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Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in the Royal Forest of Dean in Gloucestershire, England. It is a place of outstanding natural beauty and where I lived was definitely considered to be rural. I came to appreciate the countryside and nature and would find it hard to live in a city. I did enter a technical world when I started work and I enjoy technical challenges, but they can come in different forms. Learning how to look after a garden, for example, can be every bit as challenging as getting to grips with a software program. Sometimes even more so. I suppose writing books has allowed me to communicate and hopefully help people understand problems and how to solve them. I just like sharing what I have learned in a way that is easy to grasp, just like the way people did that for me.
What annoys you most about technical writing?
I have always striven to write in a way that is clear, concise and communicates sufficient information at a level people can understand. I really don't like overuse of jargon, convoluted phrases or the use of words that hardly anyone understands (without referring to a dictionary). With a little care and thought it is possible to communicate at a level that almost everyone can understand. Why would anyone chose not to do that?
A new history book for France that examines the commercially and strategically important region of the Lauragais, sometimes known as the 'Land of Cockaigne' in reference to a time of Pastel and the flourishing cotton industry that once existed there.