Born. 30th April 1954: Walpurgisnacht - the most evil night of the year, so I’m told. Please note: this was not my fault! Mother was a school dinner lady and a mother and a swimming champion at school, but not necessarily in that order. Father was a DIY fanatic, a fish-keeper, and a taxi driver, in that order. One sister. Six years older than me. Went to primary school. Liked Frank Richards’ Billy Bunter Books. Teacher read Alan Garner’s The Weirdstone of Brisingamen to us. Heavens opened and voice said WRITE! Wrote. Went to Strand Grammar School. Carried on writing. Teacher stopped me from reading Billy Bunter books. Swine! Considered to be “good” at art. Discovered music. Became habitual truant in last year. (Please note: I am not recommending this!) When intermittently at school, would be found in Sixth Form Common Room reading Lord Of The Rings over and over.
Wrote. Painted. Drew. Played music. Careers advisor suggested possible career as shop assistant or park-keeper. Left school with Five O Levels. (Old-fashioned UK exams that meant I could read and write.) Father allowed me two days off before going to work. Various clerical jobs followed to support writing habit, painting habit, drawing habit and playing music and listening to music habits. Discovered books by C S Lewis, A A Milne, Mervyn Peake, William Morris, E R Eddison, Michael Moorcock, etc. Discovered art by Duchamp, Picabia, Degas, various Pre-Raphaelites, Courbet, Blake, Turner and all of the DADA people. Discovered music by: Robin Williamson, Captain Beefheart, Frank Zappa, Mahler, Wagner, etc. (See Facebook for fuller list.) Retired into Civil Service. Appeared on TV on picket line in 1977.
Moved into Local Government, which is the same as the Civil Service, only with less travelling. Stayed for year. Left. Supported by then-girlfriend while I loafed about at home pretending to write. Wrote Lord Of The Rings. Discovered it had already been written. Drat! Wrote other stuff. Went to Middlesex Poly for a Diploma of Higher Education, majoring in Fine Art. Habitual truant over last year. (Please note: I am not recommending this!) Got Diploma of Higher Education.
On dole for year or so. Got married. (Different woman.) Wife sent me out to work in a dingy basement in Peckham, putting things into envelopes and then taking them out again. Appeared on Newsnight (UK news review programme), lumbering about with large sack of envelopes. Sent various books off to various publishers and agents. Got first book published in 1987.
Got divorced. Joined Amnesty International. Met second and final wife, Claudia, at Amnesty International AGM in Liverpool. Eyes met across crowded room. Lived together in mother’s front room for three months before strolling into huge flat in vast old house in Sydenham. Got married. Made redundant from Peckham basement on 2nd January 1992. Went self-employed as a writer November 1992. Making living from writing. Two cats: Merle Oberon and Siouxsie Sioux (AKA Siouxsie The Hun).
In September 2000, moved to the ancestral home in Herne Hill with wife and cats. Now have a garden. Ahhh! Bliss! Claudia became Sales Director of a company in New Covent Garden Market, selling fruit and vegetables to Hotels, Restaurants, Schools and Prisons (!) in the South East. The Wheel of Fortune finally turned to the extent that publishers wanted Fantasy books. (Thanks, J K Rowling - much obliged to her for opening the door for the rest of us!) Am now busy working on three different fantasy series at the same time. Managing this by typing one series with fingers, another with a separate keyboard operated by toes, and a special eye-blink device strapped to my forehead with which the third series is produced. I lie! I actually do it by alternating between The Faerie Path, Warrior Princess and The Sundered Lands.
In 2006, our beloved friend Merle died, but Siouxsie is still with us, a grand old lady of 16, although the vet says she looks as good as a 12 year old, which is nice to know.
Ambition is to live reclusively in old house on cliff-top in North Cornwall, preferably near Tintagel, while Claudia runs a cat sanctuary in back garden. All donations gratefully received.