Wednesday, August 14, 2013

I, Walter by Mike Hartner: Character Interview and Excerpt


My name is Walter Crofter, and I’ve come to answer some.. 

“BUTT OUT you goody-two-shoes,” says Gerald Crofter, as he pushes his brother out the door and slams it shut. 

He turns to the interviewer, and asks: “Now, what is it you wanted to know?” 

Laurie: “What is your name?” 

“Gerald Crofter.  I’m Walter’s brother.” 

L: “Do you really hate him that much?” 

G: “Hate? Hmm.... Well, to hate someone, you first have to love them.  Since Walter is my brother, I guess that I can both love him and hate him at the same time.  So, yes.   I hate him, and have for many years.  But, it started out as jealousy.” 

L: “Jealousy?” 

G: “Aye.  You see, my brother and I both left home when we were young.  I left, lived on the streets for a few years, begged, and scraped, and barely eked out a living.  Then some men came and housed me and fed me, and gave me money.  It was only AFTER I got used to their lifestyle that I became involved in it. “

L: “SO?”

G: “Well, Walter left home, five years later.  Many reports I kept on him, and my own eyes showed that he nary had to worry about food or shelter.  He was always working, and always trying to help others.”

L: “And then?”

G: “And then he lucks into Bart and later Maria, and Juan.  He has so many horseshoes jammed up his backside it’s uncomfortable for him to sit down properly,”

L: “So you’re jealous?”

G: “Yup.  Wouldn’t you be?  Everything he did turned out good.  And he kept defeating me, too.”

L: “Defeating you?”

G: “Well, who do you think would throw pirate ships at him?  It was a good diversion.  If he wins, a small amount of pride in seeing him succeed.  If he loses, a large amount of pride in besting him.”

L: “So why keep it up?”

G: “Because he kept getting better and better at it. And every time, he gave credit to others that they didn’t deserve.  The spoils of his adventure were split evenly among all of the crew.  Who does that? Especially in these days?”

L: “Apparently, your brother.”

Gerald growled, “BAH! That goody.  Even taking his child couldn’t break him”

L: “Why would you kidnap your nephew?”

G: “Something to do. Seeking revenge on my brother.  Trying, in some ways, to teach him real life.  And, of course, to repay a debt to someone else.   ... Shhh!  Do you hear that?”

L: “What?”

Gerald walks around the room, obviously listening for something.  His ears touch the walls, and in a few places the doors: The closet, my kitchen door, and finally, the front door.  In a rage, he opens the door, and sees his brother and three of my neighbors in a conversation.  He runs out the door, screaming “AUUGHH!”


Mike Hartner is a father, son, author, patriot, geek (ret), and husband. 

His love of all things genealogical led him to writing, and writing has now led him to fiction and a large epic saga.  

He lives in Vancouver, BC with his wife and son. 

His latest book is the historical romance, I, Walter. 

Visit his website at


Connect & Socialize with Mike!



This is the life story of Walter Crofter, an English commoner who ran from home at the age of 11.  After two years living on the street, he ended up on a Merchant Mariners boat in the service of the Crown.  

On his first voyage, he rescued a girl from pirates.  A very important girl, who stole his heart before she was returned to her home.  

This is the story of his life.  What adventures he had at sea; what took him off the waters, and what happened to him as he lived his life and stayed true to his character. 

Purchase your copy at AMAZON.


Title: I, Walter
Author: Mike Hartner
Publisher: Eternity 4 Popsicle Publishing
Pages: 224
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0973356154
ISBN-13: 978-0973356151


In my earliest days, I remember my father, Geoff, being a bit forceful with other people.  I also recall my brother Gerald, nearly five years my senior, and myself being happy.  Or at least as contented as two boys could be who were growing up in the late 1500s in England, and working every day since their seventh birthdays.  It was a time when boys were earning coin as soon as they could lift or carry things.  The money   could never be for themselves, however, but for the parents to help pay the bills. 

Father lived as a crofter should.  He was an upright man and sold vegetables off   a cart like his grandfather did, and he also dabbled in selling fine fabric for the ladies of status.

One afternoon, when I was eight years old, my brother came home and got into a heated debate with my father about something.  When I ran to see what was the matter, they hushed around me, so I never got the full gist of the argument.  But whatever it was about, it was serious, and the bickering continued behind my back for five straight days.  When I awoke on the morning of the sixth day, Gerald was no longer at home.  And he never came back.

Soon afterwards, my father lost enthusiasm for his business and became generally passive.  I assumed this was because of Gerald's leaving, and only on occasion would I see flashes of my dad's former self. 

At the start of my tenth year, our family moved closer to London.  We rented    the bottom floor of a three-story building in which several families lived in the upper floors.  My father said we relocated because he needed to be closer to more business opportunities.  But my mom didn't believe he'd made the right decision, since he was  now selling food out of a cart and not inside a storefront.  One night, she greeted him at the door when he came home.  She was wearing a frown and a dress that had seen better days.

"Did you bring in any decent money?" she asked him before he had time to take off his coat.

"I told you, it will take some time.  It's not easy to make good money these days."

"Especially when you let the ladies walk all over you."

"I know, I know.  But what am I to do when they aren't running up to me to buy what I'm selling?"

"You at least bring home some food for us?"  My father had carried in a bag under his arm.

"It's not much, a few carrots and some celery."  He handed her the bag.

"What about meat?"

"We're not ready for meat yet."

"That’s true enough," my mother said.  "But you should at least try to feed your family.  Walter's growing, and so are our other children."

"Leave me be, woman.  I'm doing the best I can for now."  He sat in his chair, leaned his head against the wall, and fell asleep.

That same debate played out between my parents for the next two years.  Except for the summer months, when food was plentiful; then the arguments subsided.  But for the rest of the year, especially during the winter, the same discussions about money continued on a daily basis, and they were often quite heated.  I lost two younger siblings during those two years.  One during my tenth winter and the other during my eleventh winter.  Neither of the children was older than six months.  I always suspected hunger    as the primary cause of their deaths.




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