Thursday, August 13, 2015

An interview with Robin Stewart, talking about 'A LIFE IN THE WILD'

Today my guest is an old friend, now turned author. You may know him better as Mike Abbot from Bless this House, the British sitcom with Syd James, but I know  Robin Stewart from my time living in Yarramalong. I witnessed his love of the Australian bush, the animals and especially his horses and dogs. It came as no surprise to hear he had written A Life In The Wild. The story of an old man and his journey through life. The companions who keep him company, the dogs, horses, cats and their importance in his world.

Robin has a unique voice as he writes. His descriptions and understanding of the animals and the landscape draw the reader into his world.
I 'interviewed' Robin while he was hospitalised and recovering from a bout of ill health. His enthusiasm for his writing wasn't dampened. He asked for the interview to keep his mind active and off his surroundings.
I hope his recovery is rapid and complete. There are more stories waiting to be written. 
Meanwhile... Meet Robin Stewart as he talks about his latest book...

Robin, what do you hope people will take away from the story?
I think that inside all of us is an old something, be it a person an animal, or even a stuffed teddy bear. So with this tale it would be of great joy to me if the reader got lost in the ways of simplicity  and occasional heartbreaks of what I consider to be normal living, if we have the opportunity to give it a chance to blossom. This does not have to be a fantasy, it can easily be a reality if only we can free ourselves to live it. Mother Nature is after all a ruler supreme, or so I personally would like to think.

What genre  would you put this book into?
I think maybe that is something for the readers imagination to decide, I just wrote the words.

Please tell us more about your affinity with the animals you shared time with.
That is a very hard question because as a kid I would visit the wolves in Regents Park zoo. Standing on what one would call the free side looking in, I tried to imagine what they saw when they looked at me. Did they think that they were on the free side and I was trapped in something that seemed to go on forever with no ending, so I was the one that was lost. I have always thought that the relationship between the animals I have had the good fortune to be involved with actually cared as much for me as I did for them, rightly or wrongly. It was, I suppose,  part of my fantasy of having a friend that did not speak the same language yet could pass their feelings over to me with a glance or a twitch or even by turning their back on me, as if to say ,bullshit.  I liked to think we were close. I know I missed and loved them whether they were there or not. They were a major part of my being.

What inspired you to write "A Life in the Wild"?
It was there to be written.       (I love Robin's answer.) 
My head needed to have a clear out and I wanted to see what was in there, and out came all my friends.  I just put them all together and wrote it down. Thanks to Val George, my editor and inward looker at my story, it became the book it is today. All of the animals are taken from reality. I consider myself lucky to have been able to be involved with them. I am lucky that they put up with my idiosyncrasies, even though to them they would probably have been simplicities. We are the ones who make things complicated. Mother Nature just rolls along repairing our mistakes or destroying our failings, hopefully before we destroy her rectifications. Gosh, that sounds deep. hehehe.
Very deep, but very like you! 

Can you please explain your writing process?
My writing process is strange. I firmly believe that 'time', as we know it, is man made. So it does not matter to me if it is dark or light.  I must admit I do prefer working through the night, only because there is a stillness that seems to surround me that I like.  Yet I can just as easily work with the TV on, music on, anything happening around me is cool, except I find it very hard to continue on a thought process when it is interrupted by something or someone. Normally someone who I have no control over that just enters my special space. As with this book the confines of toads abode and takes me away from my fantasy. 

I find that is more destructive to my writing than possibly hearing in the background that there has been a tidal wave. The wave is a passing part of information that travels into and out of the story, where as the interruption demanding my attention breaks all contact that I am involved with within the story per say. This might sound selfish, but it is my fantasy or my dream, or if you like my story, it has not been handed over yet so it is still very private and is in nurturing stage not in battle stations.
Sharing work before it is ready is always awkward. Like baring your soul, without a chance to strap on a mask.

What do you do to prepare your story for publication? 
Preparation is tricky. I was extremely lucky. There was only my editor and my publisher. There were no beta readers used and I was given the freedom to just let go and write. How lucky was that?
Free rein is what most writers dream of, Robin.

Thank you for taking the time to be a guest here today.

I hope your health improves and stays that way.

More information and links to Robin's books...

A Life In The Wild by Robin Stewart
The horses in this extraordinary book are the poetry
 in motion that charts an old man’s life of love, 
loss and longing, so that in the end the 
horse and human are almost interchangeable. 
Gradually, as the man travels his inward 
journey, he answers for himself – 
with help from the magnificent companions at his side 
– life’s greatest question – who he really is.

A Life in the Wild is published by 
New Haven Publishing Ltd UK and 
is available from the following retailers:
United Kingdom: Waterstones

Singapore: Fishpond Singapore

Norway: Adlibris and Tanum

You can also order A Life In The Wild at your local bookshop.

Being Mike Abbott by Robin Stewart with Paul Burton
In this publication, Stewart recalls the years in which he played the role of Sidney James’ son, Mike Abbott, in the Seventies’ Thames TV sitcom, Bless this House...

As well as providing a fascinating and affectionate tribute to his days in the much-loved domestic comedy, Robin also offers an insight into other parts of his life and career.

In short, Being Mike Abbott is a light-hearted read which will appeal to fans of the actor and the series that made him famous.

Here's what people are saying....

"A brilliant and candid insight into Robin's life and career and I would advise you all to get it post haste. It was a good read from cover to cover" - Richard W

"A fascinating trip behind the scenes in television, theatre and film. Recommended" - Colin H

"Great read about golden age of british telly" - Richard M

You can order copies of Being Mike abbot from the following retailers
Feedaread (Paperback)
Amazon (Paperback)
- Amazon (ebook)
VALE ROBIN STEWART... sadly on 23rd Nov 2015 Robin passed away. So glad he was able to publish his second book. Robin, always a great friend, you will be missed. Rest In Peace.