Can you, for those who don't know you already, tell something about yourself and how you became an author?
Hi, yes, I write books for both adults and Young Adults, usually in the horror and supernatural, but I also release work in other genres. My books range from straight out pulp fiction (FROSTBITE, TOOTH & CLAW) to intricate adventure mysteries (FEARSOME FEAST, CRYPTIC CRYPT, SHIP OF SHADOWS), and unsettling dystopian fiction such as the A QUIET APOCALYPSE series. Some of my other books have a contemporary mental health theme, for example FINDING JERICHO, which was on the BBC Heath Recommended Reading List.
What is something unique/quirky about you?
I’m a complete geek when it comes to collecting figurines associated with Dr WHO, TORCHWOOD, the original STAR WARS and PLANETS OF THE APES movies, and ALIEN. In my study, these figures give me creative inspiration as I’m working. They have become part of the motivation process. Always good when you’re feeling at a low ebb!
Tell us something really interesting that's happened to you!
I have Meniere’s Disease which affects the inner ear and is typified with acute vertigo, tinnitus and deafness. I have a hearing aid in my right ear and when you have an attack, vertigo is feeling like you’ve had twelve beers without enjoying the party. My last attack was at a MUSE gig in Birmingham, UK. I spent the entire evening lying on my side in the first aid suite, watching the gig via a paramedic’s Smartphone. I’m always grateful to that guy. Muse were great, by the way.
What are some of your pet peeves?
Selfish people. You know the sort, those without thought for anything other than their own needs. I believe them to be in the minority, most people are kind and considerate, but when I come across such people, I tend to steer clear of them for fear I make my thoughts known. It hasn’t always worked!
Where were you born/grew up at?
I was born in the UK, in a town called West Bromwich, and spent most of my early life living in a place called Whiteheath in what is known as The Black Country. Historically, this area got its name during the Industrial Revolution, where it was a major producer of ironwork, and its foundries pumped out coal smoke into the sky, twenty-four-seven. The dust that fell back to earth defined the area in more ways than one.
If you knew you'd die tomorrow, how would you spend your last day?
With my family. Like most, family is everything to me and there is no place else I’d want to be other than at home. There would be a ban on being miserable, and my final day would see our home as it is on any other day – filled with laughter and nonsense!
Who is your hero and why?
Barack Obama, based on his unassuming nature and ability to be assertive and erudite. He is my idea of a true statesman. Plus, he follows me on Twitter, so he clearly has good taste!!
What kind of world ruler would you be?
Kind and fair. Unfairness is the route to resentment and that ultimately leads to people being mean to each other. I believe that leaders have a responsibility to be role models for society. To this end, I would have to practice what I preach.
What are you passionate about these days?
Anything that involves creating something, be that writing, music, artwork. I love writing, but it is always a great joy to see something that another person has created and to which you connect. I’m an avid promotor of other people’s work, too. To be honest, I get a thrill from sharing what others do to the outside world. People are too busy leading their own lives to think of others sometimes, and I get that to a point. But only to a point.
What do you do to unwind and relax?
I read, listen to music and watch movies/TV. I’m never happier than when immersed in the creative world. It’s a great way to switch off. Outside of that, I enjoy walking with my wife, we live in rural Worcestershire in the UK, and it’s a beautiful place to unwind.
How to find time to write as a parent?
You have to be disciplined. I have been writing and publishing since 2005 and in the early days, when the wife and I had two young children, we were juggling parenting and covering full-time jobs. I had to develop workarounds so that I was still able to write. This meant getting up before the rest of the family, usually at 06:00, to write for an hour, and then staying up after they had gone to bed, sometimes for two hours. It boils down to how much passion you have for your craft, whether you can exist without ever doing it again. For me, I learned this is simply not possible very early on. Writing is who I am, and I’m worse-off for not doing it.
These days, my kids are grown up and I’m lucky enough to be in a position where I can write full time. But my advice to anyone starting out would still be the same. No matter how little you write during the day, you still have to do it.
Describe yourself in 5 words or less!
Kind. Considerate. Friendly. Forgiving. Twisted!
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I tend to consider myself as someone who writes and, in this sense, I have always done it, ever since school. The idea of being a writer is subjective and tends to be affiliated elsewhere with getting a piece of work published or by fiscal success. I cannot ever see a day when I have no story to tell. It is who I am.
Do you have a favorite movie?
Which of your novels can you imagine made into a movie?
I would like to see my contemporary mental health novel FINDING JERICHO turned into a feature film. I have already adapted the script and await Mr. Spielberg’s phone call! But seriously, the book is dear to my heart as it captures many of my emotional experience from a career in mental healthcare, and it is a piece of work of which I am immensely proud.
I can see A QUIET APOCALYPSE as a miniseries on a network such as Netflix or Amazon Prime. It’s too leftfield/hardcore for Disney+!
What literary pilgrimages have you gone on?
I have visited Stratford-Upon-Avon, birthplace of Shakespeare. It was a profound moment.
On my wish list is Monterey (to visit the Steinbeck Museum) and Maine (to have a photo taken outside King’s house).
As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?
As a writer, it would have to be an elk as this represents the ability to pace oneself to increase stamina. Outside of writing then definitely the trusting, loyal, and friendly dolphin.