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When I was a teenager I was fairly skilled at drawing. I produced some good pencil images which sadly have now been lost. There was a drawing of an engine from a Rolls Royce Camargue. It was large, and the shading of it used up three pencils. I remember the hours I spent on its production during the summer holidays, and the music I listened to as I worked. I was destined to go to Art College, but family circumstances meant that I never got there. Instead, I finished up getting a job.
My working career started in Architecture, where with ink stained fingers and an adjustable setsquare I turned the architect’s concepts into technical drawings. Eventually the drawing boards were abandoned in favour of computers, which led me to forge a career using the dark arts of information technology. The technical world in which I found myself doesn't really cater for artists, and for a long time I didn't do anything creative. The artist in me had been well and truly suppressed.
Suppressed, but not forgotten, and certainly not gone. There was still a thread that connected us together. The artist called to me from the wilderness, whispering in my ear, subtlety altering my perception of things. He fed my mind when it needed to escape the tedium that work can sometimes be. Reading was the thread that bound us, and I don't remember a time when I haven’t had at least one book on the go.
Sometimes though, reading isn’t enough. There wasn't a specific point when I decided to write a novel. There was no revelation moment. One day I just started writing about how I had received the silver watch mentioned in Amantarra. I then attached a fantasy aspect to the gift, which led to the birth of Valheel, the creation of Elleria, Amantarra, and a puzzle surrounding all of them. The artist had escaped.
Several months after I first published Amantarra, I met someone I hadn't seen for thirty years. He was a friend of my father's and I've known him since I was four. At some point in the conversation I told him I was a published author. "You haven't changed," was his comment. He seemed disappointed that I still retained some aspects from my childhood. Things that he thought I should have grown out of. Quite what he was expecting me to have become I don't know, but I make no apologies for disappointing him. I have never lost my fascination with the imagery that good story invokes. I hope I never will.