As a child, I filled notebooks with stories about owls. Now, here I am, a professional writer. My first book was published back in 1991. Journey to the Middle Kingdom was a 'travel biography' based on an eye-opening visit to China in the mid-1980s.
My main areas of interest are psychology, business and history. And the Eurovision Song Contest, but more on that later.
I studied counselling in my 40s, though I did not pursue it professionally. Before, I didn’t really understand how people ‘tick’; how our thoughts and beliefs control how we behave and feel, and how these can be changed. I made a particular study of Transactional Analysis (TA), and was particularly fascinated by Stephen Karpman’s Drama Triangle. A few years ago I sat down and wrote a book about it, The Karpman Drama Triangle Explained.
Commercially, my biggest success has come in business writing. I’ve worked in marketing and PR. This was mostly for larger organizations, but I’ve always been interested in how businesses start and grow. In 2002, I worked with entrepreneur mentor Mike Southon on The Beermat Entrepreneur (the basic idea is that your idea has to be simple enough to write on the back of a beermat). That has been a big seller in a number of markets, and Mike and I had a roadshow based on it that we ran for many years. It included Mike and I donning bizarre wigs at the end – but we gave a lot of good advice as well!
I’ve always been interested in history, and have written several books on the subject. Eurovision! A History of Modern Europe through the World's Greatest Song Contest is what it says, a history of the contest and the continent from 1956 to the present day (the latest edition includes the 2022 contest). I’ve been a Eurovision fan ever since seeing Sandie Shaw pad to victory in 1967 (with a break in the late 70s/early 80s when I fancied myself as a hard rocker…) First Class tells the story of Britain through its postage stamps, starting, of course, with the Penny Black and the dynamic but ruthless entrepreneurial age which created it. Lost Countries, co authored with Stuart Laycock, looks at stamps from round the world and tells their stories.
In the 1990s, I wrote a series of crime novels set in (then) contemporary China. I loved the China I found at that time, a nation and a people busy juggling the influence of its past, Communism and ‘the West’. There was a real sense of possibility, that the 'Middle Kingdom' would become a constructive, benign member of the global family of nations. The last of the series, set in 2000, hints at the harsh, unpleasant alternative that seems to have prevailed instead.
Other stuff? Plenty. I’ve always written poetry, and recently self-published two collections of sonnets. Perfect Written English is a primer on how to write clear, engaging English. I have written novellas. I have also worked with ‘thought leaders’ to produce remarkable books – a real privilege. I still ‘ghost’ for business people.
So, welcome to my site. Thank you for visiting.