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WWhen I was ten years of age my primary school teacher, Mr David Harris, concerned at the appalling quality of my cursive script, gave me an exercise book, telling me to write what I wanted in it. The intention was to improve my handwriting with practice; an enterprise history now tells us was doomed to failure.
Into that exercise book I handwrote a number of imaginative stories in spidery script that have been since consigned to the dustbin of history. I read as much as I wrote, not just books but also graphic novels. I have tried to draw things many times. That never worked out for the best.
When I was a boy I loved 2000AD, The Three Investigators, Fighting Fantasy, Choose Your Own Adventure, Mythology and folk tales of all kinds. As I grew up I started reading Douglas Adams, Terry Pratchett alongside horror authors like Stephen King. My works at this time were an odd collision between all of these styles and imaginative ideas. You probably cannot really imagine what it is like to read a story that is a cross between The Shining, Mort and Judge Dredd with a dash of Celtic mythology, that's probably for the best.
During this time my handwriting issues became less and less of a problem when I learned to type. Story structure, plotting, rounded characters and other features of good writing were not so quick to follow, still I kept at it, producing about 100,000 words of unreadable tripe by the time I was 18.
For a short while I dedicated myself to scriptwriting, this helped enormously with getting my ear in for dialogue. Between the ages of 18 and 23 I produced two novels and a number of screenplays and scripts none of which resulted in any encouragement from the outside world, although some of my friends thought they weren't bad.
At one point I did make enquiries to regular publishers with mediocre queries about a couple of ideas I'd had. One, I believe, would probably have garnered an impressive number of agency rejections before, eventually, being self-published; at which point it would have had a long life hanging around in the dark corners of the internet read by very few people.
I decided to skip the rejections stage and head straight for the self-publishing option. This was back in 2005 before I could be a hip indie author, rejoicing, instead, in the title of Oddball McWeirdo. The book I self-published was called The Confessor's Tale and you can go and look for it if you like. (HINT: There is a free PDF available if you look hard enough, dark corners of the internet indeed.)
What I discovered about traditional publishing was that the big business schedule could not hope to keep up with my own desire to write prolifically. So I could get used to being turned away and write slowly or I could write at my speed and forget the traditional route.
In 2005 I first had a stab at National Novel Writing Month. I polished off 50,000+ words in four and a half days, surprising even myself with a half-decent effort for young adults called Figure of the Sorcechanic. In 2006 I repeated the word count eventually producing a monster novel called Starfall. It's such a complex piece of dark fantasy it will only see the light of day later this year (2013).
I've spent the last few years (2007-2011) pulling apart the mechanics of storytelling and reassembling them into narrative role playing games, some of which are available to buy on the books page.
Since the Kindle has altered the paradigm of publishing irrevocably I have realised what it is I have been training to do since I was ten. I couldn't have known that electronic self-publishing was going to be a big thing, it is just serendipity that it is. So now I have set about putting all of my storytelling skills into producing the kinds of stories I am sorry I don't get to read that often myself.
I never predicted the revolution in publishing. I never thought more than ten people would ever read my stories. I'm still not sure that more than ten people will. I don't care. I write. I am passionate about storytelling and... well...
I would like to tell you all a story, the price of admission is low and I promise that it will be a great ride.