Welcome to my blog
My writing falls into two categories:
- My fiction
- My work in education.
In my fiction, I will post about my projects; writing processes and stories from the news or history that inspire my themes. In education, it may be specific lessons or techniques that can make learning more memorable.
My current projects:
I am almost finished the first draft of my latest political thriller – This Septic Isle and am about the give a final revision to my previous novel – entitled Missing Targets: then I will be submitting to agents
And the plot line for a new novel with the working title –This Septic Isle.
I will blog separately about these stories and their progress.
I am writing in the crime thriller genre, and my story lines explore strong political themes and pose uncomfortable moral questions.
In April 2015 BBC 4Extra broadcast one of my short stories entitled Through My Own Fault. This was originally broadcast on Radio 4 and on the World Service.
For me, crime fiction must be more than just entertainment. It should be a morality tale for the modern age, holding up a mirror to ourselves and society. In its reflection, we should see the good in the human spirit and the depths to which it can plummet. It should illustrate the choices and struggles that stand between us and our better selves; and it should warn us how close we all stand to the edge of our own potential for evil.
It’s easy to believe the best about yourself when you’re warm, well-fed and unthreatened, but the alternative could be closer than you imagine…
My career and experience as an author
I began writing in my mid-twenties as a result of undertaking a course about developing my pupils’ reading skills. One task was to write factual based stories to support history and other subjects. When given the task of writing at a certain reading age, the course tutor would comment on the quality of my writing. This was a surprise, but it encouraged me to begin writing.
My earliest published work was educational. Originally, I wrote to Oxford University Press explaining how they could set out the questions in their history books to better support reading skills and comprehension. At an initial interview, I mentioned my specialist training in phonics and was commissioned to write the teachers’ manual and workbooks that supported the phonic branch of the Oxford Reading Tree. Thereafter, I was commissioned to write history books with strong anthropological themes, and I was the author of their textbook on Ancient Greece. I have also written for Longmans (now Pearson) and acted as a readability and questions consultant for other publishers.
My current focus
But, for now, my concentration is on fiction. Fiction with villains that so many of us will recognise stalking our daily lives – The pressures that makes ordinary people perpetrators, facilitators and fellow-travellers in evil, as they strive to save themselves from the consequences of targets and decisions, dictated by leaders who sacrifice morality on the altar of their own power and status.
In 1976 I took my finals exams and I remember a question that said, ‘In his book, Herzog, the novelist Saul Bellow poses the question, ‘How should a good man live?’
It was a three hour paper, but I’m still trying to write the answer.