NOTL real estate broker now a published author

By Penny Coles, Niagara Advance

Chris Bowron, holding up his first book, released March 1, already has a publishing deal for a second.

Chris Bowron, holding up his first book, released March 1, already has a publishing deal for a second.

After a two-year process that included writing and extensive editing, Niagara-on-the-Lake real estate broker Chris Bowron can hold his first published book in his hands and look at all the possibilities for the future.


He's not about to give up his real estate career, but he already has a deal to publish a second book, and is savouring the favourable reviews of his fast-paced thriller that includes a touch of the paranormal, a little bit of sex, some football and politics combining to offer spell-binding suspense.

It even has, as one review says, "a strong dose of Stephen King horror thrown in for good measure," producing the kind of tale that calls out for a sequel, and "perhaps an action-packed movie as well."

Pretty heady words for a first-time author.

"It's impossible to know what to expect from here," says Bowron, who acknowledges he might just have got lucky with his first book, Devil in the Grass, but at the same time can't help hoping for a future that will include best sellers to help him ease into retirement 15 or so years from now.

In the meantime, he's just delighted when someone tells him they've read his book and liked it.

Writing a novel has been on his bucket list for a while, says the 50-year-old, who has been selling real estate for 27 years.

And it was bound to be a quickly-moving thriller, since that's what he likes to read.

About two years ago, he began sitting down at his computer late at night when the rest of the family was asleep, writing a few hundred words at a stretch. It doesn't take long to get a book done at that rate, and then he hired an editor to go through it, correcting grammar and taking out what wasn't necessary to move the story along.

It is set in southwest Florida, with a plot that revolves around the Clean Water Bill, a very real political issue that has been big in the Fort Myers Beach area, where the Bowrons have a vacation home.

The Everglades also provide a dark and frightening setting - an ideal place to bury dead bodies, Bowron decided one day when driving through the area.

"I love real estate, but it doesn't always give you the opportunity to be creative. This was a completely different kind of challenge. I've written a few short stories that didn't go anywhere, and I really didn't like them. My wife Carmen said 'why don't you finish one and see what happens.'"

What happened was interest from Koehler Books, a small publishing company that bought the book and took it through another six edits - almost as tough, if not tougher, than the writing, says Bowron.

Although there are 1,000 copies in print, online sales now are expected to make up about 90 per cent of total sales, and his book, released March 1, has sold more than 2,000 copies, he said.

Koehler has already made a deal for a second book, as long as it's of equal quality, he says. And the second book, this one about illegal organ trafficking, set in the U.S. and Mexico, is almost finished.

He's also been asked for a sequel to Devil in the Grass, and it's in the works as well - another thriller called The Senator, which involves the paranormal as well and the same main character.

Bowron will be at the Old Niagara Bookshop on Regent St. in Niagara-on-the-Lake Thursday, March 24, from 4 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. for a book signing.


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