I’ve been a national newspaper journalist for many years but have always nursed the ambition to write novels about my favourite historical period – before, during and after the two world wars. I hope my present effort is the first of many.
Everyone has to start somewhere – and my first “journalistic” job was operating an old-fashioned plug-in telephone switchboard for a City of London financial weekly. When I’d cut off too many calls and they’d sent me on my way, I managed to secure reporting stints around the London suburbs of Wembley, Southall, Hayes and Harrow. I followed this by switching to sub-editing at an evening paper in Shropshire and then joining the Daily Express in Manchester and London.
I guess it really all began as a young teenager when I published my own magazine called Opinion, printed illicitly by a cousin on her firm’s Gestetner duplicator. It sold to school chums and I remember getting told off for writing critical pieces on the Korean War, not quite the done thing at the time.
I’ve also written for and edited magazines dealing with film, medicine, travel and finance. Highlights were interviews with Jack Higgins, Marti Caine and Robert Ludlum.
To help put my children through fee-paying schools I did a part-time bulk trucking job for a local bakery, much to the amusement of my colleagues. The bumps and mishaps along the way were many. Like the 8,000 apple tarts which hit the road – literally.
All worth the effort! I’m now the proud father of a judge and a headmaster.
My leisure pursuits have included driving for a village bus group in Suffolk, crewing and driving a steam locomotive hauling The Blues Express in Poland, rambling in Canada, the UK and Majorca (don’t try the last one, far too hot!), some gliding and a scary lesson at the controls of a helicopter – a birthday present from my son.
Plus a life-long interest in modern history, the Second World War in particular, and why we had to fight it. Hence the novel MUNICH, a key step on the run-up to that catastrophic conflict.