|New Zealand actor Dean O'Gorman as Walsh.|
Dog Days of Summer
“Kingston Rutherford Walsh had gone by ‘Walsh’ since he was old enough to understand how very uncool his mouthful of a name was – at age ten.”
A line from my third Russell book, Keeping Bad Company, before there was a Dartmoor Series, when Walsh was this adorable, scrappy little biker who stole my writer heart in just a few pages. Walsh is, I’m sure, not my readers’ favorite, but he’s mine. I meant him to just be a convincing POV for an introduction to the London mayhem in my Russell Series, but I quickly realized I would have to write him his own book one day. It took us a while, but Walsh finally got his own book, and his own little Tennessee family, and the farm he always wanted.
The Money Man
Again, I’m going back to the theme of a diversified club. Mercy and Michael may be the brawn, but those brains are necessary, and that’s where Walsh comes in. Walsh’s money savvy and business models are responsible for the entire Dartmoor complex. In real life, it’s very common to see outlaw MCs running garages and other bike-related small businesses – where I live, there’s a tiny garage/bike parts shop the local MC maintains – and I wanted to play with that a little. Show what would happen if someone really went to town and made the club totally self-sufficient. This means that, while the Lean Dogs do still operate illegal businesses, the Knoxville chapter could survive on legit deals alone, using illegal dealings as a way to control the underworld, rather than a way to stay afloat. This makes Walsh invaluable to the club, and also makes him a likely candidate for Vice President. Ghost trusts Walsh’s brain more than anyone else’s.
The question I always get from family and friends is: Why don’t you write about horses? And my answer is that I write about horses when it makes sense and isn’t gratuitous. And in this case, I had great fun making Walsh a former jockey, one who was totally willing to tackle the Briar Hall project, and one who understood Emmie’s thought processes. Emmie may not have understood the club, but she and Walsh had a shared understanding of horses that bonded them. I also felt it was important to show Walsh having interests beyond the club. He’s a loyal member, but he wants to have a personal life too, one outside the stress and pressure of outlaw business.
One of Nine
Apparently, it wasn’t enough to write this big, disjointed family of Dogs; I needed a blood family of nine half-siblings to go along with it.
I’ll be totally honest – Devin Green’s Brood is a total guilty pleasure for me as a writer. I just love them all, those tough British kids with the terrible dad, the unlikely but somehow realistic number of them, all their individual personalities, and the way they love each other.
Walsh is the second-oldest, after Phillip, and he takes that seriously. He looks after the little ones as well as he can, being on another continent. His favorite is Shane, which is why he brought him over to live with him and Emmie, knowing he needed a job – poor Shane, we haven’t heard much from him, but hopefully we will soon.
But I do love the petty rivalry he has with Fox. In a family that big, there’s always the siblings who just can’t get along, and in this clan, it’s Walsh and Fox. I love that chance to show that Walsh can sink down to someone’s level and be a pissy shit about things.
The (Not So Big) Elephant in the Room
If I’m being totally honest, I get a kick out of the readers who are unable to find Walsh attractive because he isn’t six-plus-feet tall. It always gives me a chuckle. It also proves my theories about people wanting more of the same when it comes to romance novels – but that’s a different kind of post.
The truth is, Walsh isn’t very tall, no. Because guess what – not everyone is tall. What are the odds you’d find a club full of 6’7” ripped bikers, all of them hot and oiled? Slim. Slim to none. The other part of it is – not all of us find the same traits attractive. It’s true. We all have individual tastes. I’m a small girl, so I don’t focus too much on height. Looks aren’t make or break for me – I’m attracted to personalities, and don’t really have a physical “type.” I don’t always go for guys who look the same. It’s much more individual than that for me. So when I evaluate my fictional guys, I think Walsh is attractive because he’s intelligent, calm, good in a crisis, loyal, and totally secure in his own skin. It makes me a little sad that people only look for one or two physical traits when evaluating attractiveness – the story of my life in the real world.
I think that because Walsh was so seemingly put-together at the beginning of the series, his growth as a man, as a husband, and now as a father, is a slow, ongoing process. Whereas some couples seem to have worked through an entire repertoire of challenges in one book, Walsh and Emmie are still growing as a couple. With each new book, I find ways to tease their relationship along in new ways. It’s fine. Neither Walsh nor Emmie are the type to have a real meltdown; but they keep stumbling over these normal-couple hurdles and going “huh.”
He really is. I hope that everyone else digs him too, but if not, that’s okay. I still love him.