More About the Author
I started out my writing 'career', scribbling on pieces of scrap paper, old diaries, school jotters, and just about any kind of paper that I could lay my hands on. Writing for me was a form of escapism not long before I started high school; escaping from the real world of parental arguments and fighting, which appeared to be never-ending. I was buying boy's science fiction comics and then inventing my own space heroes. This graduated to very short stories, often with no ending. Completing one wasn't the object of the exercise, just so long as I wrote something to take my mind out of the real world, if only for a few hours. Paradise!
The scribbling continued, and often I found it difficult to read my own handwriting, so time for a change; I acquired a typewriter. Now I was a real writer! It felt very grown-up to own a typewriter, even if it was only manual. I'd hammer on the keys churning out page after page of A4, and wondering if I could some day, publish some of those short stories. I found a copy of the Writers' and Artists' Yearbook at the library and scrutinised it for publishers who'd accept SF short stories. However I was having difficulty finishing off many of those stories, so the idea of getting published quickly faded.
In the 1970s, I joined a tape corresponding club. They had a house magazine that would accept just about any article you care to mention. This was what I was waiting for, and just what I needed to expand my writing creativity. However, during the next decade I didn't write any short stories, but concentrated on those articles, then in the middle of the 1990s, I acquired an electronic typewriter! Hurrah! Things were looking up once more. I now had 'real' typewriter. Short stories were back in favour, although I was still turning out the odd article for the magazine. In 1996, I bought a Commodore Amiga computer, and this had a word processor programme. I loved it. I could write anything with this. I began to write longer stories now, and I could read them too. Due to the ongoing fighting at home, I was constantly getting interruptions, and it was often difficult to concentrate on what I was writing. After putting up with this state of affairs for a while, I decided that enough was enough, and simply gave up the short story writing for the time being, not that I had really written a lot anyway. Often I couldn't finish a story and simply abandoned it, only to begin another straight away. I could dream up plots easily enough; that was the easiest part.
In the new century, I was no longer writing stories, but concentrating on articles once more, then in 2007 whilst on holiday in Canada, I bought a laptop. This wasn't for writing at all, but to solve a problem with a lack of storage space on my digital camera's card. My portable camera HDD had stopped functioning and I had to find a replacement, but in the end I didn't find one. However, the laptop did solve a few problems including being able to write up my articles BEFORE I even got home.
A few months after arriving back in Scotland, I had a dream. I thought I'd write down some of the details because I wanted to turn this into a story, but in the end it came to nothing. OK, time for a rethink. I came up with a better plot, and this time I began to notice something about my style of writing. It had changed since the last time I was writing in the 1990s. I eventually abandoned the story I was writing and started another. This one, after a long hard think, met the same fate, then came the third story, or Mark III. This was based around trips to Iceland that I made in the early 1980s. I knew I had plenty of material to keep me busy for a while, so after some extensive note-taking, I began this story.
I had no idea where this latest one was going because up till now, I had never really written anything longer than a short story. How long had a short story to be? I had no idea. How long was a novel for that matter? I went on the Internet for the answers. By the time I had reached about thirty thousand words, I knew I had written something grand; certainly longer than any short story I had ever tackled. Fifty thousand words and I knew I had my first novel, although at this stage, it was nowhere close to completion. The numbers kept rising until I had reached eighty thousand words and there I stopped. Eureka! I had a novel and I had actually finished it. I sent it off to an author friend in the USA and it got the thumbs up from her. I couldn't believe I had written a novel. This was March 2008. It was entitled 'Iceland Spar'. I sent it off to a publisher by email attachment, but due to my lack of knowledge of the Internet at the time, I made a hash of it, and I don't think they received it. The second publisher didn't even look at it after holding onto it for about eight weeks because they had changed their policy, and now you have to submit through an agency. The third publisher Robert Hale let it get as far as the Marketing Department before the editor told me in a personal letter that "it was well written and up to publication standards." Things are looking bright for this one. I had been writing another story alongside this, and in January this year, 2011, I completed this one too, with one hundred and thirty thousand words. It's called 'A Game of Cat and Mice', and is available here as paperback and in Kindle format. I'm currently working on a sequel to Iceland Spar.