Ryan Stark was educated at Eton and spent twenty years in the armed forces in various peacekeeping roles around the globe. Latterly he moved into the security services to become a field controller operating throughout the Balkan States on behalf of MI6. Following an heroic mission in Albania, in which he was instrumental in the rescue of fifty-eight children and five nuns from the hands of freedom fighters, Ryan was invalided out of the service on a robust pension.
He lives alone in a converted windmill on the island of Kos, having never found the time to marry and is, of course, completely fictional.
Austen Gower (1959-), on the other hand, is the living alter-ego of Ryan Stark. Born in Redditch, Worcestershire, Austen has a long and arguably distinguished career in Business Analysis and Consultancy. Throughout that time, he has been commissioned to write technical works on topics as diverse as network communications, project management methodology and anger management, for which he has a number of published articles.
After a hankering to write a novel, which stretches back around twenty years and four incomplete works, finally Austen has taken creative writing seriously, with a view to quitting the rat race and using some of the left side of his brain so repressed by his day job.
Writing as Ryan Stark, Killing by the Book is Austen's published first work of fiction. The Farm continues the exploits of Daley and Whetstone, with a third, No Going Back currently underway.
Married, with a wife and two grown-up children, Austen has returned to his roots and lives in Redditch.