My short bio:
Using meticulous research and life experience to inform my writing, I'm the New York Times bestselling author of Monster, as well as the critically–acclaimed war trilogy that includes Fallen Angels (Vietnam War), Sunrise Over Fallujah, (Iraq War) and Invasion, (WWII). I have received almost every single major award in the field of children’s literature and am considered one of the preeminent writers for young people.

My Proof:

Thank you everyone for all your questions. It is time for me to leave (I will try to find some time to return to this later), but if you would like to check out more of my books, Fallen Angels is available as an ebook for the first time at Zola Books, and Invasion was recently published by Scholastic.

Comments: 219 • Responses: 83  • Date: 

Z8Rex28 karma

Hey Walter, I just wanted to express my thanks for your books, especially Fallen Angels. My best friend showed it to me my junior year of High School, I'm a college Freshman now, as it is his favorite book and it instantly became one of my favorite books as well!

My question is, do you find yourself coming to a dead stop sometimes where you just don't know what to write next? And if so, do you have something you do each time to help yourself find inspiration and ideas?

walterdeanmyers34 karma

Actually, I solve that problem before I start writing. For each book I create thirty scenes making sure that each scene has something physical going on. That way I never suffer from 'writers block.'

NickyDeuce26 karma

I just want you to know I read Fallen Angels in the 7th grade and it has stuck with me for the last 20 years. Thank you wholeheartedly.

walterdeanmyers38 karma

So, now you know exactly why I wrote the book. Teenagers who read the book in the seventh grade eventually become the decision makers who send or don't send soldiers out to war. They begin to understand the demands of combat and the stresses which are involved. Hopefully the introduction provided by Fallen Angels will help young people as yourself to make wise decisions. Thanks for your comment.

Huplescat2212 karma

I did some work for a guy who sold lumber in Vietnam just a few years ago. He visited The War Remnants Museum in Ho Chi Min City and saw a different side of the war… one that’s not acknowledged in the US. He also gave me a copy of The Tunnels of Chu Chi. Were either of these part of your research for Fallen Angels?

walterdeanmyers22 karma

The Tunnels of Chu Chi was useful. Actually, I got the dimension s of the tunnels and built a box and put my son (Christopher) in it. It gave him a different perspective of what went on. Good question.

Viceroy_Maynaze_III11 karma

Do you think there are instances where literary censorship is warranted? If so, why are your books exempt?

How does it feel to have something you've worked hard on banned?

walterdeanmyers24 karma

I don't think that censorship is ever warranted but I do believe that common sense should prevail. Books designed for young people are not designed for ALL young people. I've seen books I've written for teenagers being sent to second graders. That is just plain sloppy! Fallen Angels is one of the most banned books in America, primarily because of the language, I'm told. But I think people are leery of realism.

debreese8 karma

Salon has an article up right now that says teachers are using THE HELP to teach about Civil Rights. WHY?! Your books are what they ought to be using!

walterdeanmyers7 karma

Thank you, I appreciate the comment.

Cedisdead7 karma

You were writing YA/Children's books before it was the "cool" thing to do. What do you think of the sudden rise in popularity of YA books? How has it affected you?

walterdeanmyers12 karma

For one thing it's given me a great life. I dropped out of high school and joined the army so I didn't have a lot of skills as a young person. I think the current crop of young adult books reflect both the market place and the skills of writers such as John Green and Suzanne Collins.

KGallooch7 karma

In your Zola interview you say that when the book was published you had a listed number that veterans throughout the country used to call you on to share their stories. What was that experience like - all of a sudden having so many people wanting to talk to you and share their tales? Did you continue speaking to any of them after their initial phone call?

walterdeanmyers9 karma

I still get vets talking to me (I've unlisted my phone) but people contact me constantly because they want their stories told.

burke977 karma

How hard was it for you to get your first books published?

walterdeanmyers9 karma

Not that difficult. I wrote for magazines for years before that as well as for newspapers-- I won a contest and that attracted a publisher. By that time I had already accumulated over a thousand rejection slips from the magazine field.

BrosephineBaker7 karma

As a librarian, I would just like to thank you for your books. I read them as a teen and I like recommending them. Most teen and Young Adult books are more geared to young white women, and it good to have books for other audiences.

My questions are what writers inspire you and what was the last book you read?

walterdeanmyers8 karma

The writers that have inspired me the most were Baldwin, Achebe, and Juan Ramon Jiminez. I read Jiminez again and again (Platero and I) because I love his style. My most recent book is a rereading of The Courage to Be by Tillich whose message I want to bring somehow to inner city kids.

