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:
Photo by Haje Jan Kamps, used with permission