I live in North Yorkshire, close to the North York Moors, where the novel is set during winter. As well as writing, I am a civil engineer with a passion for ancient buildings, inventing and country life. I have 16 years experience as a school governor, 3 lovely grown-up daughters, enhanced DBS clearance with a live update facility, and carry £10M of public liability insurance.
I am willing to travel anywhere, although I must charge for travelling expenses if the event is not close to me, I'm afraid. I have been right around the world many times already, having lived in Australia and New Zealand, so am well used to packing suitcases!
My daily fee is in line with that recommended by the Society of Authors, of which I am a proud member (as was Thomas Hardy), but please contact me for further details. A typical full working day at a school would involve at least 3 sessions and perhaps the opportunity to sign a few books for any students or your school library. I always give out free, signed bookmarks to my audiences, too.
I have taken part in many half hour, live interviews for local BBC radio stations, including York, Oxford, Newcastle, Middlesbrough, Leeds and Humberside, with the latter having a 150,000 regular listeners. These exciting events sometimes even prompted immediate responses from listeners with personal experience of elementals (elf-like beings) which were always fascinating, as you can imagine! I have signed books at 45 W H Smith and Waterstones events, as well as other special places like Blackwells bookshop in Oxford and the Eagle and Child pub nearby, Tolkein's and Lewis Carroll's regular Tuesday evening haunt.
Due to the subject matter of The Witcher Keys and its incredible back story (real events on the North York Moors from 2003), I invariably find that audiences are quickly captivated by the story, whatever their age, and enjoy hearing excerpts read out to them. The story also wraps in most of the local folklore and has a full appendix, so that much can be learned about the various beings in the book, be they good, bad, mortal or otherwise. Indeed, this is an epic tale of good against evil (or so the Rubery award judges assured me), and a coming-of-age story too, in which a couple of brave 15 year olds are forced to grow up very quickly, in adverse conditions and up against fearful odds, in an attempt to save the life of a baby girl. Hold on tight and prepare to be amazed!
I love to see eyes open wider and wider as I read parts of the book to a teenage audience, or describe the common appearance of a dark elf (5 ft tall!) or perhaps a tiny but equally dangerous spriggan to them. With a lively and informative discussion about creative writing plus the qualities required to complete the task and the horrors of getting published, there is never enough time to cover everything. I do know, however, that many youngsters go home feeling motivated enough to start trying to write creatively for themselves, armed with some useful guidelines and soon experiencing the joy of unleashing their powerful imaginations.
The Witcher Keys is in-range at W H Smith, Waterstones and Amazon, where reviews average 4.6/5
Respected journalist and fan, Sue Wilkinson wrote:
'Heart-breaking, heart-stopping and breathless, frightening
and funny. It plunges readers into danger and darkness...
I don't know if it's the next Tolkein, J K Rowling,
Philip Pullman or Derek Landy. I do know this
is a fantastic, phantasmagorical read'