About me...

Hello! If you're reading this, thank you for visiting my site. I hope you find something of interest, especially my books!

I have had a life-long love of History and a much more recent love of reading historical fiction. It is only in the last decade or so that I have discovered novels, not reading much as a youngster. When I did read, it was usually history books and biographies. When I realised I liked reading novels, a whole new world opened up for me. Now, I love reading historical fiction, gothic literature, crime and adventure novels as well as the classics. I try to read a few pieces of classic literature every year; I have so much to catch up on. 

I am married with three children and live in the north east of England. I love watching sport, playing on my PS4, films and the piano. I love writing too! I started a few years ago with the goal of writing fun stories that people would enjoy reading. History is what I know and love so the books I currently write are packed with historical details to accurately evoke the time period in which they are set.  In time I would also like to try my hand at other genres. 

 

I have been a History teacher for 16 years. I teach full time and write in my spare time, between the demands of teaching and family life.   I am very fond of relaxing and sleeping, too which also gets in the way of writing more often than not.  

Even more about me...

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If you want to know more, if you can be bothered or if you're having trouble sleeping, then there's some more info about me below. Random answers to random questions...

Who is your hero?

  • My sporting heroes would be Alan Shearer, Peter Beardsley and Joe Montana. From the historical or political field, I would probably say Abraham Lincoln or Martin Luther King. William Tyndale would rank very highly on my list too. They are too numerous to mention. Jesus would beat them all though. Even if you don't believe he is who he says he is, I think most would agree that he's pretty special.    

If you could live anywhere, where would it be?

  • Somewhere hot, exotic and tropical, near crystal clear waters and endless blue skies. I have always fancied living in the Middle East too. 

What is your biggest fear?

  • I don't think I am a particularly fearful person but I would hate to be buried alive. I'm not that keen on small, tight spaces in general.

What is your favourite family vacation?

  • My Dad is Canadian so I have many happy memories of holidays in Canada every summer as a child. In more recent times, my wife and I had a fantastic two-week holiday travelling around Israel and in 2019 we had a lovely family holiday in Turkey.

 

What would you change about yourself if you could?

 

  • I'm not a huge  fan of my feet

What really makes you angry?

  • I hate it when an inanimate object gets the better of me. Usually the offending object gets smashed out of sheer frustration. 

What motivates you to work hard?

 

  • I work hard so that I can play hard. And by play hard, that usually means lying down and reading for five minutes before I fall asleep.

What is your favourite thing about your career?

  • If you're teaching something you love then that's the best bit. The relationships you build with the students is good too but obviously it depends on the students.

 

What is your biggest complaint about your job?

 

  • There are many which I don't want to go into here. This is supposed to be a happy place.

What is your proudest accomplishment?

 

  • I felt a great sense of achievement when I finished, 'Murder on the Titanic.' It's one thing to think it and plan it in your head but to actually bring it to completion was very satisfying. 

What is your child's proudest accomplishment?

 

  • You would have to ask them! I was very proud of Layla when she performed in Macbeth at the Northern Stage. I was overjoyed when Holly potty-trained in one week (dry night and day) and I am very proud every time Benjamin takes to the football pitch and tenaciously goes for it.

What is your favourite book to read?

 

  • The Robe by Lloyd C. Douglas. A brilliant and life-changing book about a Roman soldier who witnesses the crucifixion. The only book to date that I've read twice. 

What makes you laugh the most?

 

  • I like watching people fall over. My favourite sitcom is Seinfeld which always makes me laugh no matter how many times I watch it. Blackadder and Only Fools & Horses are also favourites of mine. Dumb & Dumber is the greatest comedy ever made.

What was the last movie you went to? What did you think?

 

  • As I am writing this we are in another national lockdown so visiting the cinema lately has been impossible. The last film I saw was Tenet. I didn't really like it because I didn't have a clue what was going on.

What did you want to be when you were small?

 

  • Until I was 18 I always wanted to be a policeman. Even recently I thought about a career change to the police.

What does your child want to be when he/she grows up?

 

  • Benjamin told me recently that when he grows up he wants to be either a darts player or a shoe-shiner.

If you could choose to do anything for a day, what would it be?

 

  • I have always wanted to scuba-dive in a tropical paradise somewhere. Alas, I have gammy ears so it's never going to happen.

What is your favourite game or sport to watch and play?

 

  • I love watching American Football and I love playing football (American or otherwise) in the garden with Benjamin.

Would you rather ride a bike, ride a horse, or drive a car?

 

  • I am allergic to horses so that is definitely out. I would drive a car, preferably a convertible.  

What would you sing at Karaoke night?

 

  • Something from the eighties. Take on Me or Never Gonna Give You Up.

What two radio stations do you listen to in the car the most?

 

  • BBC Radio 4 and Smooth FM. 

Which would you rather do: wash dishes, mow the lawn, clean the bathroom, or vacuum the house?

