I was born in Newcastle upon Tyne, England, and at the time of writing this I am 61 years old. I attended a state grammar school, got my law degree in Manchester and became a solicitor. Most of my practicing life has been as a criminal defence advocate.
I didn’t start writing fiction until about 10 years ago. My intention was to write a collection of fairy tales I had created years before – our daughter, now 26, and her cousins were subjected to them when they were young – but that plan was waylaid. Once I made the decision to write, other ideas I had conjured over the years began to coalesce. After just one day, the plan of the Te’an Trilogy was looking up at me from my desk: from the opening scene on the spider planet, to the fall of the curtain in the third volume, where … Anyway, it was all there.
So, why did it take me 6 years to write the first volume? Well, it was over 600 pages, but that wasn’t it. It was the day job. I was limited to writing occasionally at night, a few hours at the weekend, and during holidays when we weren’t out-and-about. As my wife lay in the sun, I typed in the shade – not too much of a problem as I’m very sun sensitive; on a cloudy day I can burn from reflections off a spoon, resting on a picnic table, miles away.
When the book, The Alpha Choice, was uploaded to Amazon I was raring to go on the second volume, The Omega Switch, but then, out of the blue, things took an unexpected turn.
My wife and I were in Jesmond, I don’t remember why, and she wanted to call into Waitrose – one of the smaller shops on a high street, with no dedicated parking. The streets around there are devoid of available parking spaces at any time of the day, and I couldn’t park on the double yellow lines. So I set off on a circuit of the streets around the shop … three circuits to be precise. Ten minutes later, I was approaching the shop and glanced towards the exit doors. There was my wife, carrier bags in hand, walking towards the pavement. I looked in my rear view mirror, saw a large delivery van about twenty yards behind me, indicated and pulled up, and that’s when it happened. The van trundled ahead, and exposed his rear gunner: a small white van with a roof-mounted camera. It swept past me with all the menace of a Dalek.
Two days later – it was a Saturday – the parking ticket arrived. Boy, were they quick off the mark. On the surface, I was very philosophical, but throughout the day varying scenarios popped into my head. All of them involving a traffic warden called Derek – don’t ask why he was called that, it happened without any conscious thought on my part … He just had to be Derek.
By midnight, I had written a story about the travails of Derek, a particularly unpleasant traffic warden. Yes, before you ask, the writing did have a cathartic effect.
I mentioned this to a friend some weeks later and she asked for a copy of the story. Two months passed before we met again, and she told me that she had passed it around her friends. By all accounts they liked it – maybe it had something to do with Derek’s comeuppance – yet more interestingly, they all wanted to know more about a mysterious old man, on the periphery of the story. Was he the Devil? They had asked. That was all I needed. Samuel Prite was born. I’ve since written a total of thirty-three Mystery and Misadventure stories, each involving Samuel, to a greater or lesser degree. Questions are still asked about his identity, and I do release clues now and again. Twenty of the stories appear in the first two collections: Mystery and Misadventure, and Mystery and Misadventure an Old Acquaintance. The third volume, Mystery and Misadventure a Reunion, will be released before the end of 2016.
Now you know what, or who, got in the way of The Omega Shift.
When I’m not writing, my spare time involves ingenious avoidance tactics around being dragged into the garden by my wife. She has the green fingers and I’m supposed to be the muscle, but she’s a dynamo: shifting more weeds and clippings that I ever can.