Who am I? In short, I have worked in publishing for almost 25 years as an author, editor, creative writing instructor and ghostwriter.
And in more detail …
Having originally worked as a bookseller for Waterstone’s, my first job in publishing was as a copywriter for Little, Brown, where I wrote the blurbs on the back of the books. I then became a commissioning editor for several years, before moving to Pavilion, where I was the founding publisher of a new imprint, Portico. I also worked as an editorial director for AA Books, as well as spending many years as an editorial freelancer, before joining Reedsy as Head of Learning. In total, I have edited and commissioned over a hundred titles, including many bestsellers and prize-winners. In 2018, I was the recipient of Whitefox’s Unsung Heroes of Publishing award (if you’ve ever heard me sing, you’ll know why that’s for the best).
Parallel to this has been my writing career. In 1997 I took an MA in Creative Writing at Bath Spa University, where I was awarded a distinction. Having had several short stories published, including in the 1999 Time Out Book of New Writing, my first novel, Crazy Little Thing Called Love, was published by Pan Macmillan in 2001 (‘Appealingly funny’ Big Issue). This was followed in 2003 by Half A World Away (‘Very funny’ The Times). These were followed by the non-fiction music book We Could Have Been the Wombles, published by Penguin in 2005 (‘Hilarious’ The Guardian). I then wrote two pop culture memoirs, about 1980s television and music: All in the Best Possible Taste (Simon and Schuster, 2010) and Wired for Sound (Simon and Schuster, 2012). Under the pseudonym Thomas Black, I wrote the crime novellas Dead on Arrival (Lume, 2013) and Hammerhead (Lume, 2015). In 2021, I was commissioned by the British Library to write Bespoke, a non-fiction book exploring the history and language of cycling. My story Rings was chosen as the opening piece for the Best British Short Stories 2021 anthology (Salt Publishing). I am currently working on a new novel.
As well as my own writing, I have also worked for the last decade as a ghostwriter. I would tell you which books I have written, but then I’d have to kill you. I have ghostwritten fifteen titles in total, including prize-winners and several international bestsellers. The majority of these books have been memoirs, with clients ranging from rock stars to footballers, politicians to boxing champions, soldiers to Tolkien experts (I am definitely not a Tolkien expert, so please don’t ask me any questions about The Hobbit! I’m still recovering from that one).
Having read, written and edited books, I then became a writing instructor. I have taught novel writing courses for over a decade both online and in person, and also at retreats, universities and literary festivals. Among the many institutions I have taught for are Falmouth University, Southampton University, the National Film and Television School, the Faber Academy, the Professional Writing Academy, the Literary Consultancy, Stratford Literary Festival, Salisbury Literary Festival, Mere Literary Festival, John O’Connor Writing School and Literary Arts Festival, I Am Writing Festival and the Casa Ana mentoring retreats in Andalucía. I am currently Head of Learning for the lovely people at Reedsy, and you can find details about my latest course here.
Locally, I have hosted the Salisbury Writing Circle since 2015 — a community of new and experienced writers alike. I write a weekly column on the arts (sort of) for the Salisbury Journal, Hampshire Chronicle and several other local newspapers across Wiltshire and Hampshire.
On this website, you’ll find details about the sort of things I get up to, as well as contact information if you’d like to get in touch. Many thanks for visiting!