Tell us your biography in three sentences or fewer.
Born in the West of England where I now live. Have had a varied career, including witchcraft shop owner, SFF writer, college lecturer and international education administrator. Practising occultist.
How and when did you begin writing, and what was your first published piece?
I started writing before the age of 10, with a plaigirism of Lloyd Alexander (I was an early adaptor of Prydain! – and I also loved the Welsh legends of the Mabinogion). I remember being uneasy about this at the time and thinking that I ought to come up with something more original. This has been happening ever since. My first published piece was, I think, actually in Pravda and related to the education system of Kazakhstan. I remember being impressed that it wasn’t censored. When it comes to science fiction, I had a short story published in a US SFF magazine, no longer extant – I can’t remember what the magazine was called. It was in the mid 1990s.
What’s so special about writing speculative fiction?
Imagination is the biggest driver for me, so spec fic is obviously a dead ringer for that. I like playing around with ideas and I like exploring the future, since I’m going to be living in some of it. I feel that I have more scope with SFF than with other genres and I’m not short of ideas. However, I like to mix and match so my work has some elements of detective fiction, romance, lit fic and so forth. I don’t like being put in a box – unfortunately this is fatal when it comes to marketing.
What life skills and experiences, other than writing, do you bring to your work?
Magical practice and travel, though I’m not sure if the latter counts as a skill.
Next up, which I’m writing now, is Salt on the Midnight Fire, which is the fourth book, set in London, Somerset and Cornwall. This one’s more heavily witchcraft-oriented and on some of the folklore of the coast. It’s a summer book: I’ve been trying to write these novels seasonally, so that they are written when they are set. I’m really enjoying working with this summer vibe (mind you, it’s raining right now!).
Tell us about your most recent publication or current writing project.
I just delivered Embertide, which is the third in the Comet Weather series – the whole thing is actually called the Embertide Quartet. As with the first 2 novels, it’s set in the South of England and this one deals with land management, trespass, leylines and waterways. And shapeshifting. I’m also working on a non-fiction book proposal to do with folklore.