Trademark Takeaways™ and Postcards from Weymouth sum up my writing thread. In the style, say of Bill Bryson and David Mitchell, I love rearranging observation into something more imaginative. Blending fact and fantasy with a touch of irony give a fresh take on everyday life, making true stories more entertaining.
Though driven by the nonsense of life, I also write about people in less fortunate circumstances, for example Cuckoos over the Weald, a short story reflecting a job I had in the 80s helping resettle a group of men displaced by closure of a mental hospital. This was published in 2011 in Extremus, the Birmingham City University Anthology of selected new writing.
The MA in Writing, run in conjunction with The National Academy of Writing and partly under the tutelage of authors Richard Beard and Ian Marchant (a funny man, in the artistic sense), has been my highlight of recent years, dramatically changing the way I write.
My first full length work is Utterly Undiscovered – a Fawlty-inspired memoir about moving from Brighton to start a Bed and Breakfast business in the depths of rural Shropshire. Spanning seventeen years from opening to closing of Cricklewood Cottage, the narrator’s character develops through encounters with guests and hotel inspectors, triggering a Basil Fawlty-style alter ego (My Basil) bordering on the obsessive. From his new world of ‘notes to himself’ and ‘tea and garibaldis’ as a cure-all, he observes the idiosyncratic ways of neighbours like Violet and mad Gladys and locals at the pub like baggy-trousered Evan, finding they are not always what they seem and clearly have his measure. The autobiographical content – the success of the B&B and its effect on my family – binds the story.
I travel a lot, perform, and work part-time for Herefordshire Libraries. This year’s great adventure was working as a Games Maker at the Paralympic sailing in Portland and Weymouth. Monsieur Costello va au bord de la mer is my unique take on this.
Love to hear from you any time.