishing in Yorkshire. The first print run of 1000 copies sold out in six months. They did not send out review copies, but for one requested by Publishing News.
In December 2007, the year it was first released, Benedict's Brother was awarded a 'Book of the Year' selection by Publishing News. The book was also the biggest-selling launch for an unknown debut author for Borders UK in 2007.
The eBook of Benedict's Brother is due to be launched on 18 November 2013 on all major online platforms.
Benedict's Brother - The film and future works:
Benedict's Brother is currently being developed as a feature film, with Walker taking the key role as producer and script consultant. Filming is scheduled to start in York and Thailand in October 2014, with a release date in 2015.
Walker is currently writing the follow-up to Benedict's Brother.
She has also written her second book - an independent story about family love.
Tricia's father, Peter Walker worked his way up the police ranks in Yorkshire, eventually retiring as Deputy Chief Constable of North Yorkshire. Tricia was aware of the literary profession at an early age as her grandmother was a strong storyteller and she vividly remembers her father writing every day after work on his typewriter. Peter Walker retired at 45 to concentrate full-time on his writing.
Under the pseudonym Nicholas Rhea (one of six pseudonyms used by the senior Walker), he published the popular Constable series which formed the basis for the British police drama, Heartbeat. Heartbeat had a successful run of 372 episodes on British television from April 1992 to September 2010 on ITV.
Tricia credits her father for instilling in her the qualities of discipline, practice and commitment to the art of writing. She deduces that while her father's writing was more procedural, hers is more emotional.
In 2009, Tricia Walker was diagnosed with breast cancer. Detected in stage one, Walker had three connected surgeries and radiotherapy before making a complete recovery. She says that - like Benedict's character in the book who goes through a spiritual journey - cancer was her own deeply spiritual journey.
Benedict's Brother (2007)