First I would like to thank Chris for his kindness in inviting me to post on his blog. He is performing a wonderful service to authors and long may he continue.
I was born in Liverpool on 6 January 1969, a year which is best known for my birth and for a rather minor event, the moon landing!
One of my earliest memories is of crunching through the leaves with my grandfather in Woolton woods which are situated only a short distance from where my family live. I loved to collect acorns and conkers as a small boy and it was undoubtedly my grandfather who inspired in me my love of nature.
As a small boy I vividly recall sitting on my grandfather’s knee as he regailed me with the exploits of The Famous Five and other children’s classics. It was from him that I derived my love of reading.
I am registered blind and as a child my main way of accessing books was in braille or on spoken word cassette tape. With the advance of technology I now do most of my reading on my Kindle using the text to speech facility or on my iPad using Apple’s built-in screenreader, Voiceover to read ibooks.
Having studied history and politics at University College of Swansea I moved to London to take up full-time employment. I have lived in Crystal Palace, which is a few miles outside London, since 1997. Crystal Palace is a wonderful area in which to live, being very green and full of wildlife. I’ve often had foxes in my garden and heard the haunting note of an owl as he hunts overhead.
I began writing in mid 2012, my first collection of short stories, “The First Time” being published in December 2012 although it has subsequently been reissued. In “The First Time” we meet Becky a young graduate who enters the world of prostitution as a professional escort in order to pay her debts and avoid the threat of homelessness. The media has carried a number of stories about young women turning to sex work in order to pay for their tuition or clear other debts. The issue of what causes well educated ladies to enter prostitution fascinates me. The stereotypical picture of a sex worker is of a poorly educated woman (or, less frequently man) who sells their body on the streets in order to feed their drug habit. However the world of sex work is much more complex than this simplistic portrayal and it is this complexity which I tackle in “The First Time”.
“The First Time” takes no moral stance on prostitution. Rather the story examines how the act of prostitution makes Becky feel both on a psychological and physical level.
Whatever one thinks of Becky’s decision to become an escort she enters the profession of her own free will. In contrast in my long short story, “Samantha” Sam is forced into prostitution by her brutal pimp, Barry. While Sam does not work the streets her life is in constant danger due to the psychopathic propensities of Barry.
“Samantha” is set in Liverpool and is full of references to places with which I am familiar. For example Samantha visits Woolton woods with Peter, with whom she is in love and while there finds a brief restbite from her brutalised existence.
Turning to the mechanics of writing, as a blind writer who is unable to read print I use Jaws which converts text into speech and braille on a standard Windows computer enabling me to access the screen. Most of my writing takes place in the spare room of my flat. Despite the chaos of my desk I somehow manage to write!
My author’s page on amazon.co.uk
My author’s page on amazon.com