How long have you been writing and how did you get started?
Although I’ve never earned a living professionally as a writer, I have been a writer for around 47 years. Phew. I began writing poetry and satirical pieces, the latter for a small press alternative magazine called Outside which I edited with two friends. I printed the ’zine on an old, hand-cranked Rex Rotary duplicating machine. It lasted two issues, as it was difficult to sell on the streets of Birmingham in 1966! And as a genre editor I’ve been at it almost as long – I began my fiction review fanzine Shadow in 1968.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing, and does it come in useful for your stories?
When I’m not writing I’m usually rambling – not always in the inebriated sort of way! I’m a member of Birmingham Ramblers and we have a pretty busy programme of walks, so I tend to go on as many of them as I can, as well as occasionally lead walks for the group. I’m also on the committee, dealing with publications and publicity. The walking segues into the tasting of beer too, so along with CAMRA friends and others, there are often other walks which take in interesting pieces of industrial archaeology in between a few real ale pubs – or maybe that should be the other way around! I’m not sure if my walking experiences are useful for my stories. They tend not to be set in the English countryside. As for characters, well I think some traits may come from the walking fraternity, though I don’t consciously adapt them for my fiction.