My earliest memory is being useless at just about everything, especially school. I became used to being put safely at the back of the class to gather dust and make way for brighter and more gifted children. It was a strange introduction to learning and when I look back now, I wonder how some teachers of such young minds could have so little patience. But away from school my childhood was full of adventure and imagination. Many of the stories that now occupy my mind can trace their roots back to the games my older brother and I would play across the carpets of our bedrooms. It would take me several hours to march my army down the passage to do battle with his…of course being the older brother he seemed to win most of these battles. We had many great games and life was good outside school.
At age nine or ten things at school seemed to gradually improve; I was diagnosed with dyslexia and received special tutoring one day a week when the headmaster begrudgingly allowed me to leave class to visit a teacher who cared and knew just how to explain things to me. At the same time I found myself in the class of a rather unique teacher. He seemed to throw away the rulebooks by which my early education had been governed and instead read exciting stories about ancient Greece. He also spotted that although I lacked in most subjects, my creative writing wasn’t half bad. Before long I was writing a story about a man in search of an abducted princess. It wasn’t the easiest story to write since I decided to give the reader the opportunity to pick his or her own path through the story. Each chapter ended with a cliff-hanger and gave the reader two choices and two pages to turn to as a result...this led to multiple plot threads and many alternative endings!
Speaking of choices, mine took me away from writing for a long time, although in one way or another it somehow crept back into my life without me realising. I became a typical straight out of school teenager with poor grades and no clue about what I wanted to do in life. I fumbled through several jobs until I finally decided to do something drastic…to join the Royal Navy. I could almost write an entire book about the RN, but for now let’s just say I had some of the best and worst days of my life on Her Majesty’s ships. I am glad I did it, and I wouldn’t swap my experiences for the world. For one thing, during this time of floating around the world a light was switched back on inside me and I began to write fiction once more.
I left the Royal Navy after four and a half years service and soon found work back in London. Several more years and several more jobs passed by and I had built up quite a collection of ideas and stories in my spare time. Then one day on a trip to renew my passport I finally realised that my ideas would always remain just ideas, unless I devoted my time to committing them to paper. It has not been an easy road and at times I thought it impossible, in fact a part of me still does, that part of me is still the little boy at the back of the class gathering dust, but against all the odds here I am! I simply hope you enjoy the stories that have been inspired by everything from battles on carpets to adventures at sea - each one some thirty years in the making.
- The Warspite Series: The Witch and the Dark Arts (2015)
- The Warspite Series: The Godling (2013)