In The Beginning…
I began writing in my early teens, and after a couple of years saw my first published piece in October 1989 (a word-search puzzle, since you ask). Hooked from then on in, I spent as much of my free time writing as I could. Fifteen years later, in January 2004, I did something that every writing book on the planet tells you not to do—I jacked in the day job and became a full-time writer. Well, if you don’t try, you’ll never find out, will you?
At the age of 14 I wrote to several famous writers asking for their advice, which included:
● Don’t—become a brain surgeon instead, it’s easier. (Alan Bleasdale – The Monocled Mutineer, The Boys from the Blackstuff)
● Never give up. (John Sullivan – Only Fools and Horses)
● Draw on what’s around you. (Alan Ayckbourn – A Chorus of Disapproval, Absurd person Singular, Bedroom Farce)
Looking back, I wholeheartedly concur will all of those. Becoming a Brain Surgeon would probably have taken less than 15 years. Nor did I give up, which is how I came to get my first book published. (Nothing surprised me more than when the publishers of my first book, 100 Ways For A Dog To Train Its Human, were forced to print 100,000 copies in the run up to Christmas 2003, such was its success.) And I’ve certainly drawn upon what’s around me – how else do you think I wrote a book about banking, another about applying for community grants, one about running a writers’ circle and yet another about walking in the Welsh borders?
After spending eight years working for Barclays Bank in south-west London, the Welsh borders beckoned, where the summer of 1997 was spent settling in. The last months of that year saw me employed in the local offices of the DSS for three months, before moving on to the Rural Development Commission for six months.
From there, the Community & Economic Development Unit of Herefordshire Council beckoned between July 1998 and January 2004.
In the meantime I kept sending out the articles and other ideas, with more and more success, becoming a regular contributor to Country Walking magazine’s ‘Down Your Way’ section (now called Britain’s Best Walks). In September 2003, Hodder & Stoughton published 100 Ways For A Dog To Train Its Human. Re-organisation at Herefordshire Council at the same time seemed to be fate suggesting that perhaps now was the time to have a crack at this writing game full time. So, in January 2004, I did just that.
So there we have it. My writing journey so far. And like many writers, I couldn’t have got this far without the help and support of a couple of other organisations, including the Society of Authors, the Outdoor Writers & Photographers Guild and the Alliance of Independent Authors.
As you explore my website you might also spot that I dabble behind the camera too. (Check out the Photography section.) I’m not, though, happy about being in front of a camera, although some people have successfully caught me unaware, as my Facebook page testifies. (Note to self: must try harder.)