Robert J. Fanshawe and “The Cellist’s Friend”

AuthorHouse welcomes Robert J. Fanshawe to Author’s Digest! An ex-British Royal Marines officer, Robert is the author of the World War I novel  The Cellist’s Friend (the first book in a planned trilogy), as well as three plays. He lives with his family in London.


Robert, please tell our readers a bit about yourself.


For my whole life I have been interested in literature and studied it as a mature student at Exeter University, England. During my former service in the British Royal Marines I developed a desire to write novels. My profession, family (one of my uncles was killed in the First World War), and a love of war poetry led me to the WWI era. The centenary of the war gave me the opportunity to write about it, starting with plays and then developing into novels.


How would you describe your book, The Cellist’s Friend?


The Cellists FriendMy novel, The Cellist’s Friend, is the journey of Ben, a soldier. He seeks to redeem his perception of his own cowardice for not revealing the details of an incident that led to his cello-playing soldier friend being unjustly court martialed and shot for desertion. All of us have regrets in life over our mistakes and shortcomings. In war, these are heightened because they often lead to the death of others.


In this case, his friend played his cello and the firing squad sang a song of the poem Invictus  before they shot him, which seems a victory for his friend and leads Ben to seek redemption through a discovery of poetry. Through letters, he also meets and falls in love with Pearl, the widow of the soldier who rescues him from a near-fatal war wound.


As Ben finally recovers enough to return to home duty, Pearl unexpectedly arrives in London; however, their love faces racial prejudice and Ben needs to confront the terrible grief of his friend’s parents to realize his redemption.


What’s the one message you’d like to convey to readers through your book?


There can be hope in the worst situations, and that hope can be enhanced by art.




We’ll present the conclusion of our interview with Robert J. Fanshawe next week. His novel  The Cellist’s Friend is available at Amazon and the AuthorHouse Bookstore.


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