Norfolk UK is my home, I live in Norwich by the River Wensum where everyday there is something different to enjoy: swans in flight (the rulers of the river,) raucous seagulls, Eric the Egyptian goose going about his business and all kinds of watercraft. Norwich is an ancient city, a city full of stories, in fact it is a UNESCO city of literature so the perfect place to live for any writer.
I feel a big affinity with the river as I grew up in Cambridge, another great river city. My childhood and teens involved many walks along the Cam where we would watch ‘The Bumps,’ raft races and as we grew older we enjoyed adventures on our punting pub crawls.
In March 2020 I moved to an apartment alongside the Wensum to live alone for the first time ever. During the first lockdown I began to write a diary and then the idea for a new set of short stories came to me and in February 2021 they will be published. The Covid-19 Pandemic is not just a scary virus, it is a historical time and here we are trying to live through it. To many it will feel like a punishment, and of course if I could turn back the clock and have it not happen, I would, but living through it has sparked my imagination again, and let’s face it, you have to take the positives where you can.
Growing up in a multi-cultural university city definitely influenced my reading choices, I am a big fan of Japanese fiction, love French literature (I once had a cat named Camus) and enjoy Shakespeare. As a young teen I entertained myself with Jilly Cooper and Dick Francis and then became quite obsessed with Henri Charriere’s Papillon. At school all I cared about was English, Art and French, in that exact order. When I finished with school I went to live and work in Greece for an amazingly happy year before returning to study English Literature and Sociology. At this point I read more classics like the Wyf of Bath, Wuthering Heights and Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man plus poets such as Wilfred Owen.
My first UK full time job after college was with Heffer’s Paperbacks where I devoured several books at a time, excited by the fact I could borrow what I liked. Bizarrely for me I remember reading The Zurich Axioms, I have no interest in the stock markets but it had me gripped. I can’t remember why I picked it up but I have never forgotten it and I firmly believe it is a good thing to read books outside your comfort zone every now and then. Heffers introduced me to so many authors via their books and sometimes in person. It was here I learned about all the genres, it fascinated me that science fiction and horror were so popular, I tried reading it all.
Aside from writing letters, it didn’t really ever occur to me to write anything myself for many years as I worked my way through a variety of interesting and varied jobs. Then on a visit to the London Aquarium I became struck by an idea so powerful I sat down and wrote my first novel. It went nowhere, I had no ambition other than writing it because I wanted to. I wrote another novel and again, I didn’t have the persistance or determination to take it further, I simply enjoyed the process of writing and my characters. Both novels were a learning process.
Then years later another idea struck me and during a severe bout of Pleurisy where I couldn’t do anything physical for six months, I wrote the Eight of Swords and The Putsi. This time I published them as ebooks on Amazon and they were enjoyed by a small but enthusiastic audience. When I fully recovered, I had to concentrate on my business and caring for my mother who unfortunately has a variety of health issues. I wrote a column for eighteen months for the Eastern Daily Press but generally my writing went adrift again for many years until 2020 when the Coronavirus pandemic hit the world.
The isolation of Lockdown has brought me many ideas for short stories and I am already working on another volume.
Please stay as safe and as well as you can. I hope to entertain you with my stories as we all try to get through this together, even though we are apart.
If you would like an invitation to my short story book Zoom launch on 14th February 2021 please fill in the contact form below and I will look forward to seeing you there!