Amerphose7 karma

Do you like muffins?

walterdeanmyers9 karma

I love muffins!

SlowpokesBro6 karma

Walter, I remember reading Fallen Angels in 8th grade (it was on a list of books you couldn't reading in 7th grade and needed parent permission in 8th).

I don't read too many books for fun anymore, but Fallen Angels was at the end of the point in life where I actually had time to read for fun. Thanks a lot!

walterdeanmyers9 karma

You should make an effort to read for enjoyment. You don't have to make it a chore. I try to read twenty pages a day before I get out of bed. That adds up over the weeks and keeps me at least literate. My wife works her way through lists of books and finishes everything she starts. No way that I do, and you don't have to either. But a few pages a day will add to your life.

Run_Baby_run6 karma

In high school, I performed "Love That Dog" by Sharon Creech for our speech league and it got me all the way to State. The book was anchored by a little boy's interpretation of the first stanza of your "Love That Boy". A lot of people hated having to compete against me, not because I always won, but because I made them cry.

Basically, thanks for helping with that!

walterdeanmyers3 karma

I did Love That Dog as reader's theater with Sharon Creech, Avi, and Sarah Weeks. I played myself, it was great fun. Sharon took the poem I wrote 'Love That Boy' and did something wonderful with it in her book. She's a fine, fine lady and a great writer.

mulletplace5 karma

You write about basketball in “Game” and elsewhere. Has basketball been a part of your own life? Can I ask if you have a favorite NBA team? How about a college team?

walterdeanmyers6 karma

I've always loved basketball. I played as a kid, and after the Army on a team called the Jolly Brown Giants. I loved that team because I was the second smallest man on the team and got to play shooting guard. I still like the Knicks and I'm following some local Jersey teams. My grandson plays for one of the HarlemGlobetrotter travel teams for half the year and for a team in Prague for the other half. My Nephew also plays for a European team. So, stay in touch with the game.

shannondcoffey5 karma

What books do you like to read?

walterdeanmyers7 karma

Currently I'm reading Stephen King's book on writing, a Civil War history, and Charles Dickens' american Notes.

zezikk4 karma

I'm now a sophomore in college but read Fallen Angles in my freshman year of high school. A scene that will always stick with me is the that of the child if I remember correctly being used as a bomb. I reread that page several times because it was so horrible to me. What inspired you to include this specific scenario? What do you think about it?

walterdeanmyers10 karma

This was a difficult scene to write. What it entails is the brutality of war in its most elemental form. We sacrifice our humanity in ways that many people can never recover. Readers often ask me wh a loved one refuses to discuss their war experiences. It's because what is revealed about ourselves is often better forgotten. This involves all wars. I felt so badly for the baby involved, but I also felt terrible for the woman who used the child in that manner. Thanks for your comment.

debreese4 karma

Other than Sherman Alexie or Joseph Bruchac, do you read any particular Native authors?

walterdeanmyers8 karma

LOUISE ERDRICH is a good friend of mine, and a fine lady. I also read some Native authors in journals my son brings home.

hello_sweetie_4 karma

You grew up in Harlem in the 40's and 50's. What was that like? How much of your writing is based on your childhood?

walterdeanmyers8 karma

Most of my books have some connection with growing up poor and black and the attendant frustrations that presented. When I was young segregation held us back, now it's more about the general lack of opportunity. I spoke to James Baldwin who lived in Harlem some half mile from me and told him how important his depicting of Harlem were to me. He felt that the lack of seeing our lives in books when we were young was very difficult and I agreed.

debreese4 karma

You're one of the first writers that the Council on Interracial Books for Children brought on board back in the 60s, right? That was such an important organization. Any chance you have copies of correspondence you had with them?

walterdeanmyers3 karma

I don't know if I have any of their correspondence but I well might. I know I have at least one of the bulletins. Tom Feelings and I were on their board for a while back in the day.

ImNotTwoFace3 karma

I just wanted to say Fallen Angels gave me chills. That book was amazing. My literature teacher in high school assigned everyone else group projects but let me work alone because no one else wanted to read that book. I did all the group work on my own, because I was that excited to read that book. I just wanted to say thank you for sharing that with all of us.

walterdeanmyers1 karma

Thanks for your comments.

petworth3 karma


walterdeanmyers3 karma

I got in trouble for reading comics under my desk! We're both readers and congratulations to you for that!

