Royston & Me
Photo: Barry Evans Studio
I'm 41 years old, English and 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.