I have lived in Spain since 2002, although my grasp of the Spanish language would make you believe otherwise.
I live in a large house in the village of Viana, Navarra, with my three amazing dogs and one grumpy cat. The camino de Santiago (Way of St. James) runs through my village.
I was the middle son of five brothers, born into a working class family in 1965. My talent at school was art, and it had been assumed by all that I would eventually attend art college, which had always been my intention.
However, I surprised everybody when I unilaterally dropped out of further education and ran away and joined the army. I served in Germany, Cyprus, Belize and the Falklands.
After six years in the military, I became a police officer, serving in Cambridge. During this time, I re-kindled my love of art and attended some art classes at night school.
After 12 years on the front-line, I quit the police and qualified as an English teacher, and taught English as a foreign language in an academy in Cambridge, before moving out to Spain in 2002.
Still in Spain to this day, I fell in love with the English language I had been teaching for nearly two decades, and found another outlet for my artistic yearnings: I began writing.
I started writing seriously around 2006, feverishly intent on writing and getting my very own book published. But what on earth could I write a book on, which hadn't already been written, and which I was an expert on? Surely, every book had already been written?
Then it came to me: My childhood, of course!! So I wrote a clumsy three chapters, printed them off on A4, and showed them to my family. They loved it so much that my youngest brother decided to write a book himself (we are very similar in character). But of course, they would love it, wouldn't they? And seriously, apart from them, who's gonna buy a book from an unknown author about his irrelevant childhood? No-one, of course!
So I spent a considerable amount of time trying to think of another topic for a book to write. Many ideas all came and went, mostly ideas centred on Cambridge (where I'd lived for most of my adult life) and crime (being an ex-cop of Cambridge). I thought–maybe–I could create yet another police detective series? Yawn ...
Then, one morning in July, 2007, I woke up in bed and had a brief conversation with my wife, and that's when I had my Eureka moment. Half an hour later, I began writing 'my million words of crap.'
It was early. I was the director of an
international student summer course at
Ridley Hall, Cambridge, and my wife was
my Director of Studies. As the top tier management,
we had the luxury of living in the tower flat at the
college. As always, we'd been working very
late into the night, and had woken up
after very little sleep. We lay there, heads
reluctant to lift off the soft pillows, when
my wife, still staring at the ceiling, tutted loudly. 'I was having the most amazing dream,' she said. ' I dreamt I was riding a unicorn ... '
I smiled. 'Yeah, that dream was definitely meant for you.' Then I thought about my comment, and of how dreams could be made for individuals, and what it would mean to have a dream that hadn't been intended for you. My imagination began to wake up, rapidly going into overdrive, thinking maybe that would be the very definition of a nightmare, and that maybe dreams are actually made for us, and that sometimes they just get lost or mixed up, and that's why we have bad dreams or weird dreams that we can't explain, and it all made so much sense to me in that drowsy twilight minute after waking up after such an inadequate amount of sleep!!
I jumped out of bed, went directly to my office, and booted up my weary old computer. Over the next hour, I typed out several pages of an idea that morphed into a series of six books, spanning 30,000 years, which soon had the name The Dream Makers.
Yeah, that morning my writing life just took off! After the summer course, we returned to our home in northern Spain, where we were teaching English, and every spare minute of my time saw me typing away on my creaky laptop. Having written half of the first book on Microsoft Word, I almost gave up. That's not a program for writing a book on, believe me!
Realising that I needed to walk before I could run, I postponed The Dream Makers until I learnt something of the craft, and the complexities of writing a book. This led me to writing and publishing five short stories on my experiences in Cambridge as a cop, under the series title The Rozzers.
In order to get these books as professional as possible, and due to running our own family business in Spain—which often meant working many hours more than most people want to—these books took me far too many years to publish. (The first was published Jan 2014).
In 2020, as Covid closed our school business and forced us to stay at home for three months, I took semi-retirement and decided to become a full-time writer. During lockdown, I finished up my police series and also published the book in print form.
I have so many books to write, with ideas coming to me anytime and anyplace. For me, the title always appears instantly, and the book is ready to be written. I have about fifteen books on the go now, many of which will make excellent films or TV series.
As the awful year of 2020 came to a close, I didn't think it could get any worse. It did. My brother died unexpectedly, and my marriage finally ended. I was suddenly all alone and financially vulnerable at 55 years of age.
In 2021, through winter and into summer, I fell into a deep and dangerous depression. I was ready to give up. And then I met an Angel, who took my hand and walked me to Jesus.
Come to the Table is that story, and I am so excited about this book, due out mid-summer 2022.
Thank you for your support.