I was born in Finland in 1958 and since then have lived in eight other countries (England, Wales, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Greece and the Czech Republic, although it was actually Czechoslovakia when I went there, and France, where I am currently living with my wife and daughter). I speak many... show more
I was born in Finland in 1958 and since then have lived in eight other countries (England, Wales, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Greece and the Czech Republic, although it was actually Czechoslovakia when I went there, and France, where I am currently living with my wife and daughter). I speak many languages, and for the last decade have been supporting my writing blamelessly enough as an agency translator over the internet, working in five languages, although as I am now working a little in Chinese that has expanded to six. In addition to writing fiction, I also write plays and music, including songs (often comic songs) and opera. At one stage I used to do a cabaret act based on my humorous songs, but that has been in abeyance since moving to the French countryside, where the jokes tend to fall a bit flat as nobody speaks English.I started what you could rather inaccurately call my working life at age 16 when I became a street musician in the holidays while an impoverished student. This part-time busking, mainly playing classical music but also some electric blues continued through my time at Oxford (where I also played in Will Self's band, the Abusers), and extended intermittently into a period of unemployment after that. Nothing very adventurous: Paris and London, and I suppose like George Orwell there was a good deal of Down and Out. Although I don't perform that much these days, I do write, with one opera completed and two more in the works. Also a lot of songs, some in French. During a long period living in Prague, I was able to see a few of my plays staged in the thriving English-language theatre scene there in the 1990s, and I still have some theatre projects on the go.I have written fiction for a long time, a few early novels which I am glad to forget and a lot of short stories, some of which I still like; and eventually I decided it was time to try a very long novel. I didn't know how long it would be, but 'Dragonfly' turned out to be as long as War and Peace - about half a million words. It started from the tiniest moment of inspiration: walking with my pregnant wife on the cliffs looking over the beach of Nazare in Portugal I saw a beautiful little blue dragonfly hovering in a hole in the ground and the thought came into my mind that it looked like a spacecraft hanging in space. It was several months before I started writing, but that image stayed with me, and the spaceship (a 'starboat', actually) is the 'Dragonfly' of the title.If I have a qualification as a writer, it is a wide experience of life. I have seen society from top to bottom. The bottom I have explained; for the top, during several years working in international relations I met, as I used to say, presidents and princes, ambassadors, generals and government ministers. I have visited the Pentagon and the Russian Ministry of Defence, and talked to several billionaires. So 'Dragonfly' is a novel that presents many levels of society: the poor and the rich, the powerful and the powerless, those who make the laws and those who break them; and to do that, to really give the feel of a complex imagined world, you have to write at length.In a former life I was a university teacher, and I have a few academic publications which I don't think are appropriate to include here, but I have put up a couple of old volumes of fiction: a collection of short stories, Family Values, self-published with Xlibris to take advantage of a very cheap introductory offer of theirs; and the Book of Amuwapi, a kind of poetic fantasy about a weeping god and a catfish searching for love.