FletcherBoBetcher3 karma

Hi, I would just like to say thank you so much, you are probably one of the biggest influences on me and my writing. Which is probably ironic because a lot of my favorite books works about young black boys growing up in negro neighborhoods, I'm a white middle kid from Iowa, but the way that Monster and Shooter were written really changed my whole idea of how books could be written. So thank you very much from an aspiring writer.

Also, one thing that will forever stick out in my head is the way that the protagonist in Fallen Angels chose that he didn't want a pistol, because he didn't want to get that close, growing up around hard ass hicks who just wanted to "kill some rag heads" made that part mean even more to me.

Thanks again.

walterdeanmyers4 karma

One day after bayonet practice a friend of mine told the training officer that when he reached Nam the first thing he was going to do was to throw away his bayonet. The training officer asked why and my friend said that if he couldn't shoot the enemy from ten feet away he would negotiate a peace treaty!

getyourcellon3 karma

Hello, I don't really have a question but just wanted to say I loved "Fallen Angels" I had to read it sophomore year of high school and man, it was one of the first books that reached inside me and yanked hard. There were so many times times when I just had to sit back and stop reading and just think about what had just happened. The ending was most powerful for me -- SPOILERS -- when Richie and Peewee are standing waiting to be let onto the plane and they see the new soldiers arriving. The way you mirrored the first chapter when Richie gets off the plane and looks at the old soldiers going home - brilliant. The word "perspective" totally changed for me. Loved loved loved this book.

walterdeanmyers1 karma

Thanks, I appreciate your comments.

BareJew3 karma

Hi Walter,

I'm a YA author in the process of seeing my first book published, and I just want to let you know that you have been one of, if not the biggest inspirations to me, from long before I began to write professionally. I have run through a half dozen copies of Fallen Angels, and still have a copy that I stole from my school library in the eighth grade. I don't have a question, I just want to thank you for inspiring me to write and be curious about the world.

walterdeanmyers2 karma

Good luck with your book. If you work hard and be true to yourself you'll be more successful than you can imagine.

Killblue3 karma

Hi Walter! I'm a 9th grade ELA teacher in Philadelphia. I've taught Bad Boy and Glory Field before, but this year I started my year off with just Bad Boy. My ninth graders were very inspired by the book. Thanks for creating such an intimate memoir. My kids were really able to identify with a lot of what you went through as a teenager. We had tons of rich discussions about what effects race and racism have had on their lives. No questions from me - just wanted to pass along my gratitude and say that you will be a mainstay of my classroom for years to come.

walterdeanmyers2 karma

Thanks, I'll be in Philadelphia in April.

Theodory223 karma

Hi Walter, I just recently learned of your work and wondered which of your books you'd read first if you were in my shoes? Quite a few choices here!

walterdeanmyers6 karma

I've published over a hundred books (110, I think) but the books don't change that much, the ideas just mature. So I would go with a recent book or a special interest book. I like my war novels a lot, and any of the other new stuff. Any ideas of what you would like to see me write????

Rozzeh3 karma

Were the life experiences you gathered for Fallen Angels your own or gathered completely from other veterens?

How emotional did you find gathering these stories?

walterdeanmyers6 karma

It was a combination. I mostly trained South Vietnamese officers when I was in so I used my experiences there and intervewed a heap of dudes.

mulletplace3 karma

The realism of Fallen Angels is so powerful. How did you make the war experience feel so real?

walterdeanmyers3 karma

The basic idea is capturing the fear and human reaction. The terrain wa easy because I've spent time in that part of the world. Thanks for your comment.

Midas_Touch13 karma

Your definitely my favorite writer any new projects your working on? by the way monster from you is my favorite read it like 100x!

walterdeanmyers7 karma

Always a new project! I'm just beginning a self help book for teenagers who are discouraged and want to give up.

ramahawk3 karma

I really loved some of your books when I was younger, especially Monster, and I'm really looking forward to checking out Invasion. (And I may buy the ebook of Fallen Angels, which I read more than 10 years ago!) Can you talk about what it's like to be writing for younger people after doing it for a while? Has the process changed at all? Do you feel a need to keep the language contemporary, especially dialogue? You keep writing great books year after year; I would love to hear how you keep it fresh.

walterdeanmyers3 karma

So, on Thanksgiving I worked on a story about a teenager who was fairly discouraged with his life. I used the conversations I hear on buses and the television, but I don't work on that very much. Mostly I try to stay in tune with how young people are feeling. If I can hook into that, capture those feelings and fears, then I'm usually okay. Also, I like making up my own 'today's' expressions. My editors don't let me go too far astray.

