I was born in 1961 in Billericay in Essex (Ian Drury's got a lot to
answer for), had an uneventful childhood and an inadequate and detestable
schooling. My love of the strange began with, as it does with so many
children, on my hearing The Hobbit, and a later reading of Lord
of the Rings. It also helped that my parents (a school teacher and
a lecturer in applied mathematics) were also SF afficionados.
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 I 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 I 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
After three years with this company, by which time I was programming
computerised 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. To date I have had stories
accepted by a large proportion of British small press SF and fantasy
magazines. As to larger works: my most notable success has been the
publication of my novellas Mindgames: Fool's Mate by Gordon McGregor's
Club 199, and The Parasite and The Engineer by Tanjen.
I have also had my SF novella Africa Zero serialized in Threads,
and a short story collection called Runcible Tales published
by Piper's Ash.
But the best news to date is that Pan Macmillan
have published my novels Gridlinked, The Skinner, The
Line of Polity and Cowl, with Brass Man to follow
in April 2005. Watch this space.
Elsewhere in infinity plus:
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