I was born in Audenshaw, a suburb to the east of Manchester, England, and my birth was followed almost immediately by the outbreak of World War 2. My Father was in the Merchant Navy and was in the forefront of the war at sea, spending time as a prisoner of war. As a result of his absence, I was almost three years old before he saw me for the first time. In those days, seamen were away from home for much longer periods than seems acceptable in these more enlightened times, so most of my childhood was spent under the influence of my Mother and Grandmother, with Dad making only occasional appearances.
Despite the difficulties of the war years and the period immediately after, I had a very good childhood with all the benefits of those years, no television, no computers, no internet, and so we were forced to find our interests and amusement outside, using nothing more complicated than bats and balls and, later, bicycles and roller skates. It was during those early years that my passion for reading was encouraged, and some of my earliest memories are of walking to the little library in Audenshaw to pick up the latest W.E Johns tale about Biggles, the stiff upper lipped RAF pilot.
School years were mainly unhappy and unproductive for me. I never felt determined enough to excel in anything and spent most of my time doing just enough to get by. Leaving school in those days, the possibility of being a writer was not one that immediately sprang to mind; the people whose books I was reading seemed to be existing in a completely different world and so the natural thing to do for me, and most of my contemporaries, was to follow my father. So I embarked on a career in engineering, before following my Dad into the Merchant Navy. For several years, I was able to sail the oceans of the world, before eventually settling down to a lifetime working in the manufacturing industry and battling the perceived notion, popular at the time, that manufacturing was an outmoded concept and that banking and financial services were the way to untold riches for all. And we all know what happened to that idea!
My writing career began late in life and did not get fully underway until I retired from full time employment, which was when I began my first novel ‘A Small Betrayal’. The gestation of this occupied several years and taxed the patience of both family and friends, before reaching publication in 2012. Since then I have been more disciplined about my writing and the second book ‘Restitution’ took just less than twelve months to write. We have all heard the maxim that everyone has a book in them; the problem that I found was that when you eventually finally get down to it and put pen to paper, you never actually know if you have it in you to finish a book of, say, one hundred thousand words. There is a big difference between writing a couple of chapters and sustaining a story throughout the length of a novel; the only way to find out I suppose is to just do it.
The other factor when you are starting out, of course, is the difficulty of getting published. There seems little to be gained from committing to months of work if, at the end of it, your lovingly crafted tome is never going to get beyond the attention of the wife or the best friend. I was fortunate in that my writing career coincided with the development of the self-publishing phenomena, spearheaded by the Amazon Kindle e-reader (other e-readers are available), which has changed the nature of self-publishing from the despised ‘vanity press’ to a whole new democratised publishing landscape, where anyone can now make their work available to the whole world. It can not be over stated just how big a change this is to the complacent publishing world; you only have to see how many of the established publishing houses are now jumping on the self-publish bandwagon. Dare we imagine that, finally, the day when the writer is king is approaching?
With three children grown up and moved away, I now live quietly in Macclesfield, Cheshire with my wife, Fiona, and cat, Tansy.