I was born in Oxford and grew up in the neighbouring countryside, where a great deal of action took place during the English Civil War, and I visited many of the famous battlefields, all of which made a profound impression on me. My father was from Spain, so my protagonist Laurence Beaumont and I share a common heritage. In my teens, I wrote a novel set during the Civil War period and I still have those pages preserved, in tiny handwriting, perhaps inspired by the Brontë children’s tales of Angria. I moved to Canada in the mid-seventies and ended up pursuing an academic career, with a brief break spent working in the world of high fashion retail and designing clothes. While I was finishing a doctoral thesis on the political development of George Orwell and later lecturing in political theory, ideas formed in my head for a more adult story about the English Civil War than my first effort. Although eventually I decided not to pursue teaching, themes that interested me from my studies found their way into The Best of Men and The Licence of War.
I feel at home in both Canada and England: for nearly thirty years I’ve been coming to London frequently, so I know the city quite well and am very much ‘repatriated’ in my land of birth.