When did you first become interested in writing?
English was one of my favourite subjects at school and I always loved writing stories from a very early age. It was whilst researching my family tree in 2003 that writing took on a more defined and substantial role in my life when I became interested in how the town of Hastings (where my family lived) had suffered during World War 2. Ideas for a factual book began to take shape and so I began what would become my first book, Hastings at War. Three further local history books followed, alongside my taking a Masters Degree in Creative Writing. It was during this course that I started my Forensic Genealogist series of books with Hiding the Past and I haven’t looked back!
Why is storytelling important to you?
I think on a global scale storytelling is vital to help our understanding of the world, to open up creativity and to broaden horizons. For me personally, storytelling is a passion which I absolutely love to do. I try to offer my readers something, which I myself would want to read, involving history, mystery and plenty of genealogy. I get so much positive feedback from readers, who not only love the fictional story elements, but appreciate the factual parts, which I include in the stories, offering them new avenues of research in their own genealogical research.
What are you most looking forward to at THE Show?
I’m really looking forward to meeting up with people at THE Show. It promises to be a very diverse and international show, and I can’t wait to meet up with some of my fellow speakers, some of whom I have not met before. It’s always great, too, to meet up with followers of my books. All in all, I can’t wait!
What first sparked your interest in genealogy?
I first became interested in genealogy when I was around the age of twelve. It was the Dengate family (my grandmother’s maiden name), which first caught my attention, probably because they were all local to Hastings, where I was living at the time, whereas other branches were more inaccessible to a twelve-year-old! I had absolutely no idea what I was doing, though, and would spend a lot of time drawing up the family tree and asking members of my family to add to it what they could. I did have the presence of mind to interview my elderly great-, great-aunt, who was born in 1895 about what she could remember. I also gathered up all of her unwanted photographs at the gathering following her funeral, many of which spanned several generations of the family. From there, my interest turned into an addiction, which continues to this very day!
What’s next for you?
I have just completed a short story entitled The Asylum, which is available for free from my website. This story is now the start of the series, being the prequel to Hiding the Past. Now that it is complete, I am researching the next full-length novel in the series. I’ve been to a few archives already, including The National Archives and London Metropolitan Archives, but there is still more plotting to do before the writing can begin in earnest!