About the Author
I was brought up in a small town in Kent, went to the
local grammar school, took a law degree, and became a solicitor.
The only qualification I have for writing about anything at all is the
fact that I don't think there has ever been a time when I was not
writing, or at least thinking about writing. Also, I was a
voracious reader as a child. I devoured my parents' collection of
thrillers and airport novels (my father was a lifelong commuter and
business traveller), and so popular fiction was in my blood from an
I took up writing seriously in my early twenties, while getting over a severe illness. No doubt being reminded how fragile health and therefore life are helped to concentrate my mind. I took (and dropped out of) a correspondence course and started sending stories and articles out to magazines. Practically all of them, of course, were rejected, but I had some success in competitions. I have been writing fairly steadily, with a few breaks, ever since.
At about this time two decisive things happened. I read Inga Clendinnen's "Aztecs: An Interpretation", and this sparked an intense interest in Mesoamerican civilization. And I met my wife. Sarah once goaded me into starting a novel by telling me I had more chance of winning the National Lottery than writing a book! Without her encouragement, cajoling, understanding, merciless criticism and occasional sincere praise I would never have got anywhere.
"Demon of the Air" began life as an entry for the Crime Writers' Association's competition for unpublished authors - the Debut Dagger - in 2000. I had to submit the opening chapter of a crime novel, and since I was interested in the Aztecs, I chose their civilization as the background. To my amazement, "A Flowery Death" (as it was then called) won the competition, and I spent the next two years completing the novel. Simon & Schuster bought it, along with a projected sequel, in August 2002.
By this time I had given up practising law and was working for the General Council of the Bar, who employed me to advise barristers about their fees. This was much more fun than it sounds, but as I got into my second book, I found it was becoming harder and harder to combine work, my family and writing. Something had to give, and in 2003 I decided to take the plunge and try my luck as a full-time author. I gave myself a year to finish my second book and hopefully write the third; in fact it was 2005 before I finally decided it was time to go and look for a proper job again. Since then I have applied myself to a variety of occupations, including writing.
I am currently Royal Literary Fund Fellow at the University of Kent.