I’m told I need to tell a little more about myself, so I hope the following bio will suffice.
I was born and raised in East Belfast, Northern Ireland, near the Harland and Wolff shipyard where the ill-fated Titanic was built. My father worked on it as an apprentice and continued to work there as a painter, but those were the days when there were frequent spells of ‘no work in the yard’, so he would be forced to make his way to the English and Scottish shipyards to find employment, rather than go on the dole.
Both my parents were deaf and dumb, not very PC, I know, but that was how they were described in those days. Today, I believe, the correct term is ‘profoundly deaf’.
I left school, much too soon, at the age of 14. It was an unfortunate decision, but a necessary one as money had to be earned. Later, I tried to remedy this by going to night school to further my education, concentrating on English, maths and chemistry as my main subjects; but in the long run, it was my love of books and reading which would prove to be my educational saviour.
During the day I pursued a variety of jobs before settling into my favourite as a shoe salesman. My love of leather stems from that time; and probably my refusal to wear trainers, except on the beach! In the 1960s I emigrated to Toronto, Canada, where I worked for Union Carbide in an electrolysis unit. After working there sixteen hours a day, seven days a week, for nearly a year, I decided it was time to relax and see the rest of Canada and the USA. This was one of the most exciting times in my life, and included working as a night cashier in the Hotel Vancouver, delivering vehicles for the movie producer, George Englund, in Los Angeles, before ending up in the Bahamas, exploring the islands.
After a couple of years ‘on the road’, I eventually returned to Belfast to look after my parents, and after working as a sales representative for three years I decided to set up my own promotional advertising aids business. This included creating and promoting the Five Nations Rugby Championship tie, a best seller for over 20 years, along with a range of other branded products for Coca Cola, the Ryder Cup, Glasgow Rangers and other well-known names.
After retiring from business I volunteered to work for 12 weeks in a men’s’ hostel for the homeless. That turned into 12 years of dealing with men from all walks of life, whose lives had been turned upside down by inflicted and self-inflicted experiences.
I’m married to Vi, a retired nursing manager. I have a son who is a construction engineer who loves climbing mountains as well as building skyscrapers; and a daughter who runs her own campervan business. In addition, I’m the proud grandfather of two wonderful young boys, both of whom, I’m delighted to say, are avid readers and keen to write their own books!
Besides reading extensively, I have a number of interests, which include travel, not only to countries such as Italy, Egypt, Mexico and Sri Lanka, to explore their ancient cultures; but also through my own country of Ireland and its own long history.
When it comes to sporting interests, it’s the fortunes of the Irish and Ulster rugby teams which capture my attention.
Like many ‘sleeping authors’ I’d nursed the idea of writing a book, but other projects took precedence and I did little about it.
I had written a number of Irish short stories, and when I was diagnosed – very unexpectedly, as it happened – with prostate cancer, I decided to write about my experience and combine it with the fictional short stories. It currently sells under the title An Unexpected Diagnosis as an eBook on Amazon.
I followed up with TheTimecrack Adventure series including Timecrack and its sequel Copanatec, with a third in the pipeline. These evolved out of my interest in the cosmos, modern physics and the possibility of there being more than one universe.
And in response to the many enquiries on how, or why, I ever started writing so late in life, I have written How I Wrote My First Book, which I hope will answer some of their questions.