I live in rural Australia with my wife, Christine, and a Tonkinese cat called Minsky. I write science fiction and, occasionally, crime. It tends to be what I read, too, although sometimes I'll binge on Jane Austen or George Bernard Shaw, popular science (physics and psychology, mostly), or ancient poetry. I've had a lifelong love affaire with science fiction, reading it and writing it. Imagining the future, other worlds, alien cultures, fabulous technologies, and the struggles they will put us through, is what I do for fun. I've written all kinds of sci-fi, from space opera to time travel, from cyberpunk to first contact. All with humour, action, drama, romance and adventure - mixed differently according to the story.
Being born, being educated and working are all very well but they have mostly been an irritating intrusion on my real life. So I'll skip the first ten chapters of my bio and get to the good bits. In my Secret Heart I am a writer and musician. Unfortunately, despite being urged to do so by every song and movie ever produced, I never did follow my Secret Heart, finding the allure of food and shelter strangely irresistible.
I've actually had quite an interesting life. Well, I found it pretty engrossing at the time. I have loved and been loved far more than my share. I've done an awful lot of different jobs. I've published loads of books and magazine articles. I've worked with some fascinating and brilliant people. And I've lived in some wonderful places.
On the other hand, all that love has mostly led to heartbreak and penury. Among my many jobs were very few I really enjoyed. For all my dozens of publications, I barely made any money. The handful of fascinating and brilliant people I've worked with were scattered thinly among hundreds of tedious and stupid ones. And I've also lived in complete dumps, like Portsmouth and London.
When I was 16, my uncle told me to quit school and devote myself whole-heartedly to the writing I loved. Only this way, he said, would I ever achieve true happiness. Unfortunately, not very long after, that same uncle was committed to the local loony bin for exposing himself in the street and I tended, therefore, to discount much of what he said.
Looking back, I find he was probably the one person who ever gave me good career advice.
For a couple of decades, I let myself be jerked around by the publishing industry, sending them submissions and waiting - for up to two years - while they dithered and struggled to make up their minds. I've had three children's text books and three novels published commercially, all by Big 5 publishers but, after a particularly frustrating and heinous piece of jerking around five years ago, I decided I would self-publish my work and commercial publishers could muddle on without me.
It was the second best decision I ever made. Of course, if I'd listened to my mad uncle and starved in garrets from the age of 16, I might have had more at stake, been more persistent, and would be a famous author by now. Fortunately, for everyone around me, I've never been the starving kind.