I used to have other hobbies.

I used to play video games with my massive Sony headphones until I couldn't see or hear properly. I used to go to pubs and clubs and festivals. I used to take my bike out on a Sunday morning in the Oxfordshire countryside, with a paperback novel (typically from the SF Masterworks collection) in my rucksack, then sit and read it somewhere pretty. Years later, sitting in a hospital with little to do but wait, I started mulling over those good old days and I remembered how much I loved drawing comic strips and writing stories at my granny's house in Whitley Bay when I was about eleven, around the time I saved up to buy Terry's Pyramints and thought the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy was the best thing ever. Then I sat there and thought about that.

Sorry, ex-hobbies.

The best thing about writing is that you come face-to-face with who you are as a person. That's a pretty important thing to think about.

The second-best thing is watching people smile as they read through your pages.



Looking for a long list of publications? Wrong place.

After that day in the hospital, I started writing flash fiction. I wrote and wrote and wrote and I remember the buzz of sending off 1000-word stories. I remember sending off a story called Ashima Gone Babylon and I got a reply saying "yes, we'll publish this." Wow. What a feeling that was.

Precisely 5 (five) successful flash fiction publications later, I realised I had enough ideas to fill a novel. So, for better or for worse, the flash fiction enterprise got ditched. Perhaps I should've spent longer doing it. I don't know. It got my back up slightly that there were sites that turned me down every time I sent them a story. (Every time?) Either way, seven years later, I've got one abandoned—and one complete—novel on my hands. The complete one is called Pandimensional Yoghurt For Beginners. And it's every bit as sensible as it sounds.

Seven years sounds like a long time to produce a grand total of 1 (one) unpublished novel. It is. But take into account that I had to learn the hard way how to write a novel while I was writing it, and make all the mistakes that I needed to make along the way (plus a bucketload more that I didn't need to make, but I did anyway, just because I could.)

Amongst all this: tales of angst and addiction, family matters, changing careers mid-race (twice), adaptation to life in Spain, opening an ESL academy, meeting there some of the nicest people I've ever met—and because it's pathologically impossible for me not to mention it at least once at every opportunity—plenty of kung fu.