Howard Sounes was born in London in 1965 and worked as a national newspaper journalist from 1983-1997, principally in Britain, but also in Australia and the United States, latterly for the (London) Daily Mirror. In 1994, whilst working as a news reporter for the Sunday Mirror, Sounes broke the first major story about mass-murderers Fred and Rosemary West. Between them, this married couple murdered at least twelve women and young girls, including members of their own family, and buried human remains under their home in Gloucester. He went on to write a book about the case, Fred & Rose (Warner Books, 1995), my first biographical book.
After Fred & Rose Sounes released Charles Bukowski: Locked in the Arms of a Crazy Life (Grove, 1998), about the iconoclastic American poet and novelist Charles Bukowski (1920-1994) who wrote vividly and wittily about the underbelly of American society, followed by Bukowski in Pictures (Rebel, Inc., 2000), a complimentary book of photographs, documents and other illustrations. The year after, Sounes released Down the Highway: The Life of Bob Dylan (Grove, 2001), which told the story of Dylan’s remarkable life clearly and concisely, based on new research material and interviews, without getting bogged down in song-analysis.
As Sounes remarks, “There is nothing to link my subjects—the Wests, Bukowski and Dylan. Diversity in the subject matter is intentional. I want to be free to write about a wide variety of subjects and, by switching around, I aim to avoid becoming perceived as a specialist. Because I wrote a book about Bob Dylan does not necessarily mean I want to write about other apparently similar rock stars such as Neil Young, for example. I do not. Yet there are books I would like to write about painters, architects, even sportsmen. Each time one tackles a new subject, especially in an area where does not have a track record, the obstacles are formidable, of course, and there were times during the researching and writing of all my books when I felt like giving up because it was so difficult. Yet a challenge brings out the best in one. Also, to try something new is exhilarating and, ultimately, an education.”