Books

Family History

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From Paupers to iPads: a Journey Through Seven Generations

One for family historians: a journey of surprising discoveries across six generations of my ancestors in the UK and much further afield.

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Celtic Skeletons

The illustrated sequel to From Paupers to iPads sees an Englishman unearth hitherto unknown close ties to Wales, Scotland and Cornwall, where he now lives.

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As the popular television series teasingly asks, Who Do Think You Are?  It is a question more and more people find themselves posing, usually far too late in life; those who could provide so many answers are by now no longer with us.

If only we had thought to ask our parents and grandparents about their lives, upbringing, major events and daily activities such as work, school and play. Instead, all we have, if we are lucky, are old photo albums of unknown faces and packages of uncaptioned pictures.

Like so many others, it was only in my later years that my curiosity was piqued enough to starting asking about those who had gone before. Was I descended from landed gentry or downtrodden peasants; from upright citizens or vagabonds and thieves?

What were their successes and disappointments; their joys and tragedies; births and deaths; weddings and divorces? So many questions, so little time to bring to life the people, relationships and events that shaped me.

Thus I joined the thousands upon thousands worldwide, their numbers ever swelling, who have found pleasure and frustration, excitement and disappointment in unearthing their family’s history. So many false trails, so many dead ends, so many misleading connections. Yet, bit by bit a tree was created; the thrill of discovering and adding each branch, twig and leaf  as good as reading any mystery tale.

Oh but how I lamented not talking to Mum, Dad, Nan and Gramps  when they were with us.  Histories lost forever.

At first I explored only as far as the first census (1831). Then further back as I learned of other sources and linked up with fellow researchers.  Not all could prove their sources; their trees loosely rooted in hearsay or from making unchecked grabs from other trees. It’s a jungle out there.

Suddenly it dawned: the mess of notes, scribbles and files I had gathered were just that to anyone else – a mess. Yet within them there were unknown stories worth bringing into the light. Something of interest to others, or at least to the wider family; to be recorded and preserved before being erased and forgotten.

And so From Paupers to iPads was born, my first venture into historical fiction, putting flesh on to the bare bones of names, dates and events.

Deeper and more targeted research followed. And, eventually, the successful publication of Celtic Skeletons and its revelations of hitherto unknown ancestors, and the unimagined dramas of their lives.

 

 

 

 

Crime fiction

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Done Deal

Bromo Perkins Mystery #1

Where it all began: the award-winning book that introduces disgraced undercover agent and reluctant sleuth Bromo Perkins.

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Washed Up

Bromo Perkins Mystery #2

Never a moment’s peace: the riverside discovery of a young woman’s body shatters Bromo’s hopes of a quiet life in exile.

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Death by Diamonds

Bromo Perkins Mystery #3

The past catches up: old battles and forgotten foes bring deadly danger to Bromo’s door and also threatens his beloved daughter.

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Twisted Trees

Bromo Perkins Mystery #4

Family ties can kill, as Bromo discovers when he has to dig deep into a respected businessman’s hidden past.

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Death Comes By Drone

Bromo Perkins Mystery #5

Old foes return; what seem like small-time local crimes bring Bromo into murderous conflict with former enemies from afar.

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WORDS, reading, writing. They have dominated my life since first being stimulated by the stories read to me by my parents, and the meaningless scrawls I scribed as an infant on whatever paper was nearby.

Forever penning sentences since way back when. From being a regular pre-teen winner of writing competitions in the local newspaper to becoming a by-lined reporter and feature writer on national magazines and major daily publications and finally a fully-fledged author of fact and fiction.

A wonderful life. Travelling the world; work as a daily pleasure while crafting my own words and those of many others. And reading, reading, reading.

The culmination was the appearance from nowhere of Bromo Perkins as I dreamily sipped my morning long black in a Melbourne café. He came unbidden, told me his story and my delayed ambition to create a book was fulfilled.

Five books later and with one in progress he remains a constant and persistent companion.