Meet Michael Fowler — Rotherham artist and author

Rotherham born Michael Fowler, former police officer turned landscape artist and crime writer, tells Chase how his hobbies became a new career path following his retirement.

Ready to release his third crime book in the series, we take a sneak peak into Michael’s fascinating life...

How did your career start?

As a child, art was my passion, but when I left school at age 16, I couldn’t afford Art College so I went to see a careers advisor who suggested I joined the police.

By 18 years old I was in uniform working on the beat — I was streetwise but naive. Then, after three and a half years service I went undercover. I moved my way up through different departments, working in CID, Vice Squad and Drug Squad, then in the rank of Inspector, I finished my career in charge of a busy CID Department.

Where did the inspiration come from to write?

My past career. I’ve lost count of the number of dead bodies I have seen, I have fought with drunks, wrestled thieves to the ground, almost been stabbed by a knife wielding burglar on the run and I’ve experienced the adrenaline rush from many a high speed chase.

In 2006 when I retired from the police following 32 years service, I began revisiting those scenes, still firmly handcuffed inside my head and writing about them.

I had a folder full of rich crime material to draw upon — with no more distractions I began the journey of writing that crime novel I had always promised myself.

How would you describe your writing?

The DS Hunter Kerr crime fiction series strives to include all of the things I like in a crime novel — A believable plot, characters I can relate to, a journey through the story, plenty of hooks to make me want to read on, plus, a generous splattering of blood and gore. Oh, and because I’m an ex-cop, detectives who deliver the brand of justice befitting the crime.

Are your characters based on anyone?

Yes the plots reflect real life situations I faced in the police. A few of my former colleagues read my books and recognise some of the characters and situations. When I began writing ‘Heart of the Demon’ — my first book in the series — I had always determined that my central character, Detective Sergeant Hunter Kerr, would be me, semi-autobiographically and I have remained true to that; his experiences in my novels are my experiences. However, his physical characteristics are based upon the actor Richard Armitage. I am a fan of the BBC drama Spooks, and saw him cast as Lucas North whilst putting the finishing touches to the book. Hunter’s working partner, DC Grace Marshall, is based upon Angela Griffin. Again, whilst writing Heart of the Demon, I saw her appear in a day time reality show performing cameo roles as a detective. I just knew she would be a perfect foil for Hunter.

How long does it take you to write a book?

It takes me about 18 months to do a first draft or a book. I’m currently writing my forth book in the series — I still take my time but the plotting does get quicker.

Which is your favourite book in the series?

I always like the latest book best. Each book is an improvement on the last.

Tell us about your art work?

Some people expect me to paint crime pictures do to my past career and writing interest. I did dabble with this in my early years — I’d draw super heroes, but now landscapes and seascapes are my main focus. I use oil mostly, but a lot of my older paintings are done with acrylic. I have a studio in Swinton Lock Activity Centre where many of my paintings are displayed and can be purchased, and I also spend a lot of time in Cornwall — I love to work by the sea. I start at 8am and paint on location. I can usually do two to three paintings per day. For anyone interested in art, I hold regular demonstrations and art classes for adults and children — visit www.swintonlock.org.uk to find out more.

Secrets Of The Dead, the third book in the series is now available for pre-order on Amazon before the official release on September 9. Michael will also be touring the UK to do book signings in Waterstones stores, including the Meadowhall and Sheffield stores.

And, on September 12, Michael will be speaking at a publishing event at the Wath-upon-Dearne Library — book your place in advance at the library on 01709 873542.

To find out more visit www.mjfowler.co.uk or www.caffeine-nights.com/michael-fowler.

 

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