I wasn’t going to do this, but in conversation with Emma and my mum, I think that I am. When you hear of first time authors getting their first novels published, its always with the accompaniment of a load of publisher’s backstory as to how the author came to be who they are, and sometimes those stories are pretty tenuous. I’ve mentioned these stories (with frustration) in the past, and indeed, if I remember correctly,
It shouldn’t be this way. Good (and bad) should stand and fall on the strength of the writing and quality of the story. But as it is like this (or so it seems) and I do have a story that might do the trick just nicely, I think I might use it. I’ve not mentioned my aspergers to publishers/agents before (in the three approaches – I know only three) primarily because the story isn’t actually about aspergers. I have a suspicion though that Ben does suffer, like me, with aspergers in a mild sense. That said, the main area of weakness I find in my writing is that I do find it difficult to effectively show (not tell) characters thoughts and feelings and emotions, and I do wonder if this is in part to do with my own inability to read correctly what’s actually happening in certain situations.
I was born in 1973 and grew up in Lowestoft, Suffolk before moving to Cheshire to study a degree in Creative Arts. I now work as an electronic production editor for science and academic publishers in Oxford, and live in Oxfordshire with my partner, Emma, our five cats and two chickens. My favourite authors are Alan Garner, Diana Wynne Jones, Susan Cooper and David Almond.
I canât remember a time when I havenât created stories, first in my head, and then, as soon as I could write, on paper. At the age of nine I was given a toy theatre and wrote an epic drama called Rome which I performed for my family and friends on long Sunday afternoons. A version of the play won me first prize in a school âtall storyâ competition, and a second â not quite so epic â play made its way in my first attempts at a novel. I have recently had coaching for mild aspergers, and looking back, I think that the âfriendsâ I found in my stories were easier to be with than real people.
In 1989 I was highly commended in the WHSmiths Young Writersâ Competition with my short story, Gold, and in 1991 I began writing screenplays, including a new childrenâs television series, Dreamscholars, which received some initial interest from the makers of ITVâs Press Gang.
Whilst at university I co-edited and contributed to Moments of Cragg Vale, an anthology of short stories and poetry, and in 1993, Flat East, a poem about the landscape of East Anglia was selected for publication in Valleys of Thought, an anthology of poems by local writers.
In 1995, a project proposal and pilot script for Riverhouse was highly commended in the Meridian Broadcasting Television Ideas Competition at the Southampton University Writersâ Conference. This led to me writing a youth drama series Eurojournal, based on my own experiences studying French at Eurocentre La Rochelle. The series was to be ground-breaking in its style, with the use of rapid scene changes acting almost as metaphors for the advancement of the story â a style which has developed into my novel-writing style.
I have Icelandic family, and in 2001 made the first of three visits to their country, and I knew from the very beginning that with a country so rich in myth and folklore and with an environment unlike anything I had ever seen, I had to write a story set there. The End of All Worlds is that story â begun in August 2001 only to be halted on 21 October for one and a half years after the family home burnt down. It took six years to write and over two years of rewrites and edits to complete.