My wife took this picture of me on our honeymoon in the tropics. I actually wrote William Ottoway's Utopia some ten years prior to such blissful getaway and often reflect on how magical our own break proved to be in comparison to poor Mr. Ottoway' sojourn in similar-seeming paradise!
I read English at the University of Bristol and had always intended to remain in academia after graduation, but it was my misfortune to fall very ill during the course culminating in a diagnosis of bipolar disorder when I left the west country for home; much soul-searching soon indicated to me that perhaps life wanted me to be a writer rather than a literary critic.
I was given tremendous support by loved ones through this time of mental fragility including that from my great aunt who advised me not to engage in self-pity regarding the condition. At first, as with many I suppose who receive gut-wrenching diagnosis, I did feel sorry for myself, but over time her counsel grew wiser within me and I learnt to abide by its direction.
In a way, with all the common sense hardiness of her generation this relative of mine was expounding what has come to be known in our time as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, the replacing of negative thoughts with more life-affirming ones; CBT has been fundamental in correcting and balancing my state of mind, and I still employ its skills to this day.
After a while, I did return to tertiary education pursuing a postgraduate qualification in Creative Writing from that most prestigious of institutes for the discipline, the University of East Anglia. At the very end of this course my great aunt passed away, yet she it was who with her original advice imbued me with resolve enough to write, and edit, and here publish.
It then remains for me to thank you greatly for any time you take in considering and/or buying my book. I have put all effort into condensing the novels from sometimes unwieldy narrative to then often snapshot story, and I really do hope you enjoy the result!