Crime and Historical Novelist
The Story So Far
You can find glimpses of my early life here. When I was a useful member of society, I worked as a boatbuilder, wages clerk, teacher, librarian, labourer and freelance publisher's editor. Since 1981, I have been a full-time writer and, since 1982, I have lived in the Forest of Dean on the borders of England and Wales.
I write mainly crime novels and historical novels. You can find out more about them here. My wife works with me on the books when she’s not doing something much more interesting as the artist and photographer Caroline Silverwood Taylor.
From 2004 to 2006, I edited The Author, the quarterly journal of the Society of Authors, and I continue to write The Author's regular 'Grub Street' column. I was the Spectator's crime fiction reviewer for ten years, and I regularly review books there and elsewhere.
I also do events in the UK and abroad. I sometimes teach writing courses for the Arvon Foundation, the Cheltenham Festival of Literature, etc.
I founded the Crime Writers Association's Debut Dagger competition and ran it for two years, as part of a longstanding commitment to new writing. I helped to judge the CWA's John Creasey Dagger for Best First Crime Novel of the Year for five years, and I am currently chair of the judges of the Debut Crown, the Historical Writers' Association's award for best first historical novel.
Because of RSI, I sometimes dictate, which involves me prowling up and down my workroom and talking to myself in strange voices. In fine weather, I sit under an apple tree and talk to myself in the fresh air instead. On the other hand, sometimes I use a notebook, and sometimes a computer. One of the few things I know for certain about writing is that there is no one way to write a novel.
I was brought up to believe that boasting is vulgar, which it is. But legitimate commercial self-advertisement is of course completely different - and indeed something of a moral imperative if one is to survive in the harsh climate of twenty-first-century literature. Click Awards and Reviews for - well, awards and reviews and so on.
I’m particularly delighted to have been awarded the CWA Diamond Dagger for excellence in crime writing, and to be the unique (if immodest) triple winner of the CWA Historical Dagger.
Most of my typescripts, proofs and other working materials are held in the Special Collections of the Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center of Boston University.