I was born in Mayday Hospital, Croydon. I've always thought it was a great name for an emergency department, but I can't remember what else was fun about Croydon, and I moved away when I was 6 to Swindon. As it turned out, Swindon was the butt of as many jokes as Croydon, not that I really have a bad word to say about either place. I lived in Swindon well into my 20s and it's famous for being a railway town, so no surprise then when I started working for Railtrack and eventually transferred to Waterloo. Not Belgium. Or Canada. But the station in London that's more famous for its clock than its trains. As well as home to me, Waterloo station had once been the site of the London Necropolis railway station, the London terminus of the London Necropolis railway that was used to carry dead bodies out of the city. Had I known, I would have visited, since my fascination with everything that's slightly dark started when I was extremely young...probably in the corridors of Mayday Hospital.
Like most writers, I started making up stories when I was small, and the first sign of encouragement came from an English teacher who threw my mock exam across the table and told me that it was the most disgusting thing he'd ever read. He told me, 'If you pull a stunt like that again, I will throw your essay in the bin'. I found myself shocked, but inspired.
I spent my teens switching between classic English crime and American hard-boiled, but it wasn't until I suddenly thought of a new way of murdering people, that I was inspired to try writing stories of my own. Rather than hone my skills with short stories, I decided to jump straight in and write a novel, after all, how hard could it be...?
Well, it turned out that it was actually pretty difficult! The handiest skill I learnt was perseverance. I kept working on my book, as I simultaneously worked through a series of other jobs; Electroplater, Horse-racing Odds Calculator, Fruit Juice Accountant, Paint Sprayer, Taxi Driver, and being Andy Pandy at the local bowling alley. It was when I was working as an IT Manager for Railtrack and travelling all over the country by train that leaves, points failures and the wrong type of snow, gave me enough time to finish my first draft.
In 1998, I moved to Cambridge, and immediately decided that I should redraft my novel with Cambridge as the main location. After all, there is nothing like a historic city, students and picturesque landmarks to inspire murder. In 2005 my first book was published, not my novel, but Cambridgeshire Murders, a look at the historic murders of Cambridgeshire from the 1700s to the 1930s, and so my life of crime had begun.