I first thought of becoming a writer when I was at Cranbrook School in Kent. Hammond Innes, the renowned international thriller writer, came to speak to us. I was hooked! Yet even before that I had loved writing. My English teacher’s brother was Geoffrey Household, the author of the legendary Rogue Male. I was introduced to him but aged about 10, I never realised I was meeting someone so celebrated.

I went on to Durham University and started writing for the University paper. I was sent to interview Brenda Lee between her shows in Newcastle. Her recordings were topping the charts back then but even now, every Christmas, she belts out Rocking Around the Christmas Tree.

I had been born in Scotland but my parents had settled in Folkestone, Kent. The fields where I played as a child are now the entrance to the Channel Tunnel. At University, I shared digs with a friend who went on to become a judge. This was in Wideopen, just north of Newcastle. On winter evenings we would go to the bump in the road and shovel up coal as it fell from the giant tipper trucks coming from the pits. With rising unemployment, It was a harsh but vital baptism for someone from a genteel seaside town. I still love the north-east and really enjoyed meeting the friendly, wisecracking Geordies. Wideopen (much changed now) features in Hard Place, my first Ratso thriller.
I then qualified as a solicitor (attorney to my American friends!) and for some sixteen years lived and worked in Dorset and Somerset. I started writing my first mystery thriller some ten years later when I was bored by the Christmas TV schedules. By chance I was friendly with a member of the Crime Writers Association who took me to meetings and there I met top-selling writers like PD James, Desmond Bagley and Gavin Lyall. Gavin was good enough to mentor me while I was writing my first book - and so Case for Compensation was born.

Over the years, I have been helped and had advice from Martin Edwards, the Diamond Dagger Award winner, Colin Dexter, the creator of Morse and Humphrey Hawksley, author of cracking thrillers (and a well-known broadcaster too). Perhaps most pertinent of all was my meeting with Lee Child. At that time, I was writing standalone thrillers and he emphasised the importance of me writing a series, preferably long – advice I have since followed with my Ratso series.

In 1984 I opened a law-office in London and, for some ten years, I juggled writing with running this growing business. However, much as I loved London and international litigation, I loathed admin and bureaucracy and so I retired to tackle new challenges and have more time to write.

Where to start a new life?

Where better than Las Vegas!

My wife and I lived in Sin City for nearly seven years. There, I finished three books and became involved with American litigation, insurance fraud and the casino industry. Now, after a brief time in Cyprus, we are based on the Isle of Man. Here, besides my writing, I am part-time Chairman of the Employment Tribunal, a never-ending source of drama and human interaction.

My sixteen books reflect my love of travel, political intrigue and fascination with fraud, murder, wine, casinos, sport and Formula One racing. Over the years I have visited over 80 countries and so my characters regularly flit from country to country by air, sea or fast car.

I am frequently asked whether I prefer writing to the law. My opinion has never wavered. Except for wretched form-filling, whatever I am doing I love 100%. My legal background has prompted storylines and opportunities to encounter human nature at its best and worst. It has taken me down Devon lanes, to much of the USA and Europe, Dubai, Brazil, Chile, the Caribbean, the Far East and Australia.

In London, I worked closely with BBC TV’s That’s Life and other consumer affairs programmes like Watchdog. For a time, I was the legal eagle on a West Country TV programme and a regular on national breakfast TV. Through the law and writing, I have been invited to Buckingham Palace and 10 Downing Street – doors opening that I could never imagine while shovelling up coal as a student.

My biggest regret has been lack of time for meeting more readers. However, I have done several author tours, talks to Writers’ Circles or panel discussions or attended big events like Bouchercon and the International Thriller Writers of the USA.

Like most New Year’s Resolutions, mine made to meet more of you has not yet been honoured as much as I had hoped, though I have enjoyed meeting considerable numbers of supporters and readers in the UK and USA. As the Class Teacher would say – could do better! One of the great pleasures of being an author is meeting you, the readers. You are the oxygen that we all need and I hope it will not be long before our paths cross.