All About Me
Well, perhaps not all...!
Born in Penzance in 1967. From the age of about three I was probably dreaming of writing for Doctor Who. Certainly it wasn't a case of just watching it: I'd go to bed with all sorts of adventures and story possibilities buzzing around in my head. From the age of eleven, I knew, whenever any aunts and uncles asked the "What do you want to do when you grow up?" question, the stock replies of jet pilot, train driver, astronaut were never going to be good enough for me. "I want to be a writer", I always said.
By then, I was as avid a writer as a reader and I'd be scribbling all those adventures and story possibilities down, and not just Doctor Who any more: I'd branched out, developing all sorts of wonderful creations of my own. (Many now thankfully lost in the mists of time!) At school, I'd delight in exploring the most fantastic interpretation of whatever essay title my English teacher would hand out, and presenting her with the resulting (usually sci-fi!) adventure. It was also at school, among like-minded friends, that I discovered role-playing games - a hobby where I could inflict my creations and adventures on others. Talk about a vocational pastime.
And all this continued to grow and develop as I was studying a fairly broad mix of English literature, history, art and computer science. So, safe to say, much of my time was based firmly in fantasy, with reality intruding frequently enough to get me through a HND course in Computer Studies and, eventually, land me a career in software engineering.
Since then I've worked variously as a programmer, for a handful of different firms and running my own business, and as a part-time lecturer in IT at the local college. But that was all essentially part of the background, a means to an end, because through it all (apart from, perhaps, a stultifying spell in Bracknell - a sort of monochromatic industrial park Legoland not far from London) the love of writing remained.
After which, to revive my soul and imagination, I travelled halfway around the world. Overland, a.k.a. the interesting way. And, refreshed with a whole new set of experiences - of France, Italy, Austria, Hungary, Czechoslovakia (as it was then), the Soviet Union (as it was then), China and Hong Kong - I resolved to a) save up and travel some more and b) really make something of those dreams of mine. Not necessarily in that order.
In about 1993, Virgin Publishing, who had been producing Doctor Who New Adventures, featuring the seventh Doctor (Sylvester McCoy) for some time, launched a new range of Missing Adventures (MAs), featuring the past Doctors and slotting books in alleged gaps in the TV episode continuity. More to the purpose they had quite an open policy on unsolicited material. So it was then I set aside the 'great sf novel' I had been writing, and started to submit proposals for Doctor Who MAs. Repeatedly.
They kept coming back. But with encouraging responses from different editors. Chiefly with regards to characterization and prose and the like. There were just some niggling story points that would always result in a rejection. Even though, naturally, they were all far better than any of the ones being published. :)
Anyway, persistence was the key. Persistence and the small matter of landing the right story on the right editor's desk. I continued working on my own original material, occasionally summoning the courage to make a submission to a "real" publisher and/or "real" agent, but at the same time I knew that Doctor Who was a an avenue worth exploring time and time again. If only because I had a practically endless supply of 'great ideas' for Doctor Who tales.
It was when the Doctor Who franchise reverted to BBC Books, and a different set of editors, that the future started to look brighter. First, with a story accepted by the then editor, Steve Cole, for the second of the BBC's Doctor Who: Short Trips short story collections (published in 1999). And second, with Drift, my debut novel, commissioned by current range editor and creative consultant, Justin Richards, and published in a positively warm and glowing February, 2002.
And since then I have begun to realise some of those childhood dreams and ambitions. But just as the ideas keep on coming, there are always plenty more where they came from...
The rest, as they say, is history. It's just that much of it has yet to happen!
For a little further insight, check out the following interviews done for other websites:
Where I live:
You are what you eat, they say. And surely a little of you is where you live. So here's the kind of view I'm treated to every day, which perhaps will give some idea why I live in such a remote corner of the world. :)
Looking left along the seafront...
...and looking right.
And a shot of St Michaels Mount.
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