I get asked a lot of questions, for those of you new to me these are the answers to the ones most frequently asked of me by my followers and in the many interviews I’ve done.

My life has been full of adventure spanning four decades that saw me involved in practically every major conflict on this earth in one form or another. First Into Action is about my formative years working with the SBS, SAS and British Military Intelligence. My Stratton and Gunnymede novels are based on my further adventures in Civvy Street over the past 20 years. On My Books page I have included the inspiration behind each of my novels.


What type of person makes it into SF?

​People who are tenacious, very fit, can be single minded and manage pain, exhaustion and stress. I’m thinking of the main things that will get a person through the selection process.


Did your underprivileged upbringing have an impact on your resilience?

I think it’s true that people who have had a soft upbringing might find joining special forces a greater challenge than those who have had a tougher upbringing. For instance, South African boys who move to the UK and join Special Forces have a far higher pass rate than British boys.


Most scary moment?

I talk about this experience on episode 19 of Eoin Walker’s Restore podcast

In Liberia during the war, driving into a checkpoint on a jungle road manned by 10 to 16 year old boys armed with AK47s, most of them drunk and high on weed. I was unarmed and had to find a good reason for them not to shoot me. It took me around 20 minutes and even then I didn’t believe I had escaped execution until they were out of sight in my rear view mirror.


What are the biggest dangers to be aware of in conflict zones?

The biggest danger with conflict zones is knowing where the danger lies of course. In battles, such as in Libya 2011, the trick was knowing where the front line was. It could move very quickly, and in any direction. One can quickly find oneself at the very front, in no man’s land, or on the other side. In other conflict zones such as Afghanistan and Iraq, it’s been about knowing where the danger spots are, or how to move around, what to look like and where not to pause.


Your autobiography is full of humour - why, when the job was so serious?

I’m naturally a humorous type but being a Royal Marine only enhanced that. You won’t have to hang around a bunch of bootnecks for long before laughing at something one of them says or does.


How much of Stratton is based on you?

I’d love to be as cool as Stratton but alas I’m not. When writing characters it’s a good idea to base them on someone real so that you always have a reference. I chose myself for Stratton just to keep track of certain traits and background.


Do you write your own books or do you have a ghost writer?

I have written all of my books. When I was asked to write my auto biography, my first book, I hired a professional writer. But after reading the first chapter I decided I could do better. I was surprised when the publisher then asked if I would like to write a novel.


Why do we have to wait so long for each book?

Well, the most enjoyable part of the process is coming up with an idea, testing it out and getting to the end of a 1st draft, it is also the hardest part! But then comes polish number 1 which will take about a month. Then polish 2 which should take a bit less than a month. Then I send it to the editor. The editor will take a month or 2. When I get it back I will edit the edit. Then comes the 2nd edit. If that goes well – there can be a 3rd edit. After that it will go to typeset, then re-checked…


Military or civilian life - which have you enjoyed the most?

Military life was filled with fun and excitement and I’ll never have such mates or laughs. But nothing can beat a lovely wife and wonderful children and the journey through life together.

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