I was born in the fifties and brought up on smog and boiled cabbage in London. Sent away at 13 to boarding school in Malvern. Always wanted to be a doctor. Studied medicine at St. Bartholomew’s Hospital (West Smithfield). It was a good time in the early seventies, theatre, film and pop were all thriving. Underground music was where we found our heroes, John Mayall, Peter Green and the like.
I married young, another doctor and we had a girl and a boy pretty soon. Qualified 1974, various jobs in London and elsewhere – UCH, Hammersmith, Sheffield, Edinburgh. Achieved two post-graduate degrees and became a cancer doctor in radiotherapy, settling with the family in the North-East of England.
I am retired now from the Health Service, still living on Teesside. I spend much of my time writing, far from the hubbub of city life, enjoying peaceful periods of contemplation. It is so different from being a doctor, although I used to write a lot even then. They say, fiction is the lie that tells the truth. I like fiction-writing for its way of setting its own rules, for settling old scores, of telling its version of the truth. The novel thrives on misunderstanding and conflict and can be manipulated as a vehicle for hidden deception or a way of seeking honest explanations.
I have a major concern about the failure of successive Governments to counter youth disappointment, to give hope to an entire blighted generation, just as my two adolescent daughters are ready to seek their fortunes in these uncertain times. The global coronavirus pandemic has created a whole new layer of frightened individuals scared to go out and live their lives, which will have irreparable consequences. And I do worry for the future, when we rely on such psychological misfits as Donald Trump, Joe Biden, Kim Jong-un, Vladimir Putin and those unpronounceable mullahs of Iran for our safety.
I have two needy fluffy dogs at home to distract me; so small, one or two turns around the kitchen island and there’re done.