tictac12113 karma

Hi Walter,

Thanks so much for doing this. I loved Monster and Fallen Angels. Can you tell me a bit about your general writing process and timeline? I'm always curious about the research and drafting that goes into major projects like your books.

walterdeanmyers6 karma

I really want to make sure I think my books through before I begin writing, so I have a fixed process. I do a small outline of the book, then I do character studies, then I go through photographs and images to find pictures of my characters. My wife then puts the pictures on poster board and its mounted on the wall behind my computer. Then I create 30 scenes which take the book from start to finish, making sure that each scene has sufficient action to keep me going from day to day. This works for me because I've thought through the characters, the plotting, and the pace of the piece. I also enjoy what I do so much I'm 9=(ALMOST) embarrassed to make money for it.

bookbabe852 karma

Hi Walter,

I run a junior high school book club through the Omaha Public Library (I'll actually be helping run the event when you are in Omaha next Tuesday!). I just wanted to thank you so much for all of your works. My book club kids have absolutely devoured everything I've thrown at them and you've inspired them to not just read more but find other ways to express themselves through writing and art. It's been a truly wonderful experience watching them love your books and I'm so excited to meet you in person!

walterdeanmyers1 karma

I look forward to seeing you in Omaha.

FlyingFuckasaur2 karma

I loved Fallen Angels and read it not even a year ago for an English paper.

When was it banned?

walterdeanmyers3 karma

The book was published in 1988 and has been banned somewhere every since!

eelin882 karma

Hi Walter, I was wondering in your novel "Monster," how did you obtain the personalities of all the attorneys? (Petrocelli, O'Brien, and Briggs) Were you ever inside a courtroom for fun just to see what attorneys were like?

walterdeanmyers3 karma

Hi, good question. I spent weeks inside court rooms watching trials. A heartbreaking aspect of this was to see young defendants without family or friends to support them. Petrocelli was actually fashioned after a NYC Assistant District Attorney who recommended which trials I should attend. O'Brien is a friend of my wife's from St. Joseph's College in Brooklyn. Briggs was a lawyer I watched in court.

armstronga2 karma

I teach 7th grade and can promise you that my copy of Fallen Angels always has a waiting list of future readers and re-readers.

I just wanted to say that Love That Dog and Hate That Cat are two of mg favorite books of all time. I read them to the kids every year after we read all of the poems mentioned. Thank you for everything you do, sir.

walterdeanmyers1 karma

Sharon Creech is absolutely amazing. She makes the author visits school experience real. Love That Sharon!

humanoids-2 karma

Hello Walter! Just wanted to say thanks for your work. Fallen Angels remains one of my most favorite books ever. I still remember checking it out in my middle school library and become instantly drawn into it. After finishing it, I always looked for books with your name. I am glad I got to experience your series of work.

walterdeanmyers2 karma

Thanks. I hope I don't disappoint you.

t0st02 karma

I think I was in 8th grade when I had a teacher recommend Fallen Angels to me. I loved it so much I recommended it to most of my friends. Even years later, I still recommend it to people. One of my favorite books of all time. Thank you Walt!

walterdeanmyers2 karma

And thank you.

AGoodMan3242 karma

Top five movies??

walterdeanmyers2 karma

Okay, so this is going to sound so hokey- I love any good film but I've watched Top Gun, Tora Tora Tora, Das Boot, Platoon, Search For Red October over and over again.

StacksOfBudahhh2 karma

Hi Mr. Myers! I have been such a huge fan of yours since reading Fallen Angels, as it turned me on to reading again in high school (got it over summer break). My question would be: When did you start writing, and where do you draw your motivation from? What makes writing so enjoyable for you?

walterdeanmyers2 karma

I began writing in grade school. Nothing wonderful, just a few poems and an occasional story. But the idea of creating stories and characters just seemed to fit the way I thought. I spend so much time daydreaming it's almost peculiar. At least I don't hear about other people daydreaming this much. I enjoy it so much, too. I'm usually up at five in the morning working on something!

Bumpyknuckles2 karma

Thanks so much for writing Fallen Angels. It is a great novel, and was, I believe what led me to read other war novels such as The Things they Carried and All Quiet on the Western Front. I really appreciate your work.

walterdeanmyers2 karma

Interesting books spark our interest in reading other interesting books. They also spark my interest in writing other books.

mrhispanicturtle2 karma

Hey Walter I just wanted to say thanks for all the great books you have written over the years. Your books were so great to read, I absolutely loved monster, shooter, 145th street stories, slam, and many others. I will continue to pass on your books to anyone else i can, thanks once again!

walterdeanmyers2 karma

I appreciate it. Most of my books succeed by people passing them on to others.

