AK DOC Today

News, Events, and Activities in the Alaska Department of Corrections

Chaplain Duncan Meets Former CO and Crime Writer Ron Walden

Photo of Walden and Duncan

Former CO and author Ron Walden, left, sits with Chaplain Jim Duncan

Ron Walden retired from the Department of Corrections in 1990 but he did not stay retired long.  Alyeska Pipeline Security hired Ron and sent him to the North Slope.  While in his downtime he read a few crime novels (Grisham, Koon, Cusler and Patterson) and the light bulb went on.  Ron started writing a novel that included the line, pigs and politics.  The pilot, turned CO III, turned Pipeline Security officer was now exploring writing for the first time.  Success did not come quickly.  Ron and I met several years ago at Soldotna’s Moose Is Loose Bakery.  While nursing a couple of world renowned fritters I asked Ron how he got started:

Q:  When did your writing skills begin to manifest?

Ron:  I never wrote anything but on the job reports.  Writing was never on my radar until I went to work on the slope.  My first book showed it.  It took 5 years to complete.

Q:  What is it about writing that inspires you?
Ron:  I enjoy the research.  I spent several years in North Dakota to write Devils Heart.  I can get lost in researching.

Q.  Cinch Knot was inspired by your work for Alyeska, which one is inspired by your work in Corrections?
Ron:  (Ron laughs) I suspect all of them.  All those years of listening to some really good WCC inmate stories gives you good fodder.  The stories are always fiction but I like to embed true facts.  I want to make it as believable as fiction can be.  Naturally I weave in some of the great eating establishments in South Central Alaska, (i.e. Moose Is Loose, Froso’s, Fat Olives, Duncan House, Gwinnies and a unnamed Mexican chain in Anchorage).

Q:  What advice would you give an unpublished writer?
Ron:  First, be dedicated to writing or your story will lose continuity.  Second, be dedicated to getting it published.  Eleven rejections will take some wind out of your sales.  My break came when I found a hungry publisher.  I became his fourth book and they have published 7 of my books out of their 400 publications.  (Publication Consultants)

Q.  What’s the hardest part of writing?
Ron:  Simply page two.  You have to hook the reader with page one and then keep them hooked from page two through page 300.  That is tough. 

(One of Ron’s retired trooper friends sits down and adds, “Ron’s hardest part is keeping his crayons sharp.”  We all laugh.  Ron attracts a good sense of humor.)

Q:  You killed off a Duncan in Poacher’s Paradise and my dad takes ownership of that character.  Do you have room for any characters we might know of in a future book?
Ron:  (Ron laughs and pauses with a smile.)  You will just have to buy the book. 

Ron’s books can be found at Amazon and local book stores.  This chaplain can endorse all of them as good wholesome adventure/crime novels set in Alaska.  The prison libraries have some copies.