A little bit about me
I’m the author of the Sally Mellors adventures and the Prince Wulfstan books.
Ever since I first saw James Burke’s wonderful Connections series, I’ve been fascinated by the way a single new idea can change the course of history. The more I learned, the more intrigued I became about how some ideas stuck while others initially sank without trace, only to resurface perhaps hundreds of years later to change everything. The first Prince Wulfstan book, In Two Minds, explores this idea not just by introducing new ideas into a medieval society, but by showing just how difficult it would be to pull that off in practice.
I’m equally fascinated by the justice system. People expect it to be fair, which is why we allow it to resolve our disputes instead of simply taking revenge ourselves. But watch an individual case play out in court and it can seem more like a high stakes game between lawyers than the pursuit of absolute truth. And if you think it’s a game, do you still accept the result if you lose? Is that still justice? At what point will a perfectly normal, perfectly decent person snap, and what happens when they do? Is it possible to plunge into the darkness of revenge and remain the normal, decent, happy person you were before you started? Enter Sally Mellors, who’s going to give it a damned good try in A Thoughtful Woman.
I live on a small farm where I fit in my writing alongside fighting the blackberry, and trying to convince the quadbike that killing its rider isn’t a core part of its job description.
What I enjoy as a writer
I love the moment when an idea jumps out at me. The trick then is to catch it, because I could be dreaming in bed, walking the hills, trying not to kill myself on the quad bike… Anywhere in fact, except in front of the computer. Obviously. Slowly the whole thing coalesces and I begin to write it down, fleshing out the gaps, understanding why these people do what they do. I’m the first person in the world to “hear” their story, and I get to write it. That’s exciting! It’s what Terry Pratchett called “The Valley Filled With Clouds” technique and it’s huge fun.
I also love the research needed to make my fictional worlds as real as possible. It could be learning about the first mountain bikes, or exactly how medieval clothes were made and worn, or the limitations of police radios, or how to blow glass, draw wire, or a thousand other things. I learn new stuff every single day, and that’s fun too.
What I try to achieve
First and foremost I want to entertain, to make you want to turn that next page instead of doing whatever it is you should be doing! I also want you to enjoy the journey. Even in their darkest moments, I like my books to have an underlying vein of humour that will make you smile, or even laugh. There’s nothing wrong with dark, gritty tales, redolent with unrelenting misery. They’re just not what I want to write. I want you to finish my books and return to the world with a spring in your step.