As a writer, the past has always fascinated me. It is like watching a good drama: it has complexity and pathos; thrills and spills; characters I love and characters I hate.
History is the story that tells us how we arrived at where we are, why we live the way we do, why we think the things we think.
Studying the past is like going on a journey into a foreign land; some things are reassuringly familiar, others are totally alien or overwhelmingly horrific. As a writer exploring what was different is the brave and difficult thing to do.
I was not born a storyteller nor a writer but I loved stories and words. I grew up in a house without books. My parents bought a large dictionary and the Complete Works of Shakespeare when I passed the 11 plus thinking I’d need them. Which of course I did.
My family may not have been great readers but they loved drama. My dad’s a football fan. For years, I never saw the appeal; that is until I realised that every match was a new story, a new drama waiting to unfold. A game of football like history has all the ingredients of a novel; the plot is contained; the action is played out by characters who are expert in their roles; the mood is expectant; there are digressions and flashbacks and slow-motion replays for analysis and reflection. Every pass of the ball is like a word on a page.I graduated slap bang in the middle of Margaret Thatcher’s recession with a degree in Medieval History – needless to say, my job prospects were not great. With the economy in lockdown, I spent a couple of years working in archaeology managing job creation teams from the DSS then I progressed to teaching English as a foreign language in Italy. Eventually, I got a proper job in the Civil Service and then in Local Government. In 2010 I was invited to find alternative employment as the Government was strapped for cash after the bankers had torpedoed the economy in 2008. Since then I have been finding my own way in the world.