Whatever my other shortcomings, unlike Eric Morecambe, I have spent most of my life coming up with words and putting them in the right order. I’ve written practically everything in my time (some of it voluntarily). After 20 years in Whitehall, producing anything from public pamphlets to troublesome Government Ministers’ speeches, I am now a self-employed copy writer. (The commute is better, but the boss is a right cow).
But my heart is in fiction. Having written something resembling 35 novels in my teens (we’ve all been there) I have finally been able to return to my first love of storytelling with A Beautiful Noise.
I suppose the thread that runs through my writing is ‘what lies beneath’ – the things we do not say, the truths we hide. In fiction, as in real life, I am most interested in our flaws and fears, and our honest struggles with the, largely unseen, psychological and emotional challenges of this life. I have become a bit of an expert in fear over the years – I am a lifelong sufferer of anxiety and have a PhD in stage fright. Both are a profound inconvenience, but it does, perhaps, give me a deeper understanding of people, and I am drawn to writing which balances plot and character with plenty of insights into our human condition. My characters are flawed and lost, but they evolve and find their way – in the end – with a little help, and a little humour. Whatever their shortcomings, I like to bring them to a place of hope.
In that, I am a great believer in the healing power of humour, and a little larger than life escapism. There is always room in my books for both, and always room in my life for a Downton Abbey or a Richard Curtis film. And the best self-help book I have ever read is by Jimmy Carr.
When I’m not writing, I sing, play the drums and grow vegetables. I live in rural Herefordshire, on the border of England and Wales, with my partner and a deaf cat called Malcolm. I am currently learning Welsh and lip reading… Neither has made any impact on Malcolm.