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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, and now into The Wounds of Fortune.

I feel at home in both Canada and England: for 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.

I spend about one month a year in Senegal, the homeland of my partner, and was inspired to create the character of Khadija, the seer in The Best of Men, through my contact with Senegalese mystical and religious practices and the Peul people who live near the coast where we have a small property. Khadija returns with more dread predictions for Beaumont in The Wounds of Fortune, in which his faltering allegiance to the Royalist cause will endure its greatest test.

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