I was born in the vicinity of Hadrian's Wall so perhaps a bit of history rubbed off. Ancient history obviously, and border history, right on the edge of the Empire. I always preferred the Dark Ages anyway; there’s so much more room for imagination when people aren’t writing down every last detail. So my idea of a good fantasy novel involved dirt and leather, not shining plate armour and Hollywood-medieval manners. The same applies to my sci-fi, really; I prefer gritty over shiny.
Oddly, then, one of the first fantasy novels I remember reading was The Dark Is Rising, by Susan Cooper (later made into a terrible juvenile movie). These days we would call Cooper’s series Young Adult Contemporary Fantasy and looking back on it, it influenced me a lot. It has that mix of modern day life, hidden history, and magic which failed to hit popular culture until the early days of Buffy and Anne Rice. Of course, Cooper’s characters spend their time around places I could actually visit in Cornwall, and South East England, and mid-Wales. In fact, when I went to university in Aberystwyth, it was partially because some of Cooper’s books were set a few miles to the north around Tywyn.
I got into writing through roleplaying, however, so my early work was related to the kind of roleplaying game I was interested in. I wrote “high fantasy” when I was playing Dungeons & Dragons. I wrote a lot of superhero fiction when I was playing City of Heroes. I still loved the idea of a modern world with magic in it and I’ve been trying to write a novel based on this for a long time. As with any form of expression, practice is the key and I can look back on all the aborted attempts at books, and the more successful short stories, as steps along the path to the Thaumatology Series.
Writing, sadly, is not my main source of income. By day, I’m a computer programmer. I work for a telecommunications company in Manchester, England. My favourite authors are Terry Pratchett, Susan Cooper, and (recently) Kim Harrison. Kim’s Hollows books were what finally spurred me to publish something, even if the trail to here came by way of Susan, back in school, several decades ago.