Walker's Thoughts About Sexuality and Christianity
“I believe sexual orientation is fixed. So it doesn’t go away even when an individual dedicates her life to Christianity. Therefore, she must find a way to control the orientation to make it fit in with what she believes God wants. That is what I do in my personal life and it affects the stories that come through me. That doesn’t mean my characters always make Scriptural choices—most of the time, they don’t, just as I haven’t always done so—but at least one woman in each story has allowed God or religion, or both, to influence her struggle with being of mixed orientation.
“I’d like to believe my fiction appeals to good-hearted women of two types: those who are comfortable enough with their heterosexuality to sympathize with women who struggle with orientation; and those who don’t believe in wearing their non-hetero orientation on their sleeves and are humbly aware that for any sexual decision they make, they always have to answer to God. Ultimately, however, I think my stories appeal to intelligent women (and men) who simply like good, savory, well-written drama.”
Janet Marie Walker was born in San Antonio, Texas, and grew up in Augusta, Georgia. She is one of eight children born to William and Marie Walker (of Jacksonville, Florida, and Charleston, South Carolina, respectively). As a youth, Ms. Walker enjoyed reading novels, playing sports, visiting the public library, and studying the Bible literature of Jehovah’s Witnesses.
After graduating from A.R. Johnson Health Professions High School in Augusta, Ms. Walker held jobs as newspaper reporter and copy editor, TV associate producer, intern for a major New York City publishing house, cross-country truck driver and UPS package handler. She once struggled as a welfare mother, and like the pivotal character in one of her fictional works, has worked as a janitor on a housekeeping staff—in Ms. Walker’s case, at the Cable News Network (CNN) headquarters in Atlanta.
Ms. Walker studied communications and creative writing at Augusta State University, where she received the Walter Wiggins-James Lott Communications Scholarship (first and second annual recipient), the Samantha Dawes Wich Scholarship for Creative Writing, and the Will Shingleton Creative Writing Scholarship. At Georgia State University in Atlanta, she studied rhetoric and composition, as well as African American Studies, and performed literary research as a Ronald McNair Scholar.
In 1991, before college, Ms. Walker became founding editor of Candace (kan-DAY-see), a regional woman’s magazine patterned after Essence and the first publication of its kind in the Augusta area. In 1994, she received top guest-editorial spot in The New York Amsterdam News for a racial analysis of Disney’s movie The Lion King, and her feminist critique, “The Disney Girl,” appeared in the St. Martin’s Press college text The Great American Bologna Festival and other Student Essays, 1994-1996 editions. For two years, she wrote fictional stories about the Imani doll for Olmec Toys, a national company. The stories were designed into booklets that sold with the dolls.
Ms. Walker is the author of the three-book e-novel Amazed by her Grace, first released on December 12, 2012, and revised and re-published in final version in 2015; Desire of Ovid's Mother, a stage play released as an e-book in 2013 and re-released in final version in July 2015; and the adult novel My Brother’s Wife: An Old-School Soap (published in 2010 under a pseudonym). She has published 100 newspaper articles and editorials in local newspapers, including an interview with one of her favorite writers, novelist Gloria Naylor, and has published a book of social commentary. Additionally, she has transcribed her 28-year private diary into 14 small books, yet to be published. All of her current works are self-published.
Social taboos, the power of religion, class differences among African Americans, and the complex nature of female sexuality are the themes that drive Ms. Walker's fiction. Her ultimate dream has long been to walk into a public library and find her works traditionally published and wedged between those of Alice and Margaret Walker.
Currently, Ms. Walker markets her fiction, resides in Atlanta, Georgia, and travels the country for an employer. She has a son named Chad (wrestler Stitch Sypher/Stitch Osiris, pictured at right).