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Philip K. Allan comes from Watford in the United Kingdom. He still lives in Hertfordshire with his wife and his two teenage daughters. He has spent most of his working life to date as a senior manager in the motor industry. It was only in the last few years that he has given that up to concentrate on his novels full time.
He has an excellent knowledge of the 18th century navy, having studied it as part of his history degree at London University, which awoke a lifelong passion for the period. He is a member of the Society for Nautical Research and a keen sailor. He believes the period has unrivaled potential for a writer, stretching from the age of piracy via the voyages of Cook to the battles and campaigns of Nelson.
From a creative point of view he finds it offers him a wonderful platform for his work. On the one hand there is the strange, claustrophobic wooden world of the period’s ships; and on the other hand there is the boundless freedom to move those ships around the globe wherever the narrative takes them. All these possibilities are fully exploited in the Alexander Clay series of novels.
His inspiration for the series was to build on the works of novelists like C.S. Forester and in particular Patrick O’Brian. His prose is heavily influenced by O’Brian’s immersive style. He too uses meticulously researched period language and authentic nautical detail to draw the reader into a different world. But the Alexander Clay books also bring something fresh to the genre, with a cast of fully formed lower deck characters with their own back histories and plot lines in addition to the officers. Think Downton Abbey on a ship, with the lower deck as the below stairs servants.