 

  • Mow the lawn (cut the grass). When I do that I am outside on my own.

If you could hire someone to help you, would it be with cleaning, cooking, or yard work?

 

  • Cleaning. Fiona would appreciate that.

If you could only eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?

 

  • A Lebanese chicken platter. Although familiarity breeds contempt so I wouldn't want to spoil my enjoyment of it.

Who is your favourite author?

  • Agatha Christie, no contest. Love the murder mysteries and the thrillers from the Queen of Crime.

Have you ever had a nickname? What is it?

 

  • Unfortunately no, although at school I have been called 'baldy,' 'cue ball' and other similarly witty soubriquets 

Do you like or dislike surprises? Why or why not?

 

  • It is very difficult to surprise me but in general I think I like them. I don't know why.

In the evening, would you rather play a game, visit a relative, watch a movie, or read?

 

  • Apart from visiting relatives, any of the above would suit me just fine. I do like my relatives very much but after a long day's work, I need to relax.  

Would you rather vacation in Hawaii or Alaska, and why?

 

  • I visited Hawaii once and liked it very much. I didn't surf though so I should like to go back and try it. Heat over cold for me every time.

Would you rather win the lottery or work at the perfect job? And why?

 

  • This seems a strange question. Who on earth would rather work than win the lottery? If you win the lottery you can do whatever you like, including work. 

Who would you want to be stranded with on a deserted island?

 

  • My wife obviously. 

If money was no object, what would you do all day?

 

  • Fly somewhere hot and interesting. Eat, swim and read in the sun. 

If you could go back in time, what year would you travel to?

 

  • I would love to visit America in the 1920s. It would be a fascinating era to experience. The Roaring Twenties, jazz, prohibition, wealth, leisure etc. 

How would your friends describe you?

 

  • Relaxed, easy to get on with, good company.

What are your hobbies?

 

  • Reading, writing, watching sport, playing computer games, family stuff, church stuff, watching films and box sets with Fiona.

What is the best gift you have been given?

 

  • My wife bought me The Robe by Lloyd C. Douglas which I mentioned earlier. That was  a pretty good gift. 

What is the worst gift you have received?

 

  • Chocolate liqueurs in a staff Secret Santa. It showed no thought whatsoever so I never participated in staff Secret Santa from that point onward. 

Aside from necessities, what one thing could you not go a day without?

 

  • I could go a day without them but I wouldn't want to spend too much time away from my family.

List two pet peeves.

 

  • Radio adverts and people wearing sunglasses indoors.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

 

  • I would like to think I had written a few more novels and that a lot of people had read them and really like them

How many pairs of shoes do you own?

 

  • About 10 I think

If you were a super-hero, what powers would you have?

 

  • I would love to be able to fly and after that maybe to breathe underwater. That would be cool. 

What would you do if you won the lottery?

 

  • What most people would do probably. Quit my job immediately, pay off the mortgage, give lots of it away to family and friends, start a charity, buy a holiday home, go on lots of fun holidays with the family, buy a nice car and use the time to write lots of fun stories.   

What form of public transportation do you prefer? (air, boat, train, bus, car, etc.)

 

  • The aeroplane I suppose. I used to get very excited about air travel and still do to a smaller degree. Nowadays it is more about seeing the excitement on the kids' faces when they fly. It's the fastest way to get wherever you're going. That's why I like it now. 

What's your favourite zoo animal?

  • The big ones. Rhinos, tigers, bears etc.

If you could go back in time to change one thing, what would it be?

  • When I was 18 there was a fancy pair of jeans I nearly bought but didn't. Always regretted that. 

If you could share a meal with any 4 individuals, living or dead, who would they be?

 

  • That is not an easy question for a History teacher to answer. 

How many pillows do you sleep with?

 

  • One


What's the longest you've gone without sleep (and why)?

  • I remember bivouacking on the beach one time. My Dad told my brother and I that we wouldn't need sleeping bags and that we would be warm enough without them. It was the worst night of my life and I don't think I slept a wink. To this day, I'm not sure if Dad did it on purpose. 


What's the tallest building you've been to the top in?

 

  • I went up the CN Tower in Toronto when it was the tallest and a few years ago I went up the Burj Khalifa in Dubai. We went up it at night with VIP passes we bought on Groupon. It was very impressive.

Would you rather trade intelligence for looks or looks for intelligence?

 

  • I think I would rather be intelligent than beautiful. Though we all know that beauty gets you a long way in this world. My wife is both!

How often do you buy clothes?

 

  • Every few months. I like clothes. I wouldn't be seen dead without them. 

Have you ever had a secret admirer?

 

  • My Mum bought me a Valentine's Day card once. I knew it was her. 

 

What's the most daring thing you've ever done?

 

  • A woman asked me how old I thought she was and I answered.

What was the last thing you recorded on TV?

 

  • Evil under the Sun. An Agatha Christie whodunnit starring Peter Ustinov.

