Available to come to book groups? Yes
Available to give talks? Yes
Available for school visits? Yes – sixth form only. I wouldn’t want to encourage anyone under 16 to read Here in the Cull Valley
I have spent most of my working life as a journalist on newspapers in Lancashire and Yorkshire, with a few forays into teaching in adult education. My novel Here in the Cull Valley appeared originally via Kindle. Although reviews were good, readers could not agree about my view of the north of England. Someone described it as “a love letter to West Yorkshire” but one reader suggested that the picture of an area in post-Thatcher decline made it a “fascinating social document”.
I’m interested in characters who are on the point of a crisis in their life. Memory is an important theme, as well as the light that self-knowledge – or the lack of it – casts on how people view the past. I’m currently working on another novel, Rocket Boy, which is a lighter and, ultimately, happier story – Penny Lane rather than Strawberry Fields Forever, said he modestly. Both these books feature, I think, interesting women and I’d like to do a novel one day with a female protagonist.
A few years ago I did an MA in British Cinema at Hull University (where I had read English Literature during the 1970s) just for the sheer fun of it. It included a dissertation on the Scottish film director Bill Forsyth, best known for Gregory’s Girl and Local Hero but whose adaptation of Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson is one of the best ever transitions from book to film. My interest in cinema is reflected in my writing – in Here in the Cull Valley, the main character imagines, in extremis, a film treatment of his story.
The Cull Valley, incidentally, is based loosely on Calderdale, the setting for Sally Wainwright’s Happy Valley.
I’m originally from Manchester but my wife Kay and I have lived in York now for almost 30 years, and we have no plans to leave.
Here in the Cull Valley
Stairwell, 2016, Paperback
Set in York? No, although the city makes a brief and significant appearance.
Description: As journalist Teddy Beresford is about to die in a car crash, he reviews his life and we learn about the way his sexual obsession with a woman he does not love has led him to this place
Reviews: ‘The fictional news reports and features are a particular joy, capturing to a tee the fake gossipy sentimentality of a certain type of newspaper feature and the bland clichés of some news reports.’ Stephen Lewis, York Press
Find out more and buy from: Publisher’s website l Usual outlets