Walter began to write his first book, 'The Black Stallion', while he was a student at Brooklyn's Erasmus Hall High School and Mercersburg Academy in Pennsylvania, and finished it while at Columbia University. It was published by Random House in 1941, and he used his first advance to travel widely.
While 'The Black Stallion' was enthusiastically received by boys and girls all over the country, World War II intervened and Mr. Farley went into the US Army, where he spent the next five years. Most of the time he was assigned to the army magazine, 'Yank', but also trained in the Fourth Armored Division. After the war, Walter resumed the adventures of Alec and the Black with 'The Black Stallion Returns'.
Mr. Farley and his wife Rosemary, had four children: Pam, Alice, Steve, and Tim. Their farm in Pennsylvania at various times included Arabian horses, Standardbreds, dogs and cats. His son, Steve, went on to write further books in the series after Walter died in 1989.
Author's Comment: My great love was horses. I wanted a pony as much as any boy or girl could possibly want anything, but I never owned one.
[My Uncle] wasn't the most successful trainer of race horses, and in a way I profited by it. He switched from runners to jumpers to show horses to trotters and pacers, then back to runners again. Consequently, I received a good background in different kinds of horse training and the people associated with each.
I believe half the trouble in the world comes from people asking "What have I achieved?" rather than "What have I enjoyed?" I've been writing about a subject I love as long as I can remember, horses and the people associated with them, anyplace, anywhere, anytime. I couldn't be happier knowing that young people are reading my books. But even more important to me is that I've enjoyed so much the writing of them.