Stephen Bowman, born January 16, 1948, grew up on a farm in rural Iowa with his parents and three older siblings. Perhaps it was merely the result of being the youngest, or maybe there was always a certain charisma and wisdom about Stephen. It could be that growing up in a world apart from the hustle and bustle of city life gave him a different perspective on the world that has allowed him the creativity necessary to become a published author.
After high school, he attended the University of Nebraska where he studied Journalism and Marketing.
He has two adult children from his first marriage, as well as 4 grandchildren. Though they live in different states, he remains close and is proud of their accomplishments. Stephen has survived many trials and tribulations throughout his life and used these experiences to become a better person and a more astute observer of life. He says he is fortunate that readers kind of like it when their writers have a few callouses and bruises. “When I write about pain and suffering, I think it shows I have had plenty of both. And when I write about fantastic success, it shows I have had that as well.” The trick, Bowman says, is to keep life in perspective. Both pain and joy will come and go, so it’s important to take them both in stride and to keep a good sense of humor. For example, people are surprised when he says he and his second wife had to get a divorce for health reasons. “She said I made her sick to her stomach,” he laughs. “To be fair, she married a multi-millionaire and divorced a struggling writer. People make their choices.”
Bowman earned over $20 million a year writing direct response advertising campaigns for Fortune 500 companies, but his love was on the literary side and, as a child of the Sixties Generation, he has an earnest desire for his creative efforts to change and improve the world.
His writings have always held special insight. His first book, “Morning Ran Red”, was a historical-fiction account of a 1912 unsolved mass murder that happened in Villisca, Iowa. Years of intensive research continue to support Bowman’s conclusion. He first became interested in this story as a child when his grandmother, who was a little girl when it happened, would tell him stories about the terrible tragedy along with all the local gossip about who really did what to who and why.
His next fiction-based-on-fact book was “Operation Monarch”, about a chilling global conspiracy of child abuse and Washington political intrigue. He became friends with the former CIA Director William Colby while researching “Operation Monarch”, and this association became invaluable when he started his next book to forewarn the world of the coming Age of Terrorism.
“When the Eagle Screams” was the first nonfiction book by an American writer to warn that the Age of Terrorism had arrived. It predicted terrorist acts, our arrogant response, and the tragic outcome of our failure to recognize the trends or understand their causes. “In most cases, if you have a few basic facts, you can pretty much predict their natural progression. But can you take that information to change things that change the outcome?” Bowman said the spread of terrorism flashed in his mind when he heard that Pan Am 103 had exploded over Scotland, on its way to the United States.
Bowman felt his world disintegrate when he watched each of the chapters in his terrorism book come to life with such tragic accuracy. The first World Trade Center bomb. Oklahoma City. 911. The US invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq. The kicking off of what might be a two hundred year war. Thousands of Americans have died along with hundreds of thousands worldwide, just as Bowman had said they would.
“It drove me crazy. Still does. I die a little each time I turn on the news. I felt like such a failure. I took the book on a nationwide tour, but I still take blame for all those deaths because had I been a better speaker, a more effective campaigner, maybe I could have changed all this terrorism stuff way back then on Day One. It’s ironic because my introverted ways led me to writing, but I needed to turn on some extroverted magnetism that just wasn’t there. I have often said that I wished I would have contacted some famous celebrity or politician and convinced them to put their name on my book and I would just be a ghostwriter. Maybe then it would have saved lives.” Bowman says he is still concerned because there are more predictions in his book that have not yet happened, but soon will.
After a three-year bout with depression, Bowman formed a new company that was designed to help entrepreneurs start businesses that would address many of the country’s problems. Within a few months twenty-six companies had agreed to come under the organization’s financial umbrella. Their combined business plans called for an investment of $160 million, which Bowman committed to procure. This was the beginning of a tragic chapter in Bowman’s life. Publicity about his new company attracted a woman who said she would provide the $160 million. This, combined with some deviant scammers from Texas who raised millions of dollars from investors claiming that Bowman was a financial wizard and close, personal friend of Warren Buffet, resulted in Bowman being attached to a federal investigation, coerced to accept a plea bargain, and endure a three year stint in federal prison.
“I witnessed horrible things in prison. My time in a prisoner warehouse in Florida was a modern-day version of Cool Hand Luke. Rape. Murder. Suicide. And that was all in the first week. But those three years of hell contain some of my favorite memories. Every day I marveled at the resiliency of the human spirit, but also the brutality and senselessness of our criminal justice system.”
Bowman started to write a book about the prison experience. When the guards discovered it, it was confiscated and Bowman was thrown into solitary confinement as punishment. If the warehouse was hell, solitary confinement in Pinnellas County, Florida was something below hell. “It was like being locked in an insane asylum with no guards or supervision. People were dumped there and forgotten.”
All of these life experiences have resulted in four new books that are coming out as they reach completion. The “Book of Qua” is based on the prison experience in Florida.”My Good Friend Warren Buffet” is the working title of a memoir. “Beacon House Blues” is the title of a story about the collapse of a giant insurance company in Chicago caught up in fraud, sibling rivalry and organized crime. “Circus Ole” is about illegal immigration. “The Veterinarian’s Helper” is a coming of age novel in a rural town in Iowa. And, finally, “The Witches of Berkeley” is a novel that might best be described as Bowman’s version of “The Prince of Tides”. It spans a fifty-year period of Sixties generation college friends finding their way in a complex world.
Stephen lives in rural Iowa to complete his new writings and continue freelance writing.