Far off days, feeding on an endless stream of fiction and non-fiction, the latter always huddled under the troublesome category of 'Earth Mysteries.' I have fond recollections of reading those classic Armada ghost tale collections and the horror compendiums from Pan. I'm grateful to have had a childhood blessed by Bradbury, Blackwood, Timperley, Danby, Tapp, Bloch and many others.
These formative experiences came to bear on my very early work, where I'd eagerly eat through one creative writing jotter after another. Secret military experiments? Rampaging Egyptian mummies? Random monsters picking my classmates off one by one? The strange kid in the class, that was me.
Moving to the teens, time for more challenging fiction and non-fiction. My interests in paranormal subjects and magick deepened during these years. I studied myself and the world around me through new skills courtesy of my homemade runes and tarot. I also started experimenting with dowsing. My view that the world is so much richer than we can grasp, begins in these times.
Tastes varied. Years passed in the company of Lethbridge and Fortune on one side, Gogol, Kafka and Solzhenitsyn on the other. Luckily, my secondary schooling fed me with Orwell, Steinbeck and Solzhenitsyn which I am extremely grateful for. We were an unruly lot in class, but I still remember reading "One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich" and experiencing that chilling flash of 'this is it.'
Over this time I also cast the net into photography, film and music, developing an eclectic taste throughout. A love of raw cinema, finding treasure in the controversial across all ages. From this long, long period of learning and discovery, I developed a deep love of incoherence and the unconscious logic of dreamtime.
You have to play the submissions game and I did. Obsessing over the most minute detail prior to pushing my latest fiction or non-fiction piece. Ten rings to jump through? Let me do it.
I had some success with my non-fiction, several articles appearing in the great British occult magazine Prediction, now sadly no-longer with us. But overall these were lean years - a lot of effort, a lot of frustration. I have a cupboard full of pristine rejection slips and unread submissions from this time. It's a collection that keeps me humble.
The last few years are all about slowly throwing the shackles off. Now it's just me and the stories, it's time to let them breathe. Time to grab some freedom back.
Now when I write, I do it for the love of it. I do it just to see what happens next.
From 'The Mysterious Heroism of Archibald Crane'