Royston & Me
Photo: Barry Evans Studio

I'm from england but I live in California with my wife (sheís American but she canít help it). My background is in engineering, but I now write full time.

Iíve been writing since October í98 and I don't seem to be in a hurry to stop. So far, Iíve written around a hundred and seventy short stories and four novels, with many more planned or underway. Iíve had fragments of stories and ideas bobbling around in my head since I was a teenager, but I never did anything with them. The reason for that is probably because I'm dyslexic and reading and writing come hard, but not the imagination for stories. I donít know what the spark was to get me off my arse, forget my problems, sit in front of a PC and write something, but I did. Because of my reading problems I had to start from scratch. My understanding of rudementary grammar and fiction structure was poor to say the leastóthere are still a lot of terms writers and editors use that I have to look up in a dictionary. But I put myself through a crash course on creative writing and let rip. Initial results were a bucket full of rejections. It wasnít until January 2000 that anyone wanted to publish anything (Thank you, Di, from MSF&F). Since I had that first breakthrough, a hundred story sales have followed.

There have been disappointments along the way. I did have a story accepted in í99, but the magazine went bust the following month. It was frustrating not to get a sale for another seven months after and I wouldnít re-sell that story for another twelve. Iíve been lucky enough to sell my first novel and a short story collection. My fourth novel is underway, with outlines for others to keep me busy for a decade.

But before you go thinking Iím some sad shut-in who does nothing beyond tapping away at a keyboard all night, I do have other interests. Iím a licensed private pilot and I hold UK and US licenses. It was a great achievement to qualify as a pilot, especially as I canít stomach heights. I used to race single-seater racecars in England and a day doesnít go by without my missing it. Motor racing was a bitch of a habit to kick. Cocaine would have been a cheaper addiction. I still play football (soccer, if youíre American). I love to travel and won't be happy until Iíve visited every country on the planet. I hiked, bused, and railroaded through Thailand. I rafted, surfed and rode horses through Costa Rica. I hiked, biked, kayaked and fell off mountains in New Zealand. And Iíve skied in Europe and the US. Youíve not skied until youíve skied in Transylvania with wolves as avid spectators. I have South America in my sights next.

My wife, Julie, has to get a mention. She has to edit and read out all my scribblings and listen to me bitch and moan about my writing and all the editors who reject my workóand no, I havenít gotten used to rejection yet. And if you are an editor reading this, donít worry, I donít take it personally. As an editor, writers tend to view you with the same eye the rest of the world views tax collectors.

Other things I do when Iím not writing: Besides being a producer of fiction, Iím a consumer. I read as much as I can (albeit slowly). I listen to audiobooks by the bucket load. Because of the dyslexia, it enables me to get through more titles in a year and itís not so tiring. I love music and if CDs had calories, I would weigh five hundred pounds. Iíve been propping up Hollywood for years with my visits to the cinema. I love live comedy and go to comedy clubs whenever I can.

I suppose I should mention my weakness for longhaired dachshunds. There's been a dachshund in my life for over twenty years. So, I have to mention Royston. Bug, Tegan, Chewie, Chase and Marley round off my furry menagerie. All these guys we've adopted.

 
Chase and Chewie

Marley
 
 
Royston

Bug and Tegan