I was born in Johnstone, Renfrewshire, Scotland in 1967. I joined the British Army in 1985 at the grand old age of seventeen and a half. After completing my initial training I joined the British Army’s elite parachute force, 5 Airborne Brigade, spending four years there until moving on to various intelligence and signals units for the remainder of my twenty-two year’s service. During my career I served in many areas of operations including: Africa, the Balkans, Central America, Northern Ireland, the Middle East and South East Asia. I continue to work in the security field and write part-time.
I have been a fan of science fiction since my school days, my reading tastes have developed to include all things military, past, future and alternate history.
I began writing my own stories in 2013 and self published my first science fiction novel DISCOVERY OF THE SAIPH in 2014.
What inspires you to write?
I’m an avid fan of science fiction and after years of reading other author’s books, I got up the courage to put on paper the ideas I had in my own head. Over the last 10 years these ideas have gradually evolved in to my first series of books. I just hope readers enjoy what I’ve written in the same way that I enjoy my favourite writers like David Weber and Steve White, who ultimately inspired me.
Tell us about your writing process.
I’m probably an outliner. I’m very technical and put it down the good old fashioned way – on paper! Irritates my wife no end as I’m constantly surrounded by A4 sheets. My characters evolve as I write. I have a rough idea of their role in the storyline; but their personality is as big a mystery to me as to a reader. I can only describe it as like meeting a new acquaintance, who gradually grows in to a friend.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
I’ve got to admit I’m a listener in this respect. I’ll often drop myself into whatever dire situation the hero has got him or herself into and decide what I would do, then tailor that to what that particular character would do.
What advice would you give other writers?
Do it. Write your own novel, but before you publish it do some serious research. In many ways the writing is the easy bit, after all we writers like writing. The hard bit is getting your book ready for publishing. Seriously consider an editing service or at least a proof reader. Family and friends will often be ‘nice’ but you need someone to be tough and really question any holes in the storyline that you haven’t spotted. Once this bit’s done – move on to marketing! There’s loads of websites out there, most with similar information but incredibly useful. I found thecreativepenn.com very helpful.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
No brainer, the ‘easiest’ way was to self-publish as it costs next to nothing to do it, very important when my writing is still not my full time job. I first published on smashwords, lulu and amazon with very limited success. I decided to enrol with KDP Select on Amazon and unpublished from the rest for 90 days – purely so I could take advantage of free sales and kindle countdown days on Amazon. I’m only a short way into the enrolment and my sales have constantly risen. I’m very happy with it – it is definitely something all new authors should look at.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I personally think it’s a dying trade that will move into a niche market. I hope I’m wrong, much as I love my paperback collection, I can’t get away from the fact that e-readers are so convenient. I rarely buy a paperback or hardback these days, although I would and do make an effort for a special edition
What do you use?
What genres do you write?
Science Fiction Military and Space Opera
What formats are your books in?
Both eBook and Print