I grew up on a Scottish island, which meant a childhood devoid of cinemas, waterparks, ice-skating rinks, burger joints, gigs, non-touristy shops and a hundred other exciting things The Mainland offered. Instead, I read incessantly, worshipped the night sky, climbed mountains, played Colonization and Worms until dawn, and listened to more R.E.M., Spiritualized, Pulp, Radiohead and Meat Loaf than is clinically advisable.
Most of all, I dreamed of one day writing my own stories.
I escaped to St Andrews University when I was seventeen to study astrophysics, my dream career at the time. I must’ve enjoyed it, because I then began a PhD in astrophysics at the University of Edinburgh. I soon realised that academic life wasn’t for me, but three-and-a-half years later I escaped with my dignity mostly intact and a doctorate on theoretical galaxy formation clutched in my sweaty palms.
After that I got a job with the NHS, which meant being seconded into the Scottish Government. I analysed performance data on cancer targets, and when nobody was looking, I finished my first book: on Post-It notes, illicit Word documents and hastily typed emails to myself.
After deciding on my second dream career, I studied teacher training at the University of Edinburgh and became a physics teacher at one of Scotland’s most prestigious schools. I quit three years later, and I bear the scars to this day.
In order to maintain my sanity, I kept writing.
After a short third career as a craft beer brewer (on hold for personal reasons) and a new fourth career as a full-time carer, I’m where I am now: a slightly neurotic thirtysomething with a wonderful wife, a vegetable garden, a mischievous cat and a house full of books. It’s not necessarily what I imagined as a fourteen-year-old dreaming of university cloisters, intellectual jousting in seminars and mountain-top telescopes, but I wouldn’t change it for the world.
I am, of course, always writing. Hopefully it’ll be my next career…