After working as a bookseller at Waterstone’s and a copywriter for book blurbs, I became a commissioning editor at Little, Brown. In my next role at Pavilion, I was the founding publisher of a new imprint, Portico. I also worked as an editorial director for AA Books and spent many years as an editorial consultant before joining Reedsy as Head of Learning. In total, I’ve edited and commissioned well over 100 titles, including many bestsellers and prize-winners. In 2018, I was the recipient of Whitefox’s Unsung Heroes of Publishing award (if you’ve ever heard me sing, you’ll know why that’s for the best).
In 1997 I took an MA in Creative Writing at Bath Spa University, where I was awarded a distinction.
My first novel, Crazy Little Thing Called Love, was published by Pan Macmillan in 2001 (“Appealingly funny” —Big Issue). This was followed in 2003 by Half A World Away (“Very funny” —The Times). I’m also the author of the non-fiction music book We Could Have Been the Wombles (Penguin, 2005) and two pop culture memoirs: All in the Best Possible Taste (Simon and Schuster, 2010) and Wired for Sound (Simon and Schuster, 2012).
Under the pseudonym Thomas Black, I wrote the crime novellas Dead on Arrival (Lume, 2013) and Hammerhead (Lume, 2015). In 2021, I was commissioned by the British Library to write Bespoke, a non-fiction book exploring the history and language of cycling. My story “Rings” was chosen as the opening piece for the Best British Short Stories 2021 anthology (Salt Publishing). I’m currently working on a new novel.
I’ve worked as a ghostwriter for the last decade. I would tell you which books I’ve written, but then I’d have to kill you. I have ghostwritten fifteen titles in total, including prize-winners and several international bestsellers. The majority of these books have been memoirs, with clients ranging from rock stars to footballers, politicians to boxing champions, soldiers to reality TV winners, psychologists to Tolkien experts (I am definitely not a Tolkien expert, so please don’t ask me any questions about The Hobbit. I’m still recovering from that one).
I have taught novel writing for over a decade both online and in person, and at retreats, universities, and literary festivals. Among the many institutions I have taught for are Falmouth University, the National Film and Television School, the Faber Academy, Stratford Literary Festival, John O’Connor Writing School, CrimeFest, I Am In Print, and the Casa Ana Writing Retreats in Andalucía. I have written over a dozen creative writing courses which thousands of students around the world have taken online and in-person. Many have gone on to be traditionally published or self-published.
In my spare time, my main hobbies are music, cycling, and football. I play guitar, bass, and double bass (though not at the same time). I’ve played in rock, funk, and folk groups (again, not at the same time — that would sound horrible) and currently play in a jazz trio. I enjoy cycling, particularly off-road in the beautiful New Forest near where I live. Football is more of a spectator sport these days: I’ve followed York City through thin and thin since I was six (no, they’re not in the Premier League. Or the league below that. Or the one below that…).