Born into the world at the tender age of zero to both a mother and a father, I spent the first twenty-odd years of my life learning stuff, culminating in a degree in Civil Engineering ... which I've never used since I moved into computing instead. I live in a village a few miles north of Portsmouth on the south coast of England.
Writing fiction is my main interest, and one I've been doing since forever. I'm not one of these people who "always knew they wanted to be a writer", but looking back, I was always twisting school assignments so that they turned into stories. After a couple of years of dabbling while at University, I decided to make a concerted effort to get published, and on 1 Jan 1995 I pledged to write every day. I still am, and haven't missed one yet*. This is either a commendable dedication or a dangerous obsession - I'll let you decide. The problem is that one missed day becomes two, two becomes a week, a week becomes three months... Writers, you know what I'm talking about.
Initially I reckoned I was a science fiction / fantasy writer, and much of my fiction reflects that. However, my complete inability to get published in a professional sf magazine - while mainstream publications snapped up those same stories - led me to change my views. Looking back, I was never a "normal" sf writer anyway - not one story about aliens, robots or time travel, and only one I can recall with any space travel in it. Now I think of myself as a mainstream writer who uses bits of fantasy, science and surrealism as appropriate.
In terms of style, my aim is to get my writing to bridge the gap between the mainstream and the literary, and also to some extent between realism and fantasy - nothing like ambition, is there? Ideally I'd like my fiction to work on several layers - insightful and thought-provoking, but also eminently readable and exciting. Drama without melodrama; experimentation without self-indulgence.
Since mid-2001 I've been working on my first novel - a contemporary drama with dashes of humour and fantasy. Don't hold your breath, though (you weren't anyway, were you?) because I'm willing to put in a lot of work and time in order for it to be ... just right.
* - Update: "Oops".
I play the guitar - electric, acoustic and bass, with varying degrees of success. By nature I'm an acoustic guitarist who plays fingerstyle - that's what I do best and enjoy most. There's something wonderful about being able to play a complete tune with bass and melody lines on a portable instrument without needing accompaniment. I play mainly folk and blues, with a bit of classical and rag thrown in. My instrument of choice is a Brook Torridge - a beautiful handmade guitar that never fails to inspire. If you're interested I've reviewed it on Harmony Central here.
Plugged in, I play rock and blues, mostly with a Godin LGXT which is as versatile as you could possibly want and sounds fabulous. I also have another acoustic, two electrics and a bass. In fact, I'd better stop collecting the darned things before I fall victim to Guitar Acquisition Syndrome ... Guitarists, you know what I'm talking about.
RoughDraft is currently my only programming project and given the amount of other stuff I have to do, things are likely to remain that way. It all started back in mid-1999 when I was required to brush up on my C programming at work. Wanting something more than a bunch of exercises to do, I though "well, how hard can it actually be to write a simple word processor?" The answer was "not very", but things escalated from there and I got more ambitious. Re-writing it from scratch at home in Delphi, I got it into my head that I could write something rather good and release it as freeware. How naive I was then! There's a big difference between knocking up something simple and creating a professional-looking product.
There are plenty of word processors available for the PC, so the thinking behind RoughDraft was to create something a bit different - a program that would be geared specifically towards writers and provide some unique features that nobody else had included in their software. I also wanted it to feel familiar and be as unobtrusive as possible: the idea here is to write, not to struggle with tool you're using to do it. I use RoughDraft exclusively for my writing, and I'm delighted that other people do too.
It's been a great pleasure receiving e-mails from RoughDraft users situated all over the globe. I can get an e-mail from Brazil one day and India the next, and the thing I love is that everyone is so positive and generous. Their kind comments (and valuable bug reports!) have vindicated the effort I put into writing RoughDraft.