Upthepunx6662 karma

I would just like to thank you for writing fallen angels. I read it in 7th grade and absolutely loved it.

walterdeanmyers2 karma

Thanks. Seventh graders who have read the book are readers, thinks, and eventually become decision makers!

metastasis_d2 karma

What do you mean by "banned?"

walterdeanmyers4 karma

Very often books are taken off library shelves, or off recommended reading lists. They are not 'banned' in the Nazi sense, but made unavailable usually because someone has objected to something in a book.

t_ran_asuarus_rex2 karma

loved your novel "fast sam, cool clyde and stuff" i was in 6th grade when i read it and it is my go to present for any young family member.

walterdeanmyers2 karma

Thanks, that was my first book for teens and included the names of all my friends and neighbors. As I wrote that book I fell in love with writing for teens.

Jabber555552 karma

Hey Mr. Myers, I want to start off by telling you how great of an author you are. I have read so many of your books I lose count. I read Fallen Angels in 7th grade and it is still, by far, my favorite book.

On a separate note, what's your favorite type of pie?

walterdeanmyers2 karma

It's a toss up between cherry and coconut custard.

ZimbabweJack2 karma

How does a book like Fallen Angels get banned? I mean I know it's graphic but there is the whole 1st amendment. I'm just curious as to how they can circumvent that.

Anyway, I'm glad I bought a copy a while ago. Easily my favorite book. I don't even know how many times I've read it and it never gets old. Thank you.

walterdeanmyers1 karma

When they talk about a book being banned they mean that it is taken off summer reading lists, removed from school libraries, or taken out of the curricula. Technically they are still within the boundaries of the 1st Amendment.

Likesyouasafriend2 karma

Hello! I just wanted to let you know that your book, 145th Street, helped tons of my students. My first two years teaching I had the alternative class for the "bad kids," most of whom had never completed a book before. I used your book to get them into reading. Some of the toughest kids I'd ever seen would not only read your stories, but then draw pictures of them so that it could make it on what we called the awesome wall.

145th Street helped me convince kids that reading books isn't something to be ashamed of, that there are books out there that reflect what they go through.

walterdeanmyers1 karma

Thanks for your comments.

Dayanx2 karma

The hell?! Fallen Angels was required reading when I was in Jr High.

Thats low. Mr Myers, love your books. Pee Wee probably had more of an affect on me during my school years than any other influence .

walterdeanmyers2 karma

Thanks, the book is banned in some areas and required reading in others. Go figure!

jackylegs992 karma

Hey Walter, I was introduced to you by my middle school English teacher, and I have read a large number of your books. My personal favorites are Fallen Angels and Handbook for Boys. I was wondering if you found inspiration for Handbook for Boys from your personal youth or not.

walterdeanmyers1 karma

I do a lot of work in Juvenile Detention Centers. Some of the questions I get there inspired Handbook for Boys.

BFoster92 karma

Mr. Myers, if you ever revisit this I want you to know that you've given me inspiration to go into the military-- not because you glorified it but because you told it like it was. Thank you so much.

walterdeanmyers1 karma

Thanks, and good luck in the Military.

AwesomePretzel2 karma

Hey, Walter! I read your book Fallen Angels in 7th grade, and have read it nearly once or twice a year since then. What was your main influence in the creating the characters in the story?

walterdeanmyers1 karma

The characters in Fallen Angels were guys I knew in the Army. They were real to me, and I loved them, so it was easy to write about them.

goots2 karma

Man, I must have read Fallen Angels myself in 8th grade. I picked it out of the library because the cover looked cooler than the books I was supposed to read for the summer reading list. Red text, framed picture. Why on earth would it be banned?

Later on I became a captain in the US Army, leading a platoon of Soldiers in Iraq. That book, along with many other things, guided my decision to join.

walterdeanmyers3 karma

One of the things I wanted to point out with this book was the tremendous sacrifice that soldiers make in serving in the Armed Forces. My son, a trauma counselor in the Gulf War and, later, a chaplain, was telling me stories about the wounds/traumas suffered in Iraq. It's these young men and women (younger than when I was in the Army) that allow the rest of us to ignore what's going on the rest of the world.

account_1172 karma

Hey Mr Myers,

I read both Sunrise Over Fallujah and Fallen Angels. Both were very, very good, probably the best I had read in a while. Sunrise Over Fallujah was especially good. I read it in seventh grade and actually read through it, which i don’t often do unless i love it. And it was near perfect. It was intense but also a story. You’re a great author and i loved your books.

