I was born in Huddersfield and spent my childhood in a country hamlet outside Halifax, attending The Clare Hall School before moving to Crossley & Porter School for sixth form work.
It was whilst at school that I began interviewing popular TV and music celebrities – an activity I continued for many years. By this time I was providing magazines and the local press with articles about these people. The selling point about my interviews was that they were prepared specifically for that publication, and not merely dripped from some library, which is what tends to happen these days.
I continued to contribute various articles to specialist magazines and, in 1996, was awarded the position of the anonymous ‘insider’ writer for a publication, a position I’ve held on and off for over 20 years – the longest-serving freelance writer for the magazine. Some of those stories will form the basis of How Much for a Little Screw? and its equel All Mod Cons.
Since 2005 I have seen life from the other side of the publisher’s desk whilst being heavily involved in republishing the novels by Leo Walmsley for the Walmsley Society. Tasks include typesetting, formatting, first proof-reading and even doing some of the cover artwork.
I hold a BSc (Honours) degree in technology (in which I managed to squeeze a course on writing for theatre), and an MA Professional Writing from UCF.
University College Falmouth Graduation Day 2011
Left to right:
John Simmons (Independent Writer), Helen Shipman (Course Coordinator),
Mervyn Smallwood, Philip Waters, Tom Scott (Senior Lecturer),
Susannah Marriott (Senior Lecturer), Carol Anne Strange,
Simon Cornish, Gordon O’Sullivan, Graham Higson.