In the beginning was the word. No, that one’s been done. But it’s still true. I’m interested in a lot of things, guitars, chickens, food, bicycles, sometimes in combinations but not altogether.
I’ve done a lot of different things. A Sociology degree when the entire ethos of Sociology was being thrown onto the bonfire of market forces. I taught kids to shoot in Wisconsin and hunted Hunter Thompson in Woody Creek. I didn’t drive through the desert on a horse with no name but I did actually drive through it in a 1972 Chevrolet I bought out of a barn for $200. I’ve worked in business research for 20 years and that took me to New York, Sydney, Hong Kong, Limassol, Oslo and Gothenburg as well as an emergency ward when it gave me multiple deep vein thrombosis.
I’ve invented software programmes and discovered there’s a difference between that and actually writing them. I’ve done that twice. And I write. If I don’t it’s a wasted day. I’ve written two TV scripts that broadcast early in 2013 and a screenplay which was pitched to Cascade. I forgot the blindingly-obvious middle part because I’d written it. Will know for next time.
As of the beginning of September I’ve become a broadcaster, with the Lifeboat Party community radio show going out on www.radiocastle.com . It’s a magazine format, which means it’s full of everything I can think of in it. So far there have been interviews with local people doing all kinds of things from writing film scores to running pubs, estate agents, actors and a dark light artist. Stay tuned, as we broadcasters say. Up next, this. And so on.
I get diverted into blind alleys of obsession. I can lose a week getting interested in a pair of shoes, or a solar still, or how to build a wood-burning stove out of old gas canisters without building a DIY backyard weapon of self-destruction.
Sometimes it makes a good story.
I was born in 1959. There. I’ve said it now. I spent two years deep in the English heartlands in Stratford on Avon before I almost grew up in Wiltshire, where Not Your Heart Away is set. That Wiltshire is long gone, buried under a sea of retail parks. I’m going back in a couple of weeks to take a look, half-afraid. I worked as a riflery instructor, short-order chef in a converted stagecoach in the Rockies, washer-up in the Sinai desert, guest lecturer, freelance journalist, business researcher and script-writer in the US, UK, Europe and Scandinavia, Australia and Hong Kong.
After living in Cardiff, Southampton, Bath, Wiltshire and London I live in Suffolk with chickens and canoes and bicycles and guitars. I’ve written magazine articles, TV scripts, the post-war play Unfinished as well as the first novel, A Day For Pyjamas.
I’d like to take the opportunity to announce I am totally fed-up with reading books about Yummy Mummies and the angst of the school-run, anything pink where she marries a pop star who always knew she was the one but thought she was only after his money but she’s been left a huge amount she invested in a local organic jam-making business, the SAS or couples who live in London. Hence the book. What happens if you’re not in a couple? Or you don’t come from London? Or somehow, the person you thought was the one just vanishes before you’ve worked out how to make it happen? Obviously, it’s fiction. Obviously.
Not Your Heart Away is the second obsessive-compulsive novel-based attempt to get that girl from school to acknowledge my existence just once, before one of them dies or something. It’s getting some cracking reviews.
No Batteries Required is the first radio play ever written about a bankrupt chicken farmer who decides to kill a celebrity chef campaigning for animal rights, which all goes unexpected when he kidnaps the Prime Minister by accident and discovers the Ministerial tattoo.