When I was a small boy I used to make up stories and tell them to my dog, although not a captive audience he would sit and listen to me if I had enough biscuits. But that was at home, my school life was a nightmare. I suffer from what is now known as dyslexia; a term that didn't exist in my young life. I was regarded as what was then known in a south Leeds as being thick. I couldn't spell and most of the time my numbers were mixed up or the wrong way round. I had an inability to read properly although I could read the words I could not retain them in thought so when I moved onto the next page I could not remember what I had read the previous page. While I was reading the words would seem to all melt together and sometimes appear to be sliding down the page. Single letters would disappear and re appear. This continued to be my life through my school years. Being laughed at, having a textbook in English full of red lines going through my spellings and the correct spelling wrote above it. My Maths book was the same, with x marks at the side of my equations and always 'see me' at the bottom of the page. If the teachers had only looked a bit deeper they would have found the answer was right just the wrong way round. I had noticed this phenomenon but by the time I noticed the teachers had given up on me; one teacher put on my report card Paul is an under achiever and menial tasks is all he will aspire to. My father disputed this and extracted an apology from him.
As I left school I wanted to go to Art College. As the teachers gave up on me with English and Maths at school I concentrated all my efforts to art; even winning a school competition resulting in a painting by me of Tutankhamen's death mask hanging in an art gallery for 6 months. Unfortunately my old school problem came back to bite me on the arse as the two elderly gentleman who gave me my interview at Leeds Art College explained to me that although my portfolio was one of the best they had seen in a while I could not have a place in their College due to my lack of English and Maths qualifications. Returning home on the bus two students sat in front of me. One of them asked the other if he had worked out what he was going to do, his answer enraged me. "I haven't a clue yet, so Im going to toss around at Art College for a year". When I got home I ripped up all 104 paintings, drawings, oils and pastels that were in my folio including Tut's death mask.
My working life started but I was crushed by my failure to go to College and 10 jobs in my first year did nothing to steady me down. Then came a break, because I had a lot of family working at a factory called Hardin's pin company on Globe road, I got a job which soon turned into a possible career. After an apprenticeship I became Chief quality control inspector of that famous old company. Unfortunately two years later the company closed down due to a refusal to change from making steal pins to plastic. What followed was the menial work that the teachers promised.
During all this time I was writing stories but once they were finished I would tear them up and throw them away. There was no way I was going to be laughed at as an adult for the same thing as when I was a child.
By now I was 24, I was married with two children when tragedy struck, I was injured playing rugby resulting in me being hospitalised for nearly 4 weeks. This injury was life changing as I could no longer lift heavy objects or do any manual work. For two years while my recovery was taking place, I began Taking photographs using my Pentax S1. This sparked my old creativity so much so that it wasn't long before I had my own photography business. I ran this business for 10 years. By now digital imagery was upon us also my son's band was getting so busy that my part time role as band manager turned full time and I wound the photography business down.
The next five years were the best yet I took the band dark Season all over the England, Scotland and two tours of southern Ireland. By the time the five years were through the band had 4 studio albums and a great following but long drives, long hours and the constant rush took its toll. I was clearly tired my 22year marriage was over and a week after my 42 birthday on the 14th of May I suffered a heart attack.
By now personal computers had arrived and my Dad bought me one to give me something to do while I recovered. The word Spell check was an inspiration to me. I could now write and keep my stuff. A dark period of my life began with the loss of the marriage, band and life as I knew it; but it stirred something in me and I started writing dark poetry while I was living on my own and then one day I got an e-mail from a girl in America. A girl who had seen a photo of me on a Gothic web site that lead to the E-mail. Soon we were chatting and before long I was in America meeting my soon to be wife. Beverly moved over to England in August 2004 and totally turned me around. She made me believe in myself and then before I knew what was happening I was writing Atkinson's Administration.
That particular book owes a lot to the gothic circles I keep re-emerging into every now and then, which I have done ever since I first walked down the stairs of the Le Phonographique in Leeds in 1976.
Since 'Atkinson's Administration' was published in 2012 I have added three more books Published through Dark One Publishing LTD. 'Atkinson's Armageddon' part two of what is now my Reaper series of six books and two poetry books called 'Rhymes' and 'More Rhymes'. I am working on three books at the moment: 'Enter Atkinson' (Reaper series book three). 'Here We Rhyme Again'the third poetry book and due to be published in March 2014 the Steampunk novel 'A Switch in Time'.
It has been a busy first year as a full time author but It has been an enjoyable one. This past year has seen my author page on facebook collect 2200 likes and made a little fat lad from South Leeds who couldn't read or write properly very happy indeed.
Be Happy my friends.