Robert Oliver“Playing Cards in a Hurricane” is Robert’s first book which has been 40 years in the making.

“The book describes events that happened in 1983 and writing it so many years later would have been impossible had I not kept the yacht’s logbook (the diary of events written-up every three hours, right through those 72 days) and taken a huge number of photos on the voyage. Most usefully, I wrote up many pages of scrappy notes less than a month after I returned home, whilst everything was still fresh in my mind and then kept them for decades.

It took until 2014, when I joined a creative writing class led by Janey Hewitt, to be inspired enough to turn those notes into this book.

Even then, it took another 8 years to do the last 10% – the editing and designing the book cover – before being able to finally publish it.”

Looking back to those events, Robert remains grateful for the experience. “We had a very tough time and we were lucky to survive. That said, I look back on my time onboard as a really formative experience and I learned things about myself that have helped in the toughest times since. It made me pretty resilient. And I remember the real companionship and the mad humour that got us through, which is a major theme in the book.”

Robert enrolled in college on his return from Greece and became a software developer. His career in IT took him from the City of London, to eastern Europe immediately after the fall of the Berlin Wall, to the States, to Singapore, Australia and Asia. Robert spent several years living on the Malvern Hills, a designated ‘area of outstanding natural beauty’ in Worcestershire, England and now lives in Bristol. He is making plans to live by the sea one day and get back to the salt sea air, the starlit night skies and the vivid sunsets.

He is now starting work on his second book, a novel, which he hopes will take less time than “Playing Cards in a Hurricane” took to write.