An interview with James Bowen, street musician and author of A Street Cat Named Bob

If you read my review of A Street Cat Named Bob: How One Man and His Cat Found Hope on the Streets, you already know how much I loved the book. I couldn’t put it down, but at the same time, I didn’t want it to end! I definitely wanted to know more about James and Bob.

I was delighted to get an opportunity to interview James, and to share more about this amazing story with you.

How has your life changed since the book came out?

It hasn’t changed a huge amount really, I still play music most days with Bob around Covent Garden in London. That said, we do get a lot more attention than we did before.

Has his newfound fame changed Bob?

Not at all, he’s still the same – he’s always been a bit of a diva and loves meeting new people.

I was captivated by yours and Bob’s story from the first page, but I was particularly touched by the intensity of the bond between the two of you. Have you always had a strong connection with animals?

I have – I’ve had cats all my life. But Bob is definitely the most special and unique cat I’ve ever had.

What was the writing process like for you? Did you continue to busk while you were writing the book?

The process mainly involved getting my thoughts into a coherent order, and making sure I remembered everything that has happened to me and Bob correctly. I did continue to busk while I was writing it, as I needed to continue to earn a living.

Was it difficult to share very personal details of your life, such as your recovery from addiction, in the book?

Yes it was, and I hope that I’ve enlightened people about these kinds of problems, and how difficult it is to pick yourself up and get better. I hope I’ve made people laugh too.

The book has been hugely successful in England, and it is my understanding that translation rights have already been sold to several other countries. How does it feel to know that yours and Bob’s story will be read around the world?

It’s absolutely incredible that so many people want to read about our life – it’s quite overwhelming.

Tell me a little about your music.

I like playing anything that’s easy to play acoustically. Particular favourites are Johnny Cash, Nine Inch Nails and Nirvana.

If the book were to be made into a movie, who should play your part?

Daniel Radcliffe might be good, although other people have suggested Johnny Depp!

What’s next for you and Bob?

Maybe another book! We’ll see. I’d also like to make Bob a kind of “care in the community cat,” taking him round to hospices and old peoples’ homes to meet people who are ill. He helped me so much, and I’d like to give other people the opportunity to get to know him, too.

The book is available on Amazon Kindle, and will be published in the US by St. Martin’s Press in the spring of 2013. Maybe Bob and James will come to the US for a book tour then – Bob is already used to traveling by tube and bus, so he’d probably take getting on a plane in stride.

In the meantime, I leave you with this wonderful video of Bob and James on a British morning show:

 

16 Comments on An interview with James Bowen, street musician and author of A Street Cat Named Bob

  1. Maria Barraza
    May 30, 2015 at 4:54 pm (2 years ago)

    James,
    Your Steet Cat Named Bob book was the most endearing book I have ever read. Congratulations on (all) your work-I look forward to the movie! By the way, it struck me that all through your ordeals you didn’t loose your self respect, think that Bob recognized this and this is why he picked you!
    Looking forward to meeting you both whenever you may visit
    NYC!
    Best to you and a big hug to Bob!
    Maria Barraza
    BarrazaStyle
    NYC

    Reply
  2. Wendy Elizabeth
    February 13, 2013 at 11:23 am (5 years ago)

    I just finished reading about james and bob,it was so uplifting simple and honest,i had a wonderfull pet cat called sylvester,who charmed every one,he was adorable,and when i was broke and unemployed,i never forgot how ceceilia hammond cat charity in canning town where so compassionate and help full,he was everything to me,unfortunatley he died last year,i wish our cats could live forever,well done james its youres and bobs time to shine!thankyou for making my dayGood luck always

    Reply
  3. Keith
    September 2, 2012 at 8:13 am (5 years ago)

    Heart-warming, honest and totally uplifting.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      September 2, 2012 at 8:45 am (5 years ago)

      The story of James and Bob touched me deeply, Keith.

      Reply
  4. Gail
    May 21, 2012 at 11:56 am (5 years ago)

    I just finished reading the book, and it brought back memories of Ted, my own special ginger cat. Ted would follow me to the bus stop every morning and wait with me until I left for work. He would be waiting for me at the end of the driveway every night when I got home. He, too, loved attention and was a neighborhood favorite. He enjoyed chasing dogs (dangerous passion for sure) and loved to play fetch. Sadly, he became very ill when he was only five years old and there was no treatment available for him. I still miss him, and Bob reminds me so much of Ted.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      May 21, 2012 at 12:42 pm (5 years ago)

      Ted sounds like he was a very special boy, Gail. I’m so sorry you lost him so soon, but glad that the book brought back some fond memories for you.

      Reply
  5. dawn
    May 3, 2012 at 11:59 am (5 years ago)

    I had a ginger tom adopt me too. I had one as a child and both seemed to have a an intellegence beyond what you would expect from a cat. the second one we rescued from someone who burnt him on the nose with a cigarette as a form of discipline. “Mowse” saved me and although my problems were not with adiction, I was in a bad place. Mowse changed all that and there are so many similarities between my story and James. I owe my life to mowse but he died at christmas with polycystic kidney disease at only 4 years old. I miss him more than I can bear. Mowse and Bob look identical and had the same temperament. Long live Bob and James, Love and respect to you both

    Dawn x

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      May 3, 2012 at 1:25 pm (5 years ago)

      I’m so sorry you lost Mowse so soon, Dawn. I’m glad he stayed long enough to get you through a rough time.

      Reply
  6. Nancy
    May 2, 2012 at 8:51 pm (5 years ago)

    What a wonderful interview. So happy for James and Bob. And how nice if Bob could visit nursing homes and hospices with James to help even more people. Thank you for sharing this. Hope there is a movie!

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      May 2, 2012 at 9:30 pm (5 years ago)

      I hope there is a movie, too – and I think Johnny Depp would be perfect to play James. Bob might be a little harder to cast, though!

      Reply
  7. toni / rctees
    May 2, 2012 at 6:33 pm (5 years ago)

    Just read your interview and watched the video….so very inspiring!

    Thanks again Ingrid for sharing this wonderful story.
    I just love a happy ending : )

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      May 2, 2012 at 6:39 pm (5 years ago)

      I just love this story, Toni.

      Reply
  8. Bernadette
    May 2, 2012 at 9:15 am (5 years ago)

    Talk about a cat inspiring you and changing your life!

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      May 2, 2012 at 6:38 pm (5 years ago)

      I know!

      Reply
  9. Deborah Julian
    May 2, 2012 at 8:12 am (5 years ago)

    I also loved this book and could not put it down! It’s a wonderful story that will resonate with anyone who shares life with an intelligent cat. I wish James and Bob long lasting success and hope there are more books to come. I was in London recently and regret I did not have the opportunity to meet them. What a treat that would have been!

    Deborah Julian
    http://www.DeborahJulian.etsy.com

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      May 2, 2012 at 6:38 pm (5 years ago)

      That would have been so cool to actually meet James and Bob in person while you were in London, Debbie. This book is a treasure, isn’t it?

      Reply

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