Where would you say you’re biggest inspiration comes from?

walterdeanmyers2 karma

Most likely from my interest in people generally, and from my constant making up stories in my head. It seems to me that I'm suited to be a writer because of my imagination. I loved playing sports growing up but you can't hit an imaginary baseball. Imagining everything you do is a little strange, I think, but sometimes I imagine that I'm doing something even as I do it. That make any sense to you?

Stevictory2 karma

Back in 7th grade I was supposed to do a book report on a book of my choice. I ended up going to the book store that weekend and it was during this trip in which I found you. I ended up finding Fallen Angles on a book rack and since then it has become one of my favorite books. Reading your literature actually made me want to read more and I ended up reading Sunrise Over Fallujah, Dopesick, Lockdown, and many more of your books. Thank you for making me want to read more and thanks for doing this AMA

walterdeanmyers3 karma

You're right in thinking that a good book leads you to other good books. The books I've read in my life have given me a dimension I never would have had without them

FeministBarbie2 karma

I know you likely will get dozens of these, but thank you so much for Fallen Angels. It was one of my favorite books growing up. I have no idea how I stumbled upon it, as an extremely girly-girl, but it was one of the only books I've made sure to take with me to college every year. I tutor a lot of high school and middle school students and I have always recommended it! Thank you so much for such a great, enlightening book that always puts my life in perspective when I am feeling discouraged!!

walterdeanmyers2 karma

Learning about wars has the power, I believe, to stop wars. During the Vietnam War we saw the wounded being evacuated from the front lines by helicopter. That turned a lot of people away from that conflict and made them question the wisdom of their being in Southeast Asia. You might have noticed that in our Middle Eastern conflicts we don't see pictures of wounded soldiers.

Alishatayy2 karma

I just wanted to say, out of all the books I was forced to read during high school, yours (Fallen Angels) was absolutely amazing. My English teacher was always trying to push the limits to give us real world perspective and I'm glad he chose this book. As a teenage girl I probably would have never chosen a book about Vietnam, but this book opened my eyes to so much about what really goes on during war. How do you feel about having one of the most banned books, yet the same book being taught to a freshman class? Also, did you have any idea that Fallen Angels would become so famous and infamous at the same time?

walterdeanmyers3 karma

When my brother was killed in Vietnam I tried to deal with it in a number of ways. There was grief, of course, but there was also a sense of guilt because I had entered the Army first and he so admired my bravado. I tried writing short stories about his death, then wrote Fallen Angels. I had no idea the book would gain the place it has.

redeadmask2 karma

Hello Mr. Myers. I don't have a question, but I just want to say thanks for writing Fallen Angels! My grandfather and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. The way you are able to capture the horrors of war is amazing. I can't imagine being a young man during such a scary time, not knowing if a land mine is going to end my life before I can even react.

Also, I'm from Martinsburg too!

walterdeanmyers1 karma

What I would really like to do is to write an entire book that takes place in and around Martinsburg. After slavery part of my family moved to Martinsburg and the other part to Harper's Ferry. I could probably do a book using both places.

supergreekman1232 karma

Just wanted to say that Fallen Angels is my favorite book since middle school and I admire you and your work.

walterdeanmyers1 karma

Thanks for your comments.

SaviourMach2 karma

Serious question without any negative connotations intended:

You have been author to an unusually high amount of books. How do you go about guarenteeing quality if you spend that (relatively) little amount of time on individual books?

walterdeanmyers3 karma

Excellent question, really. Many of my books are shorter picture books. But I think the answer to your question lies in my obsession with writing. Before I started writing books I wrote hundreds of magazine pieces. I don't hurry my writing, but I religious about working. I also think that my prewriting process, which s quite nvolved, shortens the writing process considerably.

pennypotter2 karma

I know this probably won't be seen by Walter Dean Myers, but I studied Harlem in my children's literature class this semester. I actually was researching you for my final next week, went to your website, and found the link to this AMA. What a cool coincidence.

