Updated: Jan 29
I have always loved the outdoors, and books. Yet I am surprised at the apparent randomness that led me to a career working with trees. A casual comment by a friend to speak to the careers officer at his school, and the planting of an idea that ‘arboriculture’ might be worth investigating. It took about eighteen months to get to college, but since then trees have provided me with a purpose and an incentive to keep learning that has lasted over forty years.
My writing career is not even half as long. Although I enjoyed writing stories at school, English wasn’t something I believed could ever be a career. The idea of writing began to grow when I was the editor of the Aberdeen University, Forestry Society magazine. That was fun. I was excited to have a tangible book at the end of my dissertation at Aberdeen, and at the end of my course at Oxford University. These small steps encouraged me that I could communicate effectively in print.
On New Year’s Eve, 1999, a friend challenged me to choose something as a goal for the next decade. I decided I would write a novel and get it published. So, I needed to learn how stories work. An evening class at the local college was very helpful and I started up the mountain towards being an author.
It has taken a while to get into my stride with stories and non-fiction, but things are rolling now. I have one book on trees that was published in 2011, by Crowood Press, with another tree book being written. I am also embarking on self-publishing a series of novels set in the English Civil Wars that deal with the powerful forces and ideas that were released during that turbulent time.