I was very lucky to spend my childhood growing up in the beautiful seaside town of Scarborough in the 1960's. With Dad being a trawler skipper, we lived near the harbour in the Old Town, right in the heart of the fishing community.
In many ways it was idyllic. A time of great change, optimism and innocence. A time to be adventurous, happy and carefree. If I had to sum up my childhood in one word, perfect.
I left school at fifteen and joined the Royal Navy. After two exciting and enjoyable years getting paid to see the world, I decided that a long naval career wasn't for me.
So I left and learned a trade. Something to fall back on if my true vocation in life didn't work out. Just a temporary thing, you understand. That was in 1973.
Forty-seven years later I retired after running a successful carpet business.
Like I said, it was only temporary. Until I found my true vocation.
All my life I`ve been writing in some form or other; be it letters to friends and family in The Navy, ad copy for my business, or poems or songs for pleasure. Ten years ago I wrote my first novel, ``The Captain's Story," under my pen name, Ray J Cowling.
I know, I know, what the hell was I thinking of? The truth is that I just didn't have the confidence to publish anything under my own name.
In 2012 I enrolled in play writing classes at the famous Stephen Joseph Theatre in Scarborough. I was very fortunate to find myself under the expert tutorship of the brilliant Alison Watt, whose fantastic knowledge and enthusiasm nurtured and encouraged us all into becoming better writers. Also, on a more personal level, giving me the self-belief and confidence to take my writing to places I wouldn't normally dare to go. Even Shakespeare. Thanks, Alison.
Also in 2012 I joined the writers group, Scarborough Writer`s Society, where for years we met fortnightly and specialised in writing short stories from three random trigger words. This proved to be invaluable for getting the creative juices flowing, especially with a two week deadline to meet. We continued to meet right up to the beginning of the pandemic. I will always be grateful to its founder, the late Bob Jackman, for his kind words and encouragement regarding my writing, especially in the early days when my confidence was almost non-existent. Thanks, Bob. R.I.P.
After writing dozens of short stories and plays of varying lengths, I now concentrate all my efforts into writing novels. My latest being the Dorothy Hood Series of books. I sincerely hope you enjoy reading them as much as I continue to enjoy writing them.