Writing

This part of the website is dedicated to my writing projects; providing information on the latest status of each book and more. In time I will add more, including snippets. For now, click here to jump to the list of current stories being readied for publication, or scroll down for more about my writing.

Picture of writing and coffee mug

About my writing

For as long as I can remember I have always loved to write, the challenge of being given a new notebook and thinking: Hmm. Now, what can I fill this with? And normally that answer has been a story of some type.

Even when given a creative writing task at school, I remember often asking for more time so that I could finish crafting the story I had in mind, rather than the 4 page “…and then I woke up and it was all a dream” that the teacher was probably expecting (and hoping for)! Well for that I blame the late Mr. Telford, my primary teacher all those years ago at Steps Cross School in Torquay. An excellent teacher, he fostered both a love of books and a love of creating imaginary worlds and characters. That’s where it began, but who knows where it will end?

Is writing a balance? My career involves crunching of facts, maps and science, and it sometimes seems the imaginative output is just the brain rebounding, like some giant elastic band. But that’s not quite so; the desire to write has long been there, maturing and becoming something approaching professional as I read wider and wider from many different authors and genres, learning better how to convey my own worlds onto paper.

Where to next?

Over the past few years, prompted by friends, the realisation arose that maybe maybe I should start to do something with all this imagination; rather than letting it moulder in piles of A4, on old memory sticks, or in the little grey cells. Especially so, given that I don’t just write, but edit, proofread and generally get the work into as good a shape as my own biased eyes are capable of. But more time passed before I plucked up the courage to begin sending out the first synopsis to agents who might be interested, and… Well, let’s see where the adventure leads.

Do I see myself as the next J. K. Rowling or John Grisham? No, I have to be honest; of course I don’t. I certainly love to craft and tell stories, though, and I believe there are readers who will find interest and inspiration in them. I also believe – with the right marketing and editorial support – that the stories are viable publications. Furthermore, I think (thinks furiously) that if needs be I will go down the self-publishing route to achieve that. At which point this entire website will become much more flash, with links to sales channels…!

Current projects

The books underway are as follows. Check back to see what new developments and changes are happening; even as I work my way through those listed below, more storylines are flowing in. And also check back to see if the status of each book has moved closer to publication!

  • SUNSET
    Set in the present day, SUNSET tells the epic story across four books of a group of friends caught up in a war that is not theirs, and the changes it wreaks on them as they discover a wider universe. In the first book of the series they are kidnapped, the experience forging them with strong bonds which they will need in all they are to face; for even as they try to escape, the Earth itself is invaded by unknown forces. The successive books in the series trace their fortunes as they journey deeper into worlds of both war and hope.
    Status: All four books edited, looking for agent; blog here with more details
  • THE RESCUE YEAR
    THE RESCUE YEAR takes place many years in the future; but this is not a future dominated by technological marvels, nor is it a post-apocalyptic world. Instead two illicit traders from The Isles, Ewan Rogart and Evie Yatoub, travel through a landscape where entropy has taken hold and where progress and hope are fading. But when Ewan rescues a young woman who turns out to be one of the feared and hated “Snatchers”, their lives are changed.
    Status: Typed, at final proofreading stage. Read a blog here about the story.
    (Note: Given COVID-19 and some of the ‘backstory’ I have delayed the intended self-publishing of this one).
  • ONCE UPON A VALLEY
    Described as a ‘fairy tail from a maybe future’, ONCE UPON A VALLEY is a story set in a time where Messengers provide a vital link between the government of a realm and their outlying territories. The novice Messenger Kris Donaldson is despatched to the remote township of Weissdale with what should be a simple message, but the answer he seeks will be anything but simple as he tries to understand both the little valley and the enigmatic Lady Eleena.
    Status: Typed, with proofreaders. Blog to follow.
  • MARQUIS OF THE SOUTHERN VALE
    It is a time of war and the rumblings of distant wars. Surely these troubles cannot come to the Southern Vale, thinks the young MARQUIS OF THE SOUTHERN VALE. Yet come it must and will, and his fleet of ‘flying foxes’ hydrofoils will be in demand, however much he wants to resist the call to fight. The missions he must undertake will destroy him, his friends and family – and then redeem him.
    Status: 60% written – waiting for COVID restrictions to lift for field trip to finish.
  • HAMEFARIN
    When Peter Berwick moves to the Shetland Isles in HAMEFARIN, he keeps himself to himself, his origins a secret as he tries to hide from a shadowy government organisation; an organisation he has unwittingly uncovered. Yet despite his best attempts to remain covert, including a new friendship with fellow incomer Anna Stone, he is discovered; plunging himself and everyone around him into danger.
    Status: 40% written (re-write underway).
  • Other books underway include Threads, The Winter Year (a possible follow-on to The Rescue Year), Songs of the Lost, A Lonely Mission, Rognvald and New Dawn (this latter is a fifth addition to the Sunset saga) – but for more details on those, you will have to wait!

A confession

The observant amongst you will have noticed above that in my writing I am very much ‘old school’; I work best with pen and paper to craft my worlds. This does of course mean that everything has to be typed up before the heavy editing can start, but it also means that I can scribble down the ideas that come to me anywhere… be it on a long train journey, in a coffee shop, or just while commuting to work on Merseyrail or the Mersey Ferry. Thus, each new story doesn’t come together overnight. I’m quite happy with that for now, though, given that I am also in full-time work! That being said, The Rescue Year, has taken me just 11 months from idea to being written, typed up, and second set of edits complete, with Once Upon a Valley (my most recent project) taking only a few months longer.

Closed notebook and fountain pen

Some Advice

Finally, if you think that you want to write a book, then do it. And to do that, just sit down and write, even if it’s only a few paragraphs each day. That’s advice I have repeatedly been given by ‘real’ authors. Commit yourself to what you want to achieve, work at what you write, and make use of the multitude of advice that’s out there. The Writers and Artists Yearbook is a good source for some of that.

Now granted I’m not a published author (yet!), but I reckon that if your primary urge to write is to become a wealthy best-seller, perhaps you need to make sure that your skills match your ambition. But if (more importantly) you want to write because you have some stories you want to share with the world; which you believe the world needs to hear; then try.┬áIf you don’t, you will always wonder what might have been. And that is something we never know.

Page updated 14/08/21