Anyways, I just wanted to say how much I loved Harlem. As a future teacher I am very interested in respectfully, responsibly written texts coming from authors within a specific culture or area. Thanks for the wonderful writing! :)

walterdeanmyers3 karma

When I was growing up in Harlem it was a wonderful community, an exciting mix of economic and social classes with a rch cultural history. I don't know if that kind of community can ever develop again. James Baldwin and Langston Hughes lived within a mile of where I lived on Morningside Avenue. That community, and that time, are still in my heart. Thanks for your post. walter

iainteven_mad1 karma

I read your book Fallen Angels and it is probably one of my favorites. Where is it banned? What reasons exactly? I have to say I'm somewhay enraged at what ever institution did this. I read it in middle school and multilple times since then and see no reason for that...

walterdeanmyers2 karma

When I first entered the Army I hadn't killed anyone and didn't think that I would like to do so. It was the Army's job to turn me into someone who would kill people because they are labeled 'enemy.' Part of the process was to strip me of my innocence as a civilian and part of that process was to teach me how to curse. Soldiers curse almost all of the time because they need to be different people from the high schoolers they recently were. But teachers, school administrators, and some parents see the cursing as 'bad' and want the book banned. They also don't like the labels soldiers use to identify each other. Ask anfy veteran what the enemy was being called.

UncomfortablePoop1 karma

Hello Mr.Myers! Huge fan of Fallen Angels. My question is, where did you information and experiences to write it? It seems so real when reading it

walterdeanmyers3 karma

A combination of my military experience, the guys I served with, and many, many interviews. Also, I real a lot of the After Action reports which give a clearer picture of firefights than the newspapers or most books do.

Mount_Bugatti1 karma

Walter, I had never heard of you before accidentally ordering Fallen Angels (tried to order the Horus Heresy book Fallen Angels but I was too drunk). (Actually I also have Larry Niven's Fallen Angels) You have inspired me to start reading it when I get home from work tonight

walterdeanmyers2 karma

I hope you like it. How was the Nivens book?

tbrown13091 karma

Just so you know your book Fallen Angels really shaped my perspective of war and actually made me eventually enlist in the marines. I love your writing!

walterdeanmyers3 karma

Interesting. Some people have read Fallen Angels and joined the military, others have read the book and changed their minds. My older son was a trauma counselor in the Air force.

wanttobeacop1 karma

Those are children's books? Wow, those are some deep topics for children's books. Also, can you go into more detail as to why "Fallen Angels" was banned?

walterdeanmyers1 karma

You're using the term 'children's books' but Fallen Angels is more properly considered a Young Adult book. It is also widely read among adults. The book was banned in many places because the soldiers in the book use the kind of language that soldiers in the field use.

bullydefender1 karma

Idk if you'll see this bit I loved fallen angels I had to read it for my sophomore English class in 2006 very good book.

walterdeanmyers3 karma

What I hope for when I write a book is that someone will say that it was a good book. I'm not looking for anything more than that. When I die you can stick that on my tombstone (if I have one) -he wrote a good book or two.

JesusCripe1 karma

Woah, when did Fallen Angels get banned? I remember that I read it in basic training since reading was one of the few things we were allowed to do! It was phenomenal!

Edit for spelling.

walterdeanmyers1 karma

It's been banned in various places, but not universally. So certain schools couldn't recommend it to their students, and some libraries took it off the shelves. But, thanks to a group of interested readers, the book is still going strong.

el_metro1 karma

Thank you for doing this, you were one of my favorite writers during my high school years, and Monster remains one of my favorite books.

What inspired you to write Monsters in that screenplay format?

walterdeanmyers3 karma

I was taping interviews in Greenhaven, a maximum security prison in upstate New York, when I noticed that the inmate I was talking to related his personal experiences in the first person, and anything related to his horrific crime in the third person. Okay, so really my wife noticed it first. Anyway, I decided to have Steve talk about his personal life in the first person and anything that edged on the crime in screenplay format. I don't think I was particularly successful at this because there were clues to his frame of mind (guilty /not gulty0 in the formatting that most people didn't notice.

Oradea1 karma


walterdeanmyers1 karma

I've just finished INVASION a book about the Second World War. I think the public is just beginning to understand the toll war takes on American families.

Sleepytiger821 karma

Hi! Just wanted to say thanks. I read your Book Fallen Angels in about the 6th grade (appx 1992) and have kept a copy of it on my bookshelf ever since. My uncle was in Vietnam and I think works like yours honor the sacrifice and dedication those men and women gave to their country. I hope many more folks get an opportunity to read your books!

And since this is an ask me anything.... How does it feel to be the author of a banned book on the basis of being too realistic? As a purely for fun writer myself I can image it being a mixed blessing.

Edited: bad spelling, very bad spelling....

walterdeanmyers2 karma

Good luck with your writing. I started off as a 'purely for fun' writer, too. But even things that you write for fun can be meaningful and insightful. You deal with the world through your stories, and eventually some people won't like how you deal with it. That's their problem.

