Guest Blog: Why Do We Do It? by Robert Cowan.

daydreams-and-devils-coverFirstly, thanks to Paul for inviting me onto his blog to say a few words about my books. If he sees something in them I must be doing something right.

I’d like to start off with a question. Actually not just any question, but the question, (No, not the 42 one). Why do we writers do it? Why sit in front of a blank screen, which stares back at my own invariably blank face, as I never plan anything (including this blog), wondering if I can fill it with something that can entertain, or even move complete strangers. Time and time again, hour after hour, setting yourself up for judgement, failure, ridicule or worse…apathy. Why not just sit and watch Eastenders, or if you’re feeling a bit frisky nip upstairs with your significant other…even Pokémon go.

robert cowanI guess for most of us it stems from a need to be creative, maybe some sort of validation or legacy. But why writing? There are no doubt as many answers as there are writers and the answer might change with time. For me the original answer was I had characters I wanted to share and characters are always the main ingredient in my books, driving and creating the story with me sitting, typing it up. In my first novel , The Search for Ethan’, there was a real mix, with the self destructive Stevie, decent Tommy, depraved Margo, spiritual Katie, drunken, hapless Hughie…but what became interesting for me was what they had in common rather than the differences. I did wonder at times whether subconsciously they were aspects of my own personality, (always a fan of the Who’s Quadrophenia), no doubt I could find many a shrink happy to take my cash to chase that one down…or I could just write.

My second book,Daydreams and Devils’, was again filled with ‘colourful characters’, psychopathic crime boss Vincent a particular favourite. I found a swingball game in the hut the other day, which got me wondering. (that’ll make sense if you read it). As with the previous book, there’s plenty of dark humour and dialogue, but with crime thrown into the mix it’s my most Brazilesque novel and probably the best place to start for anyone reading this. Like Paul, I’m a huge music fan, and all my books are full of music references and lyrics, which my editor highlights in red alongside horrendous cash numbers for breach of copyright…and I promptly ignore and turn them black again. What could go wrong? Daydreams and Devils tells the story of a bunch of particularly evil gangsters and a young band taking their first steps on their musical journey. The stretch for this one was running the two very different and separate stories side by side, before bringing them together. It was also a lot of fun to write.

robert cowan bookStretching yourself as a writer and person, having fun…As I mentioned previously, the answer to that question may change with time. With my third book, For all is Vanity, throw in plain old curiosity. The desire to just see what happens, see far can you take it…and can you take readers with you? It is by far my darkest book yet…and they’re all pretty dark. What happens if you lose everything? When I started writing it I thought it would be lots of vigilante mayhem, streets running with the blood of bankers, politicians, rapists and assorted, well…cunts to be blunt. However it became something very different, more psychological, sometimes anguished, occasionally funny and more experimental. Part novel, part diary with subconscious characters who reveal themselves in dreams, alcohol induced psychosis…I must admit I wondered if anyone would ’get it’. So far so good.

A pretty eclectic bunch with no discernible genre and 10k into book four that seems set to continue. Hopefully something for everyone. I shall sign off now before I over stay my welcome, so it’s goodnight from me and good night from him…and her…and him…but not him, he’s a moody bastard.

Find out more about Robert Cowan here.