In The Beginning
Initially, writing was not something that came naturally and was to be avoided at all costs. The psychological consequences of a disappointing GCE English Language result weighed heavily. But that was back in the 60s when top grades were the key to entering university. Much to my parent's consternation, I rejected academic 'perdition' and instead found Nirvana in the new creative ambiance of Liverpool College of Art. It was here that I dipped my toes into the the exciting waters of graphic design, photography and writing. It was a new awakening where I could explore the exciting music, theatre and arts movement known as the 'Liverpool Scene'. Here, The Mersey Sound, the Everyman Theatre and the poetry of Roger McGough and Adrian Henry, encouraged a new found desire to write. This would be the foundation of things to come.
So what about any influences that led to the fictional historical subject matter I choose to write about today and the emergence of Jonny Munroe, a Spitfire fighter pilot who became a super agent for SOE.
In late 1944, my father, who was a Flight Sergeant in the RAF, was posted to Mons in Belgium where he met and married my mother and a year later re-located back to England. The Whites, including my brother and sister, would often return to Mons for holidays until the early1960s
Try to imagine what it must have been like for a young impressionable boy, mesmerised by incessant tales of heroics and vivid glimpses into the experiences of a Belgian family during the war years. It wasn't just about WW2 either, but included stories of the British Expeditionary Force during the defence of Mons in 1914. My mind was filled with the morality, drama, endurance and romances that emerged from these times.
Added to all this was my father's exceptional creativity. He was an accomplished watercolour artist, photographer, model maker and capable writer. His advice helped my own journey towards creative fulfilment.
However, a writing career would not emerge until much later. Most of my life has been spent as a professional photographer and graphic designer, only interrupted by ambitions of becoming a successful artist as well as a publisher of an international archery magazine. By the time I'd reached the ripe old age of 71, it dawned on me that I might like to lean on a few skills acquired over the years, collect all the old stories and anecdotes from the early years and write about my families experiences. 'The Belgian Bride' has been a revelation. Published in 2018, its success as a family bio was a pleasant surprise. It certainly prompted me to write more and research material for the birth of a hero...enter secret agent, Jonny Munroe.