Interview with Patrick Bowmaster
Interview with Patrick Bowmaster
Thank you for speaking to me today, Patrick.
What is your book about?
The best way to relate what my true crime book What The Little Dog Witnessed: The True Crime Of Ed Hubbard & Willie Roberts is about is to quote the great language my publisher, Pulpular Media of Hamilton Ohio, came up with to describe my work: “A conniving couple finds a deadly way to rid a farmer of his wealth, but the little dog Jim isn’t going to let them get away with murdering his master. Career convict and con artist Ed Hubbard and his accomplice Willie Roberts, a young and attractive prostitute, set out to play a long game against the farmer Pleas Burns, who owned a spread on the Spring River in Arkansas. But Willie grows tired of waiting and pressures Hubbard to “fix the old man.” Even with a backstory of multiple marriages, extramarital affairs, an incompetent judge, an extremely messy divorce, a death sentence, two jail breaks, incest, a connection to one of the most infamous criminal gangs of the 1930s, three murders, a terrible miscarriage of justice, and two sensational murder trials, the most fascinating part of the story is an amazing and heroic canine.”
What is your favorite part of the book?
I would say it’s the role a dog named Jim played in the story. I would like to tease this by quoting from a two newspaper headlines. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch screamed: “Faithful Dog Avenges the Murder of His Master by Dooming the Slayer to Death on a Gallows.” The Pittsburg Daily Headlightran with the more boiled down: “Dog Convicts a Murderer.” The same paper declared: “Faithful Dog of the Murdered Man Displayed Great Intelligence.”
What do your fans mean to you?
My book has sold more copies than I ever dared dream and became an Amazon.com’s bestseller. I’m humbled and honored that so many readers have purchased it. They mean everything.
Million dollar question, are you working on another book?
My next work will be a book on my uncle Harry Schmitt. He was the golden boy of the family and expected to go the furthest in life because as my mom says “he was so versatile and could do anything.” He was a yo-yo champion as a boy. He was so smart that he was skipped ahead a grade in school. He was a skilled, self-taught musician with a wonderful singing voice. He was offered tryouts by two professional baseball teams. In college he achieved very strong grades, was a star athlete and graduated as the top Air Force ROTC cadet in his class. After graduation he became a navigator and flew in an F-89 Scorpion fighter interceptor jet. His ultimate goal was a career in politics and he decided to apply to Harvard Law school. It is certain he would have been accepted. He lost his life in a flying accident in July of 1958 when he was just 22. My uncle wanted to be the best at everything he did in life and I’ve not come across an example of him having failed to live up to his own standard. There’s no doubt that he would’ve accomplished great things in his life had he not died so young and that’s what makes his story so tragic. I have an amazing collection of artifacts and photographs that document’s his life from birth to death. I’m currently seeking a publisher for this work.
What’s the strangest thing you ever had to research for a book?
My uncle lost his life because he was ordered to eject from his jet without realizing how low in altitude he was at the time. I’ve had to conduct a lot of research on ejector seats. Modern day ejector seats work so well that a person could eject from a jet sitting on a runway and have no need to be worried. The seats have a rocket motor that propel one so high that there is time for a parachute to deploy, fill with air and allow for a safe landing. Ejector seats in the 1950s worked by means of an explosive charge. There was a limit to how strong the explosion could be. If too much force was used injury to the spine could result that might prove fatal. In the 1950s ejector seats were designed to only propel one up high enough so that he could avoid collision with the tail of the plane as it passed beneath him. Harry Schmitt ejected when he was right over the water and so never had a chance.
Does a big ego help or hurt writers?
I believe one has to have a big ego to think anyone would care a lick to read a single word one might write. I also think if a writer’s ego gets too big it could be damaging to her or his career. We need to realize that publishers of periodicals and books hold all the power. Failure to do this could cause a writer to be labeled “difficult.”
What is your writing kryptonite?
My cat. I will never forget having read in the acknowledgments of a book a writer who wrote something along the lines of, “I must acknowledge my two cats without whom my book would have been finished much quicker.
Do you Google yourself?
I hold any writer who answers no to this question is lying. (See my answer to the big ego question above.)
What do you think about the e-book revolution?
The fear of publishers has long been that if a book doesn’t sell booksellers would return remainders that a publisher would be stuck with and couldn’t sell. Since e-books are not printed they lessen the risk inherent in publishing a book. In theory, this should mean that more books get published. This is great for publishers, writers and readers. I read one estimate that 40% of all book sales are e-books. I think there will come a time when we view people who buy paper books like we now view those who purchase vinyl records.
Where can we find you online?
Facebook: Patrick A. Bowmaster
Facebook Author’s Page: Patrick Bowmaster’s Author Page
“Not long after dawn on June 30, 1905, an elderly, wealthy farmer named William Pleasant “Pleas” Burns and his houseguest of the previous several days, Edward “Ed” Hubbard, walked a short distance to Burns’s Ferry on the Spring River, about two miles north of the town of Black Rock, in Lawrence County, Arkansas.
Burns unlocked the skiff that served as his ferryboat and he and Hubbard began boarding. A loud bark resounded from under the stairs to the backdoor of the farmhouse. It was Jim, a little, scraggly black-and-white mutt, the farmer’s loyal companion. He had just awoken, bounded down to the water and attempted to join the men on the boat.
“Don’t let’s take the dog,” said Hubbard, giving poor Jim a kick. “He might follow me after we get across and get lost.”
It was Jim’s usual practice to accompany his master when passengers were ferried across the river. He had done so on countless occasions. But the kick deterred him, and as the skiff left the riverbank, he remained behind. Jim’s whimpering betrayed the fact that he was not at all happy about this. Twice, the scrappy little canine dove into the river and swam toward the boat. Both times Hubbard drove him off.
As the ferryboat neared the midpoint of the Spring River, Burns was on his feet when Hubbard moved toward him from behind. With a shove he attempted to force the farmer into the water. Burns fell forward, a portion of his body in the water and the remainder in the skiff. His life in jeopardy, he tried to right himself. But the twenty-one-year-old Hubbard was nearly fifty years younger than the feeble, elderly man and had little difficulty grabbing Burns by both feet and flipping him over the side into the river.”