About Robert Fowler
I am Robert Fowler. I was born in Bethnal Green hospital, London on the 19th of June 1954. My father was English and my mother Italian. She was born in Florence and lived there until coming to England at the age of 20.
Did Robert Fowler always like Literacy?
When I was growing up I just wanted to play football; morning noon and night that was all I did. The one other thing I loved was drama. We had a drama teacher who put me into every play going, and I felt at home doing it, even learning to tango! I toured Scotland and performed there as well in a Shakespearean play; not that any of them had a clue what we were saying.
I also enjoyed English and fell in love with the C.S Lewis books about Narnia. The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe being the first book I ever read from cover to cover. I enjoyed making up stories, and I remember a teacher telling my parents I had a vivid imagination; I’m not sure if that was a compliment or not.
What does Robert Fowler‘s life involve?
I work a 50 to 60 hour week and when I’m not doing that, I’m running a football team which takes up another 12 to 15 hours. Both are a bit stressful.
To unwind and relax I love to read, it is that simple. I just love it; anything as well, I have no favourites, I just love books. I could spend a day in a book shop and not be bored; in fact I have nearly done so several times.
Tell us more about Robert Fowler’s family
My mother Leandra Degl’ Innocenti is 86; my father Ron died in 2008 aged 83. I have a sister Ommbretta, who became a model at 15, appearing on TV in the sixties in adverts for Alka-Seltzer headache tablets! Dionne Warwick wanted to take her to the USA, but my mother would not let her travel alone at 17, so the chance passed her by.
I am married to Cherilyn, and have a daughter Mia who is 38.
When did Robert Fowler become a writer?
I first realised I wanted to be a writer ten years ago when I tried my hand at it just for fun. I kept it all; as bad as it was, it was mine. What I enjoyed was being in control, being someone else, I could be a character, I could make myself big and strong or weak and small, good or bad, and I could have the best looking girlfriend in the world.
I just found it another way of relaxing. I could sit for hours writing, and although it was not very good, only my eyes were going to see it, so what did it matter. I did start to write football reports for a local football team, which after some editorial work were printed in the local paper.
What made Robert Fowler want to become a writer?
If you ask what made me want to be a writer, I’d answer I don’t know that I am, if I could be then great, but I would want to be good. I love the thought of writing full time, I enjoy the research. I learned so much when I did it for Flood, but I know what it is like to read a great book, how it makes an impression on you, leaves you thinking after you have finished it. If a book of mine could do that for someone then that would be great, so it is that that I try to achieve.
What inspired Robert Fowler to start writing?
What inspired me to start writing was when I wrote about having to stop playing football at 24, because I had early arthritis. My body began to be riddled with it, and my hip was replaced when I was 25. I went through a bad time and I found writing down all the thoughts that were going through my head at the time, made it a bit easier to deal with. It was written by me for me, not to tell the world; it was to help allow me to understand that my life was not over at 25.
I wrote a piece 250 or so pages long, which must have been over 25 years ago now, I still have it somewhere. One day I will edit it and bring it up to date. I’ve had another three hip replacements since that one, so I have plenty of material!
How long has Robert Fowler been writing for?
I’ve been writing for approx 7 years, Maggie’s Eyes was the first piece I wrote which had a start, middle and ending, that was in 2004. I have written silly little things before, but that was as close as I had come to writing a book, albeit a short story.
What challenges does Robert Fowler face with writing a novel?
The challenges (research and psychological) I faced in bringing my book ‘Flood’ to life – well I loved doing the research, but of course it held up the book. It becomes frustrating because you have the story inside your head and you want to get on with it. When doing Flood, I read two books, in which time I did not write a single word. After that, I printed off well in excess of 60 pages of other research off the internet, and in 2008 I visited family in Florence, and read the actual newspapers from that time which my uncle had saved for all these years, then I needed to incorporate it into my story.
I knew Florence well having been there so many times. I knew how the place felt, the roads, the side turnings, the sounds, and the smell. Having family there meant I just did not visit the normal tourist places, but saw the other side of the city.
But I set this book in 1966; I was 12 in 1966 and had never been out of England. Having to go back to that time was difficult, the clothes, the music, the things we know now but did not know then. We are now so used to mobile phones, satellite TV and the world wide web, that when something like this tragedy happens, we see it that night in our homes. Aid is sent in a matter of hours. Everything now is instant, but not back then, and that was how I had to think, and it was not as easy as I thought it might be.
I also had to think and write like I was someone else, it is what makes you want to write, but at the same time you have to think like that character, if not he will not be real enough to be believed. In Flood I had a character who abused young girls, that was difficult, because as I wrote about him, I began to hate him myself, and although I controlled the character, there were times he controlled me. The book had to be real, there are people like him, and they do nasty things; I wrote about those things, to make the book real.
What does Robert Fowler consider to be the most challenging aspect of writing a novel or about writing in general?
Making sure that what I write is realistic; it has to be believable. The start, the middle and the ending must flow, but it is the ending that for me is the hardest. You spend months writing page after page, chapter after chapter, building the thing up to a finale, then it falls flat on its face, it’s unrealistic and stupid, that means all those months have been wasted, however good those other pages were, the ending makes them useless, it then makes the whole thing a waste of time and effort.
What motivates me to write?
Stories I think up in my mind, stories I read about in real life, things I see which I can expand on, love, death, happiness, sadness, heroism, violence, all of those things make me want to write; to tell a great story, to entertain someone, to put a smile on a face, or to make someone think about something which they might never have done.
What inspires Robert Fowler to write and why?
Just to tell a story, and to tell it well. To try and make the reader feel as you do; it’s a challenge, and life is full of them. To me writing is the biggest challenge; it’s one I would want to be able to win. Every time I read a good book, it makes me want to write one myself, I want to make someone feel like I had just done when I turned the last page.
Who or what in my life has influenced Robert Fowler’s writing and in what way?
People influence me. There are so many characters that walk this earth, and each one has a story attached to them. You can look at someone, and suddenly there’s a story being formed in your head. You imagine where they were born, where they live, what terrible things they have done, or what great things they have achieved. They might be beautiful, or they might be ugly, male, female, young, old, all have a story.
A bit about me – Author Robert Fowler….