Gravy-Leg__1 karma

Your proof is a little weak. Can you provide something so we know it's you?

spicass1 karma

Your books are amazing, I read fallen angels in just two days! Where did you get the inspiration for the characters in the book ?

walterdeanmyers1 karma

Most of the characters were guys I met in the Army. It was easier for me to imagine them in uniform as I wrote the book.

acetea1 karma

Thanks for Fallen Angels!!! It was favorite book in middle school! No questions just saying thank you! Peewee was great! And the part where the soldier cut himself to do the blood brothers thing was great!

walterdeanmyers1 karma

Thanks for your comments.

franciscolee971 karma

Were any of the characters in Fallen Angels or Sunrise Over Fallujah inspired by people during your military service?

walterdeanmyers1 karma

All of the characters in Fallen Angels were taken from guys I knew in the Army. The characters in Sunrise were guys and one gal that I met later.

rockthebear1 karma

I don't see anybody on here talking about the Mouse Rap though.

walterdeanmyers3 karma

I enjoyed writing The Mouse Rap. It's disappointing to me when a book I like a lot doesn't get much attention. But I can't complain because I have actually made a living writing, which is more than most people have had the opportunity to do.

Juliov8861 karma

FALLEN ANGELS is one of my favorite books of all time! What was your first book or short story about?

walterdeanmyers4 karma

My first published short story was about a high school dropout who had been a star player. He wonders how his life could have been if he had paid more time to his academics and less to his highly praised b-ball skills

BurnOne911 karma

Hey Walter, I met you once at a graffiti art show I did at the Brooklyn academy of music many years ago. I still have my autographed copy of monster that you gave me. You also mentioned you had a book in the works with a character named burn, same as what you signed my book, is that out yet? Thanks for doing what you do, your books were real eye opening to a young man of color growing up.

walterdeanmyers1 karma

Are you still doing graffiti art? My son just returned from Kenya where he filmed some amazing graffiti art. I don't remember the book (I've published 110 books) but I think the character was in 145th Street Stories.

midgetyaz1 karma

I love Jazz. When I found out I was pregnant, it was the first book I bought. Thanks!

walterdeanmyers2 karma

Thanks, it was great working with my son Chris, who did the illustrations.

HeadlessDireWolf1 karma

I read Fallen Angels as kid in the 7th grade. As I went through it the first time(I've read it countless) I realized it was different from any other action genre movie or video game I had ever experienced. It really hooked me in. Eight years later when I deployed to Afgahnistan I realised how close it is to the real thing. I'm not sure if you ever served in the military but is and will always be one of my favorite books.

walterdeanmyers2 karma

I served at the beginning of the Vietnam conflict. My son was in Iraq, my brother died in Nam, my father was in WWII, it goes on and on, and it doesn't get better, does it?

brandonAwinston1 karma

Hello Walter! We've been reading some of your books in my English class, mainly your memoir Bad Boy and The Treasure of Lemond Brown. If you would, I think it would be awesome for you to answer some questions for my class! If you could, please get back to me. My teacher and classmates would love this! I'm in the 8th grade, and my class is at 1 PM EST.

walterdeanmyers1 karma

I have a lunch today, but if you write to my publisher you can send in your questions. I know this isn't ideal, but it's the best I can do right now.

Unconfidence1 karma

As someone who has written about the Vietnam War, have you read, and if so what is your opinion of, Stanley Karnow's depiction of it?

walterdeanmyers1 karma

War doesn't translate well into movies. People are transformed in war, becoming creatures they are not ready to deal with when the wars are over. So in films we see the outside stories, which might be exciting, but miss much of the interior struggle.

amagra111 karma

Thanks for doing this! If you ever come back, here's my question: I write poetry. Do you have any idea how I can go about getting a book / chapbook published, without submitting to journal after journal and gradually becoming famous, as is the usual route?



walterdeanmyers1 karma

No, I don't. What I would probably do, if I were a young writer today, is to write to my favorite poets and ask if they would read my work. If they did read my work they might suggest it to their publishers or they might give me hints to improve my work.

Hendrixstar1 karma

I read Fallen Angels in 5th grade, I didn't fully understand the magnitude of your story and reread now in my sophomore year. I am having trouble getting my hands on your book Sunset over Falujah, but I'm on the lookout. I wanted to ask you on your views of how we could fix problems like violence and gangs at places depicted in Hoops and Monster. Thanks for your writing!

walterdeanmyers2 karma

My feeling is that so many of the young people in the inner cities feel completely out of our society. They don't see a need to comply with rules that won't take them anywhere. The answer is to make a national effort to find a place for everyone. America could completely rebuild its infrastructure less expensively than the present incarceration and war-on-drugs allows.