What was the last book you read?

 

  • Holy Island - L. J. Ross

What's your favourite type of foreign food?

 

  • Lebanese closely followed by Turkish and Persian

Are you a clean or messy person?

 

  • By clean I suppose this means tidy, which I am

Who would you want to play you in a movie of your life?

 

  • Bruce Willis. He's bald too.

How long does it take you to get ready in the morning?

 

  • Just shy of 30 minutes including a shower

What kitchen appliance do you use every day?

 

  • The toaster for the kids' breakfast

What's your favourite fast food chain?

 

  • Pizza Hut. Love the Texas Meat Meltdown.

What's your favourite family recipe?

 

  • Fiona and my Mum are both fantastic cooks. Their Sunday lunches are unbelievable, especially the roasties and the parsnips

Do you love or hate rollercoasters?

 

  • Love them, although as I get older my ability to ride them and not feel sick seems to be weakening

What's your favourite family tradition?

 

  • We all watch The Snowman together on Christmas Eve and family film night is every Friday night

What is your favourite childhood memory?

 

  • Summer holidays in Canada

What's your favourite movie?

 

  • The original Star Wars trilogy, the Indiana Jones trilogy and the Back to the Future trilogy, Jaws and Death on the Nile 

How old were you when you learned Santa wasn't real? How did you find out?

 

  • I have no idea. As my Mum once said, "I have lots of good memories, I just can't remember any of them!"

Is your glass half full or half empty?

 

  • Pressed down, shaken together and overflowing

What's the craziest thing you’ve done in the name of love?

 

  • Played crazy golf with Fiona. She turns into a violent hooligan when we play that game.

What three items would you take with you on a deserted island?

 

  • The contents of my bookshelves, my earplugs (for swimming) and goggles

What was your favourite subject in school?

 

  • History

What's the most unusual thing you've ever eaten?

 

  • I think I ate rat in Thailand once. I have also eaten Emu and Kangaroo

Do you collect anything?

  • Barnes & Noble leatherbound classics. They're beautiful books, I especially love my H. G. Wells and Jules Verne ones. I also have all of the teeth that fell out when I was a child

 

Is there anything you wished would come back into fashion?

 

  • The Air Jordan turquoise shell suit I had in the eighties was pretty cool

Are you an introvert or an extrovert?

 

  • Definitely an introvert

Which of the five senses would you say is your strongest?

 

  • I have always been very proud of having good eyesight

Have you ever had a surprise party? (that was an actual surprise)

 

  • Never. I don't think it would be possible to pull off something like that without my knowing

Are you related or distantly related to anyone famous?

 

  • George Stephenson. He's Fiona's Great Uncle many times over

What do you do to keep fit?

 

  • I have always loved swimming. In another life I would be a dolphin.

Does your family have a “motto” – spoken or unspoken?

 

  • My kids' motto seems to be: "why do today what you can put off until tomorrow?"

If you were ruler of your own country what would be the first law you would introduce?

 

  • 4 day weekend

Who was your favourite teacher in school and why?

 

  • I can't remember having a favourite but I liked the ones who were fun and friendly but would lose it if someone stepped out of line

What three things do you think of the most each day?

 

  • Work, work and work unfortunately

If you had a warning label, what would yours say?

 

  • WARNING: If I'm not interested in what you're saying I am only pretending to be listening

What song would you say best sums you up?

 

  • No idea. I'll tell you my favourite eighties songs instead: Take on Me and Africa

What celebrity would you like to meet at Starbucks for a cup of coffee?

 

  • I never go into Starbucks. I don't drink tea or coffee and never have (literally). But I would like to go for a burger with Clint Eastwood or Tom Cruise

Who was your first crush? 

  • Katie. We used to ballroom dance around the playground in Middle School

 

What's the most interesting thing you can see out of your office or kitchen window?

 

  • Sometimes from my classroom window I can see kids jumping the fence

 

On a scale of 1-10 how funny would you say you are?

 

  • I think I am quite funny and that I make Fiona laugh a lot. She disagrees!

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

 

  • If I am still teaching then I'll hopefully be able to retire soon. If not then I'll have sold millions of books and written tonnes of good stories

What was your first job?

 

  • McDonald's. I could do everything but I never got my five stars. Always been a source of frustration for me

If you could join any past or current music group which would you want to join?

  • The Tallis Scholars 

How many languages do you speak?

 

  • Two: English & Geordie

What is your favourite family holiday tradition?

 

  • It was always a tradition to laugh at my Mum on holiday in Canada or America when she got absolutely terrified during a thunder storm

Who is the most intelligent person you know?

 

  • Red Simon

If you had to describe yourself as an animal, which one would it be?

 

  • When I was at school someone once said I looked like a turtle. I don't think it was supposed to be a flattering comparison 

What is one thing you will never do again?

 

  • Drink iced tea

Who knows you the best?

  • God & Fiona