Photo by Raul Rucarean

I was born and grew up in Swansea, South Wales. I read English at Cambridge, where I discovered my love for medieval literature and the spellbinding legends which inspired it. But I also became interested in exploring the history of the so-called ‘Dark Age’, in finding the reality beneath the enchanting tales of wizards, dragons and magic swords. I knew that, if I ever chose to write historical fiction, there must be some thrilling untold stories waiting to be discovered.

The germ of an idea popped up when a friend and I were studying the origins of King Arthur’s story. ‘Ah,’ she said, ‘I love that Vortigern. He’s just so evil!’ It was funny, but it also made me think. I’ve always enjoyed looking at history from unfamiliar angles. I started digging, and began to wonder if the villain was quite as black as the legends made out.

All this was put on hold when I graduated. I worked as a professional indexer for leading publishers, mostly on historical texts – everything from Ancient Babylon to the Celts to World War Two. Since then I have spent my working life on the Gower Peninsula, first as a farmer, then a hotelier, and finally as a pub and nightclub owner. During these years I continued my research into the story of Vortigern. I wrote the first draft of the High King series in the back office of the nightclub, in between pulling pints, working on the door and driving customers home in our minibus at closing time. I don’t really know how I got out with a manuscript, but somehow I did.

I still live on the edge of Gower, close to my children and their families, and share my home with two sheepdogs. Above are just two shots of the Welsh landscape which inspired me when I was working on the High King series. Every time I look at it, I know why the people I have written about fought so hard to keep it. If you’re reading the second High King book, Under The Dragon, when you come to the chapter where Vortigern is mustering the Welsh warriors ahead of the campaign in the North, take a look at the right-hand picture and the ‘lazy bend in the river’!

I’d love to hear from you!