Let’s get you introduced to everyone, shall we? Tell us your name. What is your age?

Howdy. I’m John William Bowe. My vitals are 37.

Fiona: Where are you from? A little about your self (ie, your education, family life, etc.).

I was born in Essex, England, but I’m currently on the Welsh border in Shropshire, and not for the first time. Back in the day (or in the 1990s) I had horses and practised classical dressage and The Dao of Falling. The lady that I worked for would take in ‘interesting’ and ‘difficult’ horses for dressage rehabilitation. I also had a late gelded Welsh pony who was randier than spring and faster than reality.

Then I found myself some ten years later working for a concert hall, building and setting stages out in a far corner of Suffolk. It was like a monkey sanctuary. One thing then led to another and now here I am, hoping that I’m answering these properly.

Fiona: Tell us your latest news.

I am very soon to be getting my second novel back from the editor. It’s called The Brine in Me and is a barnacled autobiography of Derek Gainsborough, one of the primary characters from The Meifod Claw.

Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?

I don’t know! You’ve got me…

Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?

Probably only recently, as I’ll soon have a second novel available to the public and I’m making bare footed strides into the third.

Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?

Spinal injury and the hopeful cure of a new career.

Fiona: How did you come up with the title?

As a term, The Meifod Claw had been in the family for years and I always wanted to use it for something. Since I don’t play a musical instrument, I couldn’t form a progressive rock band under the title. This seemed to be its natural home and I am very glad to have appropriated it properly.

Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?

I like to get involved, if that counts as much in style as approach? Novel to novel I just try to listen to the tone that is required of me to tell the tale properly.

Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

Some of the people that I have had the pleasure of knowing became little launch pads for where I wanted to go with certain characters. The rest you just make up as you go along.

Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?

Having lived on the border with Wales for a lot of my life, the atmosphere and tone of environment I knew well enough to run with for The Meifod Claw. The Brine in Me required some more specific research with regards boat building and vernacular. Although with researching those details, I tended to listen to people who had done such things recollect what they could of it. I didn’t tend to double check the details much, as this was more befitting the characters themselves. I deal in tales, not truths!

Fiona: Who designed the covers?

The fantastic Kit Foster created that lurid warning sign that is the cover of The Meifod Claw. The Brine in Me cover is currently in its early days of design and the third novels cover is already designed in my brain.

Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

Dowse for Victory.

Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest? Who is your favorite writer, and what is it about their work that really strikes you?

Ursula LeGuin would be a favourite. Beautiful writing that reaches further by using less. Crushingly good.

Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.

People who knew me, people that have worked with me who always thought that I was just monkeying around in the various jobs that have been my employment. I’m really doing all of this for them.

Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?

Of course. You have to bet on yourself if you want others to.

Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?

The Meifod Claw is a tightly calibrated beast. I think that if I went fiddling around inside I’d likely make a mess.

Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?

Loads. The Brine in Me is written as autobiography so I got to spend a year inside the mind of Derek Gainsborough, feeling him trying to correctly order his life, liberties and apologies. You spend time writing people of a different mind to yours and you learn sympathy for a different point of view. We’re all naked in the garden.

Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?

I don’t know. I’d love Buzz Aldrin to do the audiobook. I guess it’s anyone who looks good in a beard and wheelchair for Derek and someone with a broken nose for Herbert. I’m sorry that was a bad answer.

Fiona: Any advice for other writers?

Go for it, just for the wanton love of doing it. Play it like you couldn’t care!

Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?

The fact of the matter, the lambs getting fatter …

Fiona: What book are you reading now?

The Hound of the Baskervilles. Yeah it’s double bangin good! Also The Mabinogion, a collection of Welsh myth.

Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?

No, but I probably chewed the pages. Of significance it might be Narnia. I love a Centaur. I know they haven’t got much bragging rights over the Minotaur but I always thought they were cooler. I’m pretty much down with talking animals in general so I liked Narnia a lot.

Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?

Everyday scenes make me laugh. But not in the morning.

Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?

I’m tempted to give a proper answer, but it might be for dishonest reasons because I don’t know. Presuming that it’s going to be more than a handshake and I get to hang out with them for a while, it’s going to be Keith Floyd. I’d like to spend some time around that very specific magnetism that he brought. Plus he’d do a lovely pastry.

Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?

I know a guy who looks after hedgehogs. Plus I like coffee and that’s got to count.

Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?

I make time for Game of Thrones and Taboo.

Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?

Italian food generally, plus French pastries. Rich sky blue and deep meadow green would be the colours.

Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?

Can I still drink coffee?

Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?

I knew this was going to happen.

Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?

I do. You can find blogs and links to my novels and podcasts over at https://seriousbiscuits.com/

Much obliged,

JW Bowe

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The Meifod Claw is available in paperback and ebook from…

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0995672903

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/the-meifod-claw/id1258891673

and various other providers.