Born in the sixties, I grew up in Hampshire, southern-England with a love of the countryside and everything to do with natural history, which when my friends were crying over Donny Osmond and screaming at David Cassidy, was hardly cool. I've also always had a passion for learning and information, nurtured, no doubt, by some very old-fashioned school mistresses during my five years at a very traditional grammar school, where we 'gels' were taught to think for ourselves and question everything. It may have made life tedious for my parents but it instilled in me an academic discipline that has never deserted me.
When I finished my education, I had no idea what I wanted to do. In those days, careers guidance extended only as far as determining the most suitable university for the subject you hoped to pursue and it was entirely by accident that I stumbled into the hallowed banking halls of the building society. I entered the profession - as was the only way at the time - in the most lowly role of administration clerk but the rigid and structured nature of the work suited my abilities and before long I was climbing through the ranks at a rapid pace, moving homes at the drop of a hat and becoming professionally qualified en route. In most respects, it was a good life, especially in the latter years when I found my niche in a 'blue-sky', 'out-of-the-box' development area where everything we did was expressed in acronyms. And when the time came to move on, it seemed sensible to take my skills and set up my own business, doing for other organisations what I had done so well for my employer.
And then, at forty-two, I was able to retire and spend life much closer to nature. The trouble there, though, was that living in a tiny hamlet on a Spanish mountainside, meant that with the onset of every brief but snowy winter, my joints began to complain. And so we swapped the clear air, endless sunshine and acres of almond groves for the insect-infested and humid tropical-rainforest of Malaysia. It may be an entirely different world but the oppressive heat provides the perfect excuse to spend hours at my computer, creating tales of the English countryside from a distance of six thousand miles.