I was born and raised in Hampshire, England. Despite being an avid reader, the words “could (and should) do better” were a constant throughout my schooling – I was never very good at being told what to do and was far happier pursuing my own interests. At 17, I began playing the guitar, and the world of education was totally lost to me.
Rather than go to university (which was not an option after failing all three of my A-levels) I began playing 10 hours of guitar a day and joined my first band, a decision I still do not regret: the fun and camaraderie of life as a young musician is simply irreplaceable and have supplied me with dozens of fantastic anecdotes about disastrous gigs, drunken antics and greedy promoters.
At 24, I spent two years living in Spain and Italy. After deciding I felt more at home among the Spanish, I became a fulltime resident of Almeria, Andalusia in 2001.
I worked as a journalist in Spain for ten years where I learned my chops as a writer and developed the discipline necessary to put in long stints at the keyboard. I worked mainly for the expat press in Spain but also did occasional work for the UK nationals. This was really the formative experience of my life as it taught me how interesting every aspect of human life can be and confirmed something I had suspected since childhood: people in authority need constant watching.
The idea for the Danny Sanchez character came after a conversation with an ex-CID detective, who complained that police personnel were nearly always falsely represented in fiction. This is also true of fictional journalists, who are either crusading paragons of virtue or self-serving, duplicitous scumbags. As often tends to happen, the truth is far more complex (and interesting) so I decided to create something that accurately represented my own experience of working in journalism.
I chose crime fiction as it is a platform that allows me to write compelling stories about the aspects of society and human interaction that interest me (far too many “literary” books end with whimpers rather than bangs) while depicting a world that is recognisable. Also, far too many crime books are either poorly written or totally unrealistic in their portrayals of violence and police procedure.
Within crime fiction, I enjoy Elmore Leonard, Raymond Chandler, Ian Rankin and Dashiell Hammett but I love reading in general, a habit that comes from two sources: my father, who is a keen bibliophile, and my uncle who owns a second-hand book shop. My reading tastes are eclectic and split 60/40 between non-fiction and fiction, with books on history featuring largely. Interests outside writing consist of playing the guitar (rock, bottleneck blues and flamenco), collecting books on the Spanish Civil War and my children.