I’m an old git by most standards. I was born and raised in the UK, but I’ve lived in the USA since 2001, and became a US citizen in 2013. I’m a Kentish man by birth.
I design silicon chips for a living, and have to remember that not everybody likes the technical stuff as much as I do.
I’m unpublished. All of my works are on AlternateHistory.com (AH) or Counter-Factual.net (CF). I have three novels completed, and a fourth starting, plus several short stories. I’m very much an amateur, and I hold down a full time job, so I never get as much time for writing as I would like.
How long have you been writing?
I’ve been writing since 2011. I honestly would never have thought about putting characters to screen – the modern version of pen to paper – until I had read other people doing the same thing.
What is the first work of yours that you have published or intend to publish?
I’m not sure that I have anything good enough to publish. I might hawk The Arrangement or Bus Trip to some short story anthologies.
Who were the earliest authors to be an inspiration for your writing?
I read a lot of science fiction as a teenager. My favourites at the time were Asimov, Clarke, Bester, Knight, McCaffrey. Laumer and Niven.
Which other authors do you consider to be an inspiration and for what reason?
There have been a few stand out moments. In an otherwise undistinguished anthology I read in the 80s there was a story that felt completely unlike anything I’d read before. It was called Burning Chrome, by William Gibson. It’s been said that the most effective stories don’t tell you how the future will be, but what it will feel like.
I also like Brian Aldiss’s Billion Year Spree, which is a kind of primer on other books. I doubt I would have read any Lovecraft without having read that first.
On AH I’d name Doctor What (Bruno Lombardi) Chris Nuttall, Thande and the late Robert Parker, all of whom posted things on line. They all have very different voices, and convinced me that if they could do it, I could do it too.
Oh, and Grey Wolf is always worth reading, There is a sense of immediacy in his work that is lacking in a lot of others, plus the stories seem to lead in unexpected directions. A kind of Van Vogt for alternate history.
Are you inspired by any landscapes or buildings, or even towns and cities?
In its broader sense, location and milieu are very important. Would Phillip Marlowe be the same if he came from a different city? In my longer fiction, I’ve tried to give an idea of place. Some of these are SF settings, so I try to put in something about what life is like there. As for buildings, not so much. My late father wouldn’t be happy, as he was an architect.
Have you been surprised by a negative reaction to any of your work?
I don’t think that I’ve had enough reviews. People mostly don’t read it. Perhaps if I submit some work and get a lot of rejections, I’ll change my tune.
Other than authors (and friends and family) who are your heroes?
Norman Borlaug and Jonas Salk. The two people who aren’t so well known, but between them probably saved more lives than any politician who has ever lived. Perhaps also Johannes Kepler, a man who threw away decades of work when it didn’t fit the observations. I wonder who would have the strength of character to do that nowadays?
Which was the first writing of yours that you are proud enough to say “I did this” about?
Gravity Well, definitely. Firstly, it’s a detective novel, and these are tough to do, as you have to have a well thought out plot. Secondly, I was posting it a chapter at a time, which is especially challenging as you can’t retcon anything if you get any clues wrong. I also came up with a heck of a twist.
Do you find Alternate History a genre that is more difficult to write in than others, perhaps due to the focus on plausibility?
If you start a story about a popular AH meme, then there’s going to be a lot of discussion about this. I don’t just mean the obvious ones, like the Nazis winning WWII. You have to remember that there’s always somebody out there who knows more about the subject than you do. So if you write of X becoming a tyrant, or doing something out of character, expect some blowback.
Having said that, like SF, it can hold up a useful mirror.
Do you write much non-narrative fiction, e.g. in the pseudo-historical fashion of articles and features from another world?
Not so much, although sometimes I try to take a sideswipe at some modern attitudes.
Do you find that much of your writing turns out to be Science Fiction, whether or not it was intended to?
Well, I pretty much intended for everything to be SF.There are a few of my stories that blend into horror, but there is some overlap there.
If you could go back in time to learn the truth about one historical mystery or disputed event what would it be?
I’d like to know what happened to Anne Bonny, one of the female pirates in the early eighteenth century. Mostly I’d like to go back and tell certain people at certain times, “how could you be so stupid?”