Author Interview: Ron Walters

Ron Walters Angry Robot photo Today I am interviewing Ron Walters, author of the new sci-fi thriller novel, Deep Dive.

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DJ: Hi Ron! Thanks for agreeing to do this interview! 

For readers who aren’t familiar with you, could you tell us a little about yourself?

Ron Walters: Thanks for having me! I’m originally from Savannah, GA, but moved around a lot as a kid because my dad was in the Coast Guard. At the moment I live in Germany with my wife, two daughters, and two rescue dogs. When I’m not writing I work as a substitute teacher at the high school where my wife teaches language arts.  

DJ: What is Deep Dive about?

58285279 Ron: Deep Dive is a sci-fi thriller about a video game developer named Peter Banuk who’s so obsessed with salvaging his floundering career that he spends more time working than he does with his wife and young daughters. When he tests an experimental VR headset designed by his tech genius business partner and friend, the headset malfunctions and knocks Peter out. After coming to he discovers that his daughters no longer exist, and he’s somehow the hugely successful game developer he’s always dreamed of being.

DJ: What were some of your influences for Deep Dive

Ron: There are so many to choose from. Dark Matter and Recursion by Blake Crouch were definitely more recent influences in terms of the kind of book I wanted Deep Dive to be. Same with Tad Williams’ Otherland series, which I read way, way back when I was in college–nothing I’ve read since has quite surpassed its scope and inventiveness, especially where VR is concerned. I’m also an avid gamer, so when I first started plotting Deep Dive I knew I wanted it to focus on video games in some way. It really wasn’t until I watched a documentary on the development of God of War (the 2018 one) that I finally nailed down the main character and plot.

DJ: Could you briefly tell us a little about your main characters? Do they have any cool quirks or habits, or any reason why readers with sympathize with them? 

Ron: The main character, Peter, is an independent video game developer desperately trying to save his company after his last game dropped to abysmal reviews. The company is his family’s major source of income, so he’s worried about the financial hit they’d take if it goes under, but on top of that, Peter’s sense of self-worth has become so tied up in whether he’s perceived as a success that he’s begun neglecting the thing that actually matters most in his life: his family. His wife, Alana, and his daughters, Cassie and Evie, have always been supportive of his career aspirations but have become increasingly frustrated with how absent he’s been because of work. Peter’s business partner, Bradley Moss, is a globally renowned tech genius whose experimental VR headset is poised to be either Peter’s salvation or his downfall.

DJ: Aside from the main characters in the story, who is a favorite side character or a character with a smaller role in the story? Why?

Ron: Hands down, I had the most fun writing Reggie. You meet one version of her early on, but it’s the second version you meet later in the story that really holds a special place in my heart. Without going into spoiler territory, her personality and the part she plays in the plot made her lines of dialogue such a joy to craft.

DJ: What is the world and setting of Deep Dive like?

Ron: Deep Dive takes place in the near future, in an unnamed city, which was very purposeful on my part–as much as I wanted Peter to be something of an everyman that readers could relate to, I also wanted the setting to work in the same fashion. And when I say near future, what I really mean is mostly a single tech-generation ahead of where we are right now. Other than that, Peter’s world is almost exactly like our world. 

DJ: What was your favorite part about writing Deep Dive

Ron: Typing the last six words. I won’t say what they are because it would totally spoil the story, but even though I always knew how I wanted to end the book, I didn’t know how that final scene would actually play out until I reached the last page. With some last lines, I sit staring at my laptop for hours, trying to figure out the right phrasing to convey the emotional note I want to end on. That wasn’t the case with Deep Dive. As soon as I typed the paragraph that precedes the last line (which, technically, are three lines of two words each), I knew exactly what came next.

DJ: What do you think readers will be talking about most once they finish it?

Ron: At the moment, Deep Dive has been out for almost two weeks. Outside of being surprised by some of the twists in the story, the one thing that most readers seem to be commenting on is how fast-paced the book was, which makes me super happy. When I’m first drafting a book, I always write too much, so scenes tend to drag on more than they should. When I go back and revise those scenes, I make a point of streamlining them so that nothing extraneous remains. But there’s always the worry that I didn’t quite do my job, and that some parts will bog down the flow of the story. Thankfully that doesn’t seem to be the case!

DJ: Did you have a particular goal when you began writing Deep Dive? Was there a particular message or meaning you are hoping to get across when readers finish it? Or is there perhaps a certain theme to the story?

