I have a BSc in Psychology and Computing and an MA in Psychoanalytic Studies, and have been writing fiction and non-fiction material for twenty years. In 2003 I founded an online copywriting business providing content for websites, print, and digital media, before selling up in 2010 to concentrate on writing novels and short stories. I now live in abject poverty in the freezing ruins of an old sewage works somewhere in the UK, where I am working on my third novel.
What's the story behind your latest book?
A woman is troubled by philosophical questions. She mulls them over in private, and spends hours discussing them with her grandmother over hot cups of chamomile tea. When her grandmother dies, she leaves her granddaughter a perplexing note: "seek and ye shall find." Thus starts an incredible journey into strange lands, meeting unusual people, undergoing challenging situations, and discovering various and alternative theories of the meaning of life. As she passes through the ten stages of enlightenment, the main character has to sing in a concert performance, wrestle with a mighty ox, overcome her desires to become a world-renowned guru, and come to terms with the silent sacred space at the centre of her being, over which there is no authority - not even herself. She finally finds peace in the garden of Eden, but even this she must eventually abandon to live truly in the here and now.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I work on individual characters and their situations, their places of work, where they live, their politics, cadences of speech, personal habits, politics, desires, and everything about them, before I write a single word of the plot - and by then they have become like real people to me, and I care deeply about how they develop.
This is the greatest joy - being able to create people who become almost real, being able to craft and engineer their lives, philosophies and outcomes in an elegant and satisfactory manner.