It’s what I’m best known for.
Novels, like Silk Road, Aztec and Harem.
Silk Road, based on true events, tells the story of a Templar knight and a Dominican friar, sent as emissaries to Kublai Khan in Xanadu in 1260, to broker a peace deal. To do it, they must undertake one of the most extraordinary journeys ever made… and as you can guess, it doesn’t go to plan.
Aztec, about the Spanish conquest of Central America – and the woman who made it possible – stayed on the best seller lists in Mexico for four months.
Harem is based on the life of Suleiman the Magnificent and the slave girl who rose to become his queen – Roxelana. It has been translated into a dozen languages around the world and sold over a quarter of a million copies in Germany alone.
I have also written three medieval fiction novels, including Isabella and a A Vain and Indecent Woman, and some modern historicals.
A more recent venture that I’ve grown to love is crime fiction. DI Charlie George, who you may have met if you’ve read Lucifer Falls and Innocence Dies, is a detective in a North London murder squad. He’s got guts, a gritty sense of humour and a chaotic personal life and has fast become one of my favourite characters to write, so much so that I’m currently writing the fourth in the series – Cry Justice. The third book, Angels Weep, was published in October 2020 by Little, Brown in London.
I have had a lucky life. That I’ve made a decent living as an author for almost my entire adult life astonishes me. It certainly astonishes my family. I was born in North London, and my relatives all came from places like Bethnal Green, Dagenham and Hackney. My first word was ‘blimey’.
In between leaving school and securing my latest publishing deal, I found time to chase black witches across Mexico, travel the silk road, and occasionally play the guitar in pubs. My only claim to fame from those days is completing all the verses of All You Need is Love during a bar fight in the Stella Maris Sailors Club.
A promising career as an elite football player was cut tragically short because I wasn’t very good at it. After a short stint in advertising – it’s a great business, 90% lunch and 10% commission – I became a freelance journalist. I quickly gravitated to radio and television, and finally, miraculously, ended up as a novelist.
I admit I almost threw it in at one stage to become a full-time paramedic. The black humour characteristic of my crime novels probably comes from those days. I discovered that it was heartwarming saving people’s lives but it’s much more fun thinking of new and inventive ways to knock them off, and that’s how I found my way into crime fiction.
I’ve published twenty-six novels so far, and been lucky enough to have them translated into 24 languages. Real ones too, not just Esperanto and cockney rhyming slang.
I now live near the river in a beautiful city that time forgot with a woman who not only puts up with me, but has made me happier than I’ve ever been in my life. When she’s not here, I spend my days in front of a laptop talking to spaniels and imaginary people.
Our two spaniels are Charlie and George. Charlie is the extrovert, you’ll see him around a lot, I use him in some of the publicity photos on my Facebook and Instagram pages; he’s the one with the great lolling tongue and sad droopy eyes – no, wait that’s me. You won’t see George, he’s cute but camera shy – definitely not like me.
If you’d like to get in touch, please do. I answer every email except the rude ones. And if you’re that banker from Burkina Faso, I’m still waiting for my share of the ten-million-pound inheritance you promised me.