Ron: In a lot of ways, Deep Dive is fairly autobiographical. When I first wrote it I was really struggling with the fact that I’d spent so many years trying to get a book deal with nothing to show for my efforts, so Peter’s drive to succeed is very much based on my own desire to succeed, and that the time I’d given up with my family in order to write was worth it. And while Peter’s daughters were certainly inspired by my own daughters, they’re really no different than other kids, so there’s a universality to them that other parents will hopefully read and think, Been there, dealt with that. The same with Peter himself. I hope that he resonates with other people who are struggling to achieve their dreams, regardless of whether they’re game developers or novelists or parents.

DJ: When I read, I love to collect quotes – whether it be because they’re funny, foodie, or have a personal meaning to me. Do you have any favorite quotes from Deep Dive that you can share with us?

Ron: Strangely, the quotes that have stuck with me are scenes rather than individual lines. This scene is one of my favorites. It’s from chapter one, when Peter’s sitting at the kitchen table explaining to Alana, his wife, why he forgot to make Evie, his youngest daughter, her birthday crepes. 
As if our conversation has summoned her, Evie bounds down the stairs, skates sock-footed into the kitchen, and plops into the chair next to me, her ever-present pink blanket tightly in hand. “I’m hungry,” she announces. Alana slides the plate of crepes onto the table. “Good morning, birthday girl. Get something to drink.” Evie pours apple juice into a glass, miraculously not spilling any, and takes a big gulp. “Can I open presents?” “I told you last night,” Alana says, “you have to wait until we have cake.” My youngest child goes imp-grin and puppy-dog eyes. “Can we have cake now?” 
The reason I love it is because it’s such an ordinary kid moment, and exactly the kind of thing my own daughters, who both love to find verbal workarounds, would say.

DJ: Now that Deep Dive is released, what is next for you?

Ron:  At the moment I’m working on a new book that blends VR tech and epic fantasy. It’s still in the unfinished, really rough first draft stage, but I’m slowly closing in on the end. I also just turned in the second round of revisions for my middle grade fantasy debut, Calix and the Fire Demon, which comes out later this year from Owl Hollow Press. It’s about a 12-year-old boy named Calix who accidentally unleashes an ancient Irish fire demon and learns he’s an heir of St. Patrick, tasked with keeping the world safe from mythological and supernatural threats. Once that book’s in the bag I’m going to start writing the sequel. If you can’t tell, I like to keep myself busy!

DJ: Where can readers find out more about you?  

Amazon Author Page:

Instagram: ronwaltersbooks



Twitter: @WritingRon


DJ: Before we go, what is that one thing you’d like readers to know about Deep Dive that we haven’t talked about yet?

Ron: As much as Deep Dive is a sci-fi thriller about a video game developer, I made a point of keeping the sci-fi and gaming elements fairly light. There are certainly references that some people might miss if they’re not into sci-fi or gaming, but Deep Dive is first and foremost a psychological thriller about a man struggling to be a good father.

DJ: Is there anything else you would like to add?

Ron:  The best thing readers can do for writers, outside of buying their books, is to leave a review, whether it’s on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Goodreads, etc. That, and tell your friends and family about the book!

DJ: Thank you so much for taking time out of your day to answer my questions! 

Ron: Thank you for interviewing me!

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***Deep Dive is published by Angry Robot and is available TODAY!!!***

Buy the Book: 

Amazon | Goodreads 

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About the Book:

When your reality shatters, what will you do to put it back together again?

Still reeling from the failure of his last project, videogame developer Peter Banuk is working hard to ensure his next game doesn’t meet the same fate. He desperately needs a win, not only to save his struggling company, but to justify the time he’s spent away from his wife and daughters.

So when Peter’s tech-genius partner offers him the chance to beta-test a new state-of-the-art virtual reality headset, he jumps at it. But something goes wrong during the trial, and Peter wakes to find himself trapped in an eerily familiar world where his children no longer exist.

As the lines between the real and virtual worlds begin to blur, Peter is forced to reckon with what truly matters to him. But can he escape his virtual prison before he loses his family forever?

Ron Walters Angry Robot photoAbout the Author:

I’m a former ice cream scooper, lifeguard, waiter, journalist, college registrar, and stay-at-home dad who now writes science fiction and fantasy for readers of all ages. I also occasionally substitute teach at the local high school just to remind myself I’m not nearly as cool as I think I am. When I’m not writing I like to drink coffee, play video games, drink coffee, play my bass & electric guitars, drink coffee, fry food, and drink coffee. I currently live in Germany with my wife, two daughters, and two rescue dogs.
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One thought on “Author Interview: Ron Walters

  1. @lynnsbooks says:

    I’m hearing such a lot of good things about this book that I’ll have to grab a copy soon.
    Lynn 😀


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