At the time of writing, I’m 45 years old and from a town 10 miles North of Newcastle. Technically I’m a Northumbrian which is something I take great pride in…and something that I think sounds rather brutish. I have 2 beautiful children who are always there to bring me down to earth if ever I get full of myself.
At present writing isn’t my full-time job. I hope it soon will be though. Writing is my release. It is where I allow my mind to wander and create the strangest of ideas and thoughts which I hope will bring my stories and books alive.
Sadly in this day and age, acts of pure evil and barbarity are a common if not a daily occurrence. We are now not shocked at some of the things that happen and get reported. As a writer, this is great for me. It opens up a whole new world of possibilities for me. I’m fascinated by the new and darker sides of evil and the challenges they bring with reference to crime-solving and the effect these have on the everyday person. I have plans for many future books and stories that I hope to develop.
I have worked all my adult life in the Oil and Gas industry. Starting out on the River Tyne and lately working overseas in China and Azerbaijan (where I am currently writing my second novel in my apartment). I have met many unique and interesting characters, witnessed so many unbelievable scenes and heard the wildest of stories. Bringing this history and knowledge into my writing is something that I hope will entertain my readers.
As a child, I was an avid book reader. Which boy did not enjoy the likes of the Hardy Boys? In my teens, my reading preferences changed to follow stories of world war 2 (A passion shared with my late father). Sven Hassel’s gritty accounts of life in a German Penal regiment enthralled me with his tales from the Russian Front. For a few years after that, I did not read….ashamedly I was preoccupied with girls, parties and pubs. When I was twenty, for some reason I was drawn into WH Smith where after an hours browsing I left with two Jack Higgins’s Novels purchased. Once I read The Eagle has Landed (What an amazing and exciting story – even now I think about the possible truths to the tale), that was it, I was hooked again and I’ve never looked back since.
I mainly read British Crime and Thriller authors but there are a small number of US authors that I have begun to admire and follow also.
My Hobbies and Interests
Sport – I have always loved sport. In the UK my favourite sports activities were football, running, swimming and climbing. Running I did not get into properly until later in my life (Late 30’s) and is something Id recommended to everyone…After all, it is free. It is great for weight loss and helping with stress. I will never for the euphoria I experienced when I completed my first half marathon. Climbing, I miss a lot out here in Azerbaijan. I love battling against the elements of the Lake District in the winter however my favourite climb ever was over 20 years ago when my Cousin and I climbed Table Mountain in SA in the roasting heat. Due to my ageing body telling me to slow down my exercise is now restricted to squash, swimming and walking.
Cooking – Now I don’t mind admitting I’m pretty good in the kitchen. I am often told I’m very messy in the kitchen.. but you can’t have it all. I have loved cooking since I was very young and especially enjoy trying out new dishes. After a hard week, there is nothing more relaxing than cooking away in the kitchen, a glass of white wine in hand listening to some good music. I prefer to cook Indian, Asian, Italian and Mexican food (I love Spice) and have recently discovered the easiest tastiest recipe for Nan Breads ever which I may share on a blog one day.
Television – I am a massive fan of UK drama and thrillers series. I think we are streets ahead of other countries when it comes to hard-hitting and gripping shows. Yes the US have high budgets and crazy plots but for me, there is nothing more enthralling or frightening than watching something terrifying or disturbing unfold knowing full well that it could easily happen to you. The Likes of Luther, Happy Valley, Line of Duty and the more recent Peaky Blinders lay testament to this.
Comedy – Again I am more into UK comedy than overseas attempts at our comedy style. I have a dark humour and the list of my current top 5 comedies will show that. For those of you who haven’t tried out any Scottish comedies, I advise you to check out the following which does not include my number 1 comedy of all time (Chewin the Fat, Burnistoun, Dear Green Place, Happy Holidays).
- Still Game
- Not Going Out
- Toast of London
- The IT Crowd
I have had the story for A Step into Darkness in my head for two years now. Whilst working in Baku Azerbaijan for something to do on an evening I decided to put a few words down to see how it could pan out. Before I knew it the story just unfolded out in front of me and I’ve been dedicating as much time as I can in completing the dreaded first draft. For me, it’s not just the writing that excites me. I love all the planning and research that goes into writing a novel. Researching new information has always appealed to me but things like plotting, outlining, storyboarding, inventing twists, character and relationship building were all brand new to me but something I have really enjoyed.
I got carried away with the flow and blasted out nearly 30 thousand words before I stopped and constructively reviewed what I’d written. I nearly vomited at some of the drivel I had written. After seeking recommendations I signed up with the Writers Workshop and completed their online Full Novel Writing Course.
This was a major turning point for me and the improvement to my writing has been massive, to say the least. I also joining their Word Cloud which is a forum for writers of all levels. Every month I enter their writing competitions and enjoy the challenge at writing about a subject I know nothing about. I really can’t thank Harry Bingham and the team at the Writers Workshop enough for allowing me to develop my craft.
If I can inspire anyone to start to write their first novel I recommend you check these guys out. Go on you can do it. Trust me. I Believe everyone has at least one good book inside of them.
Now the book occupies my mind a lot. Don’t get me wrong this isn’t stressful in any way. Its what I’ve always dreamed off. I now have a notebook by my bed for when ideas come to me just as I’m dropping off to sleep. I carry a Dictaphone in case of unexpected inspiration, Notes is the most used app on my phone and I regularly check the news and internet for the latest crimes, murders and police investigation procedure changes.
For anyone interested in writing or thinking of pursuing a career in writing I would recommend the following resources:
Pinterest – Brilliant site. I check this daily for blogs and information on all sorts of writing information from advice, writing styles to word selection and use.
The Word Cloud – A friendly and helpful online community that covers all aspects of the writing process.
talktofrank.com – A very in-depth and user-friendly website that I used to research drug addiction. Up to date with all of the latest drugs out there on our streets.
Stuart Gibson – A retired Senior Police officer who now acts as a authors consultant – Through this guy, my book grew arms and legs and advanced my story into areas I had not originally planned. Also author of one of the recommended books to read below
The Crime Writers Casebook by Stephen Wade and Stuart Gibson
Writing a Novel and Getting Published for Dummies by George Green and Lizzy Kermer
Crime Writing Masterclass – Writing Crime Fiction by Rosemary Rowe
218 Facts a Writer needs to Know About the Police by Kevin N Robinson
On Writing – A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King
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