It was back in 1990 while I was on an Access course in the hope of going to university to be a teacher that I signed up for Creative Writing as one of my units. Writing something for whatever challenge our tutor set us gave me the bug for writing things out of my own head and a bit later I first wrote a short story about a character called Humphrey Boggart…
It was called The Petrified Forest and started like this…
“I got the call from Vicki, that’s the North Witch Victoria to you. She’s a sweet girl…more like a good fairy than a witch and if there is ever anything troubling her, she sends for me to investigate.
She told me that the people of the Forest of Booland had a problem. Someone or something had been going round frightening them. In fact many of them had literally been scared stiff.
I left the office and caught the first bus to the Forest of Booland. The driver seemed pleasant enough but the conductor gave me an uneasy feeling. I gave it him back and asked for a ticket like everyone else.”
It was written as a first person narrative in the style of writers such as Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett.
It stayed on the back burner as university work took over and more creative writing came my way as I wrote poetry and plays for performance at the university. I was also asked to join the Crucible Theatre Writers Group in Sheffield. Humphrey Boggart was a long way from my thoughts.
After finishing my degree and deciding I didn’t want to be a teacher, I became a postman and started to run a football fanzine at the Premier League club Sheffield Wednesday (a fanzine is a sort of unofficial match magazine). When I moved on from the fanzine, I returned to Humphrey and decided to write a novel about him. It was late in 2006 that my wife and I moved to Cornwall and I took a year out to finish the novel…but the novel had got too big.
It’s taken a long time but that novel has now been divided into two…so I can now present to you THE MALTHOUSE FALCON and BIGG’S LEAP…and I’m hoping to write a third which…coincidentally will be called THE PETRIFIED FLORIST…see what I did there?