I was born in Oxford and grew up in the neighbouring countryside, where a great deal of action took place during the English Civil War, and I visited many of the famous battlefields, all of which made a profound impression on me. My father was from Spain, so my hero Laurence Beaumont and I share a common heritage. The germ of The Best of Men was sown early: when in my teens, I wrote a novel set during the Civil War period and I still have those pages preserved, in tiny handwriting, perhaps inspired by the Brontë children's tales of Angria.
I moved to Canada in the mid-seventies and ended up pursuing an academic career, with a brief break spent working in the world of high fashion retail. While finishing a doctoral thesis and later lecturing in political theory, ideas formed in my head for a rather more adult story about the English Civil War than my first effort. Although eventually I decided not to pursue teaching, themes that interested me from my studies found their way into The Best of Men, and certainly the discipline of a thesis was extremely helpful in keeping me dedicated to finishing the book, a task that took me over ten years.
I feel at home in both Canada and England: since 1986 I have been visiting London frequently for personal and research reasons, so I know the city quite well and am very much 'repatriated' in my land of birth. Now I spend about one month a year in Senegal, the homeland of my partner, and was inspired to create the character of Khadija, the seer, through my contact with Senegalese mystical and religious practices and the Peul people who live near the coast where we have a small property.
I have already begun a sequel to The Best of Men that picks up immediately where the first book ends and includes many of the same characters, with some important new additions. I am also planning a third volume in the series.
12 May 2010
12 May 2009
2 July 2009
10 April 2011
... News Archive