Celebrating Texas Writers Month with us today is Wallace Chariton (Plano).
Wallace Owen Chariton began collecting Centennial souvenirs in the early 1970s after a visit to a Dallas gun show. At that show he purchased a small, hand-carved wooden longhorn head that was marked Texas Centennial 1836 – 1936. Not knowing what the Centennial was at the time, he showed the item to relatives and asked if anyone knew of the Centennial. All his kinfolk knew about the exposition and spoke of it fondly. Unfortunately, in 1936 those relatives were barely able to scrape together a living in depression-era rural West Texas and none could afford to actually visit the exposition. One relative did make it to Dallas but he didn’t have a quarter to spare so he couldn’t get in.
Inspired by the stories, Mr. Chariton decided to learn more about the Centennial to see just exactly what his relatives had missed back in 1936. He began collecting more souvenirs and visiting libraries to study what information was available on the Centennial. From that simple beginning, a lifelong passion for the Texas Centennial blossomed. In 1979, Chariton published a book on Centennial collectibles. Almost twenty-five years later, Chariton’s love for Centennial items is still going strong and, based on numerous requests from collectors, he is planning a greatly enhanced revision to his original book.
Q. Are you a native Texan or did you get here as soon as you could?
A. Native to the bone. I’m a 5th generation Texan and awfully proud of that, as anyone who knows me can verify. My ancestors came to Texas in 1833 and we have owned land in the Republic ever since. Always will.
Q. How did you end up writing nonfiction?
A. One of the first books I ever read was 13 Days To Glory by Lon Tinkle. I was instantly hooked on Texas history and determined at an early age that maybe I could write books which would add to the body of Texas history knowledge and, perhaps, inspire others to cherish Texas history as much as I do.
Q. What book marketing activities made you a bestselling author?
A. Book store signings, published reviews, newspaper interviews, radio talk shows, and speaking engagements around the state. That was over a decade ago and I’m still tired!
Q. Tell us about your upcoming releases.
A. I have been battling heart problems for more than ten years so haven’t had a new release in a while. However, I was able to do research while recuperating and now that my health has improved, things are about to change. Upcoming releases include a massive compendium on the Texas Civil War, a new work of Alamo images, a book of USS Texas images, a book on vintage Dr Pepper postcards, a collection of classic Route 66 images, and a revision to my original work on souvenirs from the 1936 Texas Centennial. I also have a screenplay and two novels that are currently being shopped by my agent. My fingers are firmly crossed.
Q. Where can we pay you a virtual visit?
A. My body of work is listed on Amazon. My new web sites are under development and should be available by early fall to coincide with the introduction of my new books. Anyone interested in being notified when the sites are up and running can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Anyone interested in Texas Centennial collectibles can check out texascentennial.com.
First of all, LOVE the hat in the photo. Second, I wish Wallace Chariton a continued and complete recovery. Third, I am impressed by the number of the upcoming releases and I hope that they are all successful. I look forward most to seeing the Route 66 images – can’t get enough of Route 66!
Mr. Chariton’s hat reminds me of the one Hopalong wore. If he has that much work completed while being sick, standby for his works when well! I wish him good health and every success.
I read Unsolved Texas Mysteries a few years ago and loved it! The others sound interesting, too. Looking forward for the new works and will keep an eye out for them.
i love the hat…thanks for the chance to read these wonderful books 😉
Had the pleasure of having dinner with you in early 1990s in San Antonio, Wallace. I wish you a full recovery and certainly look forward to your new work. Please let us know when you’re back our way in the “Alamo City.” Best of luck!