As you’ve probably noticed from my photo on the Home page, I celebrated my twenty-first birthday many years ago. I grew up in sunny Southend in south-east England and went to study economics at the London School of Economics. It was the late sixties (yes, I was there and I do remember parts of it) and times were interesting for a while. Student revolution was rife, and I recall being in the main lecture theatre one edgy morning watching an anarchist holding aloft a sledgehammer in front of the stage, waiting for students to vote on a motion that would allow him to demolish substantial chunks of the capitalist behemoth. It never happened and I never rose to any great heights in the revolutionary hierarchy, preferring to be boring and spend time in the library to study for my degree. But one night I was delegated the crucial task of guarding the cigarette machines in the bar during the student occupation of the building – heady days.
My studies over, I scoured the mean streets and offices of London for employment. But my potential career in the burgeoning computing industry was cut short when I managed to fail the aptitude test at a leading company by a “significant margin”, and it’s probably best not to dwell on the other interviews where I bombed. Eventually I found gainful employment teaching economics in schools, then in a further education college, and finally at the University of Abertay in Dundee, Scotland. I taught and researched economics there for a quarter of a century, and enjoyed my time with students and staff. But the fateful day dawned when I realised I wanted to write fiction rather than fact, so I left my job to work on 500 Parts Per Million.
My Career as an Economist
Before I took the plunge to be a fiction writer I worked as a university economist. Hundreds of students managed to pass their exams in spite of my cockney accent and confused ramblings, and I even found time to publish a modest number of academic papers in an eclectic range of subjects. If you’re interested, you can see the titles of most of them by following the link below:
Publishing an eBook
It would have been nice to land a traditional publishing deal, but it just didn’t happen for me. After a year spent trying to find an agent (not a particularly long time so I’m told), one near miss and a long string of rejections, I decided to throw in the metaphorical towel and hang up the gloves. If I was a younger man I might have stayed in the ring and slugged it out, but tempus fugit and so does my patience. With electronic publishing you have a chance to put your work out there straight away, bypass the agency gatekeepers and let the reading public be the judge. It was too good an opportunity to miss, so I took it. And from a green perspective it avoids churning out more glue and paper for the hardback and paperback markets, as well as all that shelving to store them on. Of course, there’s an environmental footprint from using eBook devices like Kindles and the associated data storage, but over their life cycle I can’t believe their footprint is any bigger than physical books, and possibly it’s much smaller. Time will tell.
If you don’t have a Kindle, you can download the novel onto an iPad or iPhone by using the Kindle app.