Upon Bill Keeth’s recommendation, and without further ado, I have great pleasure in introducing to you, Tony Bowers …
Aneeta: Tony, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Please tell me a little about your early life – where were you born, where did you grow up, what you do for a living and where do you live now?
Tony: I was born in Nottinghamshire, England (famous for Robin Hood!!) I am a lawyer by profession but have run companies of my own for years and finally became a consultant.
Aneeta: Before I discuss your novel, can you please tell me how you started in what I like to call ‘the writing industry’? What made you want to write?
Tony: I always wanted to write. As a child I made up stories and wrote poetry from an early age. As a student I wrote reviews and later had one or two attempts at breaking into the world of full-time fiction writing (I was short-listed by the BBC for a new TV series for example). I have done a great deal of commercial writing, advertising material, magazine articles etc. and have been contributing regularly to two local magazines for some years.
Aneeta: How did you learn the craft of writing? Did you attend a course or classes?
Tony: I had an exceptional English teacher from whom I learned the basics of good English style. After that I just did a lot of writing!
Aneeta: Bill Keeth tells me that your novel, The Idle Hill of Summer, is a self-published piece of work. Can you tell me your experience in self-publishing? Would you self-publish all your future works?
Tony: Not exactly self-published, published ‘on demand’ with some marketing assistance thrown in. It is certainly worth considering as a way of starting. I’m well into a new novel now and am undecided how to proceed with the publishing. Ideally I’d like a mainstream publisher to ‘notice’ me and like what he sees, but this may be fanciful.
Aneeta: Tell me about your novel. What is it about?
Tony: It’s what I think you would call a ‘rite of passage’ novel. Set in the last summer of the Second World War, it tells of a young, working class boy’s experiences during a brief holiday period. He lives in a quiet village which seems remote from the War and yet, by a series of coincidences, he is brought face-to-face with the impact of the conflict on a disparate, and to him, strange group of adults. He falls in love (he thinks). He has an affair. He meets a deserter, a group of black marketers, American airmen. They all make an impression and yet the young man absorbs these experiences and influences and moves on.
The novel has an authentic Nottinghamshire setting though it’s not autobiographical. The hero is an imaginative only child and his real experiences are mixed with the fantasies of his own imagination. The book is full of convincing characterisation and readers who have reported to me say they found it compelling and beautifully written. But don’t take my word for it!!
Aneeta: As you know, this website caters for storytellers. What advice would you give those who would like to start storytelling?
Tony: In a sense, all novels are stories, even difficult master pieces such as the work of James Joyce. Good stories have the capacity to transport the reader, listener or watcher. It’s essential to capture one’s audience and hold attention; in other words, novel writing, just like acting, is all about pace. Try very hard not to allow interest to flag. Make the reader care about the story, better yet, about the characters.
Aneeta: This is all I have to ask. Is there anything you’d like to add?
Tony: Yes! Thank you for your interest. I hope you read my novel and that it fully engages your interest.
Aneeta: I’ll place The Idle Hill of Summer on my ‘to read’ list. Tony, thank you.
Tony: You’re very welcome.
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