I was born in 1961 in Billericay in Essex (Ian Dury's got a lot to answer for), had
an uneventful childhood and an inadequate and detestable schooling courtesy of the
comprehensive reform that would have us all equally uneducated. My love of the strange
began, as it does with so many children, with my hearing The Hobbit, and a later
reading Lord of the Rings. It also helped that my parents (a school teacher and a
lecturer in applied mathematics) were also SF aficionados.
I started writing SF and fantasy at the age of sixteen, perhaps motivated by a compliment
from my English teacher for a story I had written in class after an overdose of E.C.
Tubb books. On leaving school there was a hiatus of a few years while a grappled
with the adult world. During this time I worked with one of my three brothers for
a firm which made steel furniture, ran a card school, and for which it seemed the
prerequisites of employment were an ability to drink huge quantities, accept minimum
wages, and make tea. It went bankrupt not long after I left.
At my next place of employment operated a milling machine and was dispatched on day
release to do a Tech III course on 'Mechanical & Production Engineering'. While I
was at this company I began writing again and produced a fantasy book which is still
gathering dust amongst my other files. From this company I went with a breakaway
company which went through various ups and downs before collapse which, incidentally,
again came after I left. Okay, I'm a rat. At that time my only successes as far
as writing was concerned were to win a snack and sandwich toaster for a rhyme, and
five pounds for a story about adolescent suicide.
With my college paper I managed to get myself into a high-tech machining company.
I was twenty-five. Here was where I grew up and found direction. Firstly I began
to write more regularly, this mostly assisted by joining a writer's folio of which
I was a member for ten years. Secondly I took an English 'A' level (B pass) at night
school, mainly to prove a point to myself. Thirdly, I began karate lessons and am
now green belt (Useful, this, when writing fight scenes. It also means no one can
build houses on me).
After three years with this company, by which time I was programming computerized
machine tools, I left in the pursuit of more money. It was then that I began the
Hadrim fantasy trilogy, wrote the first version of Fool's Mate, and began seriously
to write short stories.
My next place of employment was a disaster and it was there I asked myself what I
really wanted out of life. I wanted to be a writer, and I had come to hate the sight
of factory walls and the smell of coolant oil. Again I left, this time to become
self-employed: cutting grass, tree felling, and hedging etc. This got me out in the
open air and left me much more time to write, and in the years that have followed
I have been gradually crawling up the writing ladder.
Sitting in my files now, I have the first book of another fantasy trilogy Creatures
of the Staff first book of The Infinite Willows, and a contemporary novel called
Frog Wine. In one deviation from my usual writing practice, I have written a script
for a three-part TV series called Trines, which is an amalgam of the strange and
the contemporary, and a one hour drama called The Executioner's Lie.
Up until 2000 the limit of my success had been stories accepted by a large proportion
of British small press SF and fantasy magazines, publication of my novellas Mindgames:
Fool's Mate by Gordon McGregor's Club 199, and The Parasite and The Engineer by Tanjen,
serialization of my SF novella Africa Zero in Threads, a short story collection called
Runcible Tales published by Piper's Ash.
Post 2000, things have changed. My expectation of being a lonely perpetually knackered
spare-time writer has been defeated. I am now married to Caroline and am a full-time
writer. Cosmos Books have brought out the two novellas Africa Zero and The Army of
God in one book under the title of the former. One of my 'synopses and samples' hit
at Pan Macmillan and they offered me a three-book contract. Pan have now published
many of the numerous books you'll find here, some if not all of which have been published
or are due to be published in America, Russia, Germany, France, Spain, Portugal,
Japan Czechoslovakia and Romania.