Middling 30s

This year I turned 33, which is a pleasing number and a good age to be. It marks nearly 19 years since I started writing books for a living, and 9 years since I left RADA. I’m settled with a partner and a flat, learning at long last how to be comfortable with my body, and have been extremely lucky in many ways. In my writing life, my career appears to be going well, for which I have not just luck and years of slog to thank, but an incredibly loyal publisher. If I’ve had 19 years of writing, Orbit…

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Adventures in… Madeira

One of my favourite magazines, Delayed Gratification, has a section called Butterfly Effect. In it, the implausible series of events leading from, say, a man tripping over a rabbit in 1779, is unfolded to its logical conclusion of man landing on the moon. (And hello Apollo 11 60th anniversary!) A similar cascade of events might explain why we went to Madeira. The Wright brothers get a plane in the air. A cascade of imperial cock-ups, colonial mis-adventures and diplomatic disasters lead to WW1. The peace of WW1 leaves Germany devastated and primed for the rise of a far-right Nazi leader.…

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Running Sucks Sorta Maybe No

Running sucks. I’m kinda learning to love it. As a child, I was taught that exercise was basically a moral sin. For my Dad, who was always overweight, exercise was just something he straight-up refused to do. My Mum loves walking everywhere and values exercise in life deeply, but always had a strong sense that to ‘do exercise’ such as the gym was to indulge in unforgivable vanity and self-importance. That, and she hated the swimming pool changing rooms. Consequently, I was raised suspicious of basically all activity that wasn’t walking casually ever. At secondary school, my PE report was…

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The Pursuit of William Abbey – Cover

New book! Whooooooo! I’m not very good at saying stuff about why my own books are cool and you should read ’em (I’ve spent a lot of the last year apologising for 84K being flippin’ bleak – sorry – but an on-it bleak) but Orbit has way nicer things to say about it. This one is set between 1884-1917, and features a great deal of spying, running away from things, travel, lies, revolution and fresh air and exercise. It’s also a really sexy cover design by Steve Panton, and I hope come November I’ll have come up with a wonderful…

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Adventures in… Bucharest

“Do you fancy a trip to….” began the representative of the British Council. “Ohohohohoh yes pick me!” “… now, hear me out, because it’s important you understand….” “PICK ME PICK ME PICK ME!” Maybe nuanced negotiation isn’t my top thing. But hell, if anyone wants to send me on adventures then I’m totally in, ‘cos it’s amazing. I landed in Bucharest after a storm. And the Pope. Both were considered disruptive by the man who met me at the airport. Floodwater had temporarily blocked off the main entrance to the airport car park, and now gaggles of men with rolled-up…

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