Some sort of curriculum vitae

 

Early life

          Born in Buckinghamshire, to parents both of whom had ancient Buckinghamshire antecedents.

          Passed the 11+ exam a year early, and so started secondary school also a year early, at the age of ten.

          Selected for the express stream, and so took O level exams two years early, and so entered sixth form two years early, at the age of fourteen.

          Took A level exams two years early, at the age of sixteen. Stayed on at school into a third year of sixth form, and took two more A levels.

          Still too young for university, so one year working at Equity & Law Life Assurance Society. Promoted to Computer Liaison department – fascinating work with early mainframe computers.

1972           To University College London

1973-4        Editor of the departmental magazine.

1975           Degree awarded: BA Hons History.

 

 

 

 

Working life

1975  To J Porter & Co Ltd (clothing and textile importers); promoted to Claims Supervisor.

1976  To Games Centre (retailers, with some importing and wholesaling, of board and hobby games), as trainee shop manager. Promoted to manager of Kingston-on-Thames branch.

1977  Promoted to Wholesale Manager.

1978  In addition made shop manager, central London branch.

1979  To Games Workshop Ltd (importers and wholesalers of Dungeons & Dragons, also importers, manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers of many other games, books and models) as shop manager. Promoted to wholesale manager.

1981  Promoted to Manager, Trade Sales Division.

          During the early 1980s the hobby of gaming boomed, and my division increased turnover by 50% year on year for five consecutive years. By 1985 I managed a six-strong sales force on the road, an in-house sales office team of five, and a warehouse supervisor with ten staff, as well as the magazine staff.

1985  Promoted to General Manager and appointed to the new management board. Also Publications Manager, in charge of White Dwarf and other magazines.

1986  Games Workshop moved to Nottingham; I didn’t.

          Self-employed from 3 March 1986, from which date for many decades at least some of my income arose from self-employment.

          Supervised staff redundancies and clearance and closure of Games Workshop’s London HQ.

          Wrote Beneath Nightmare Castle – a Fighting Fantasy Gamebook published by Puffin in 1987.

          To Argus Press Sales & Distribution Ltd (distributors of magazines to the news trade) as Marketing Director.

1988  APS&D closed by its owners, BET, despite the fact that the new management had pulled it into profit. Shame.

          Wrote Portal of Evil – a Fighting Fantasy Gamebook published by Puffin in 1989.

1989  To W H Allen Ltd (book publishers, majority-owned by Virgin) as Doctor Who editor – a part-time post. Took on the Nexus imprint of erotic fiction, redesigned its logo and cover style, changed editorial direction.

          Wrote Spectral Stalkers – a Fighting Fantasy Gamebook published by Puffin in 1991.

1990  W H Allen drastically downsized, imprints and backlist put up for sale. Doctor Who and Nexus survived, and I went with them into the new, smaller, wholly-Virgin-owned company Virgin Publishing Ltd. Made redundant at my own request, I started to provide freelance consultancy.

          Started negotiations with BBC for rights to publish original Doctor Who novels.

          Translated from French The New Story of O for Nexus.

1991  Started the New Adventures imprint – original Doctor Who novels (which continued until 1999). Also re-started commissioning of large-format illustrated books and paperback reference books about Doctor Who. Recruited two assistants who became the stalwarts of the erotica and SF sides respectively of what was fast becoming Virgin Publishing’s Fiction Department – the reliably profitable bedrock on which the company’s subsequent expansion was based.

          Co-wrote Time Lord – Doctor Who role-playing game – for Virgin Publishing.

          Wrote One Week in the Private House for Nexus (it went on to become the imprint’s best seller of the 90s).

1992  The New Adventures went monthly.

          Wrote Deceit for the Doctor Who New Adventures imprint.

          Translated from French The Image for Nexus.

1993  Launched the Black Lace imprint – erotic fiction by women for women. A publishing sensation.

          Also launched series of novels based on Judge Dredd and Sonic the Hedgehog.

          Recruited a fourth member of the Fiction Department.

1994  Launched several new series. Successes included Doctor Who – the Missing Adventures, which soon went to monthly publication; Decalog, Doctor Who short story collections; and Cracker – novelisations of the nine TV stories starring Robbie Coltrane. Also redesigned the Nexus cover style again, to stay market leader.

          Also successful: The Red Dwarf Programme Guide, template for a series of paperback guides about TV and cult subjects – including The X-Files, James Bond, Babylon 5, Friends, The Avengers, Frasier, The Simpsons, Star Trek, The Sweeney, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and many others.

1995  With Nexus, Black Lace, the New Adventures, the Missing Adventures and Cracker all going strong, along with plenty of one-off non-fiction titles, the Fiction Department grew again, to five.

1996 Wrote Amanda in the Private House for Nexus.

          Appointed as Financial Director of the company that owned and managed the block of flats in which I lived when in London. Resigned directorship in 1999 when I put my flat up for sale.

1997  Launched Crime & Passion, a crime imprint.

          Launched Idol imprint – homoerotic fiction for men.

          I was given responsibilities beyond the Fiction Dept: supervising the editorial production of books company-wide; chairing editorial meetings; carrying out a thorough review of the company’s standard contracts, writing new templates, advising editors on contracts. I became de facto Editorial Director of the company.

          Recruited an in-house Desk Editor; delegated to her the supervision of freelance copy-editors and proofreaders, and the maintenance of the editorial production schedule.

1998  Headed the in-house web site team: researched on-line selling, short-listed and interviewed web site design companies, appointed a company to design our site. Managed editing and production of Virgin’s Guide to British Universities. Personally supervised copy-editing and proofreading of Richard Branson’s autobiography Losing My Virginity.

1999  New imprints launched: Virgin Worlds (SF and fantasy) and Sapphire (lesbian erotica). Now working more as a commissioning editor. The Complete Hitchcock published, intended as the first in a series about film directors.

          Wrote Discipline of the Private House for Nexus.

          Left Virgin Publishing Ltd. Bequeathed a full publishing programme, including the Guide to British Universities, encyclopedias about the Beatles and John Lennon, The Complete Kubrick, and six TV and film tie-in guides (on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The Simpsons, James Bond, Star Trek – Voyager, Blackadder and Red Dwarf).

2000  Wrote An Education in the Private House for Nexus; Independence Day, a Doctor Who novel, for BBC Books; and Captives of the Private House for Nexus.

          Freelance copy-editing and proofreading for Virgin Publishing and BBC Books.

          Held tutorials in punctuation for small groups of GCSE students.

2001 Wrote Asylum, a Doctor Who novel, for BBC Books, and Pet Training in the Private House  and Playthings of the Private House for Nexus Books.

          Census 2001: working March to May as a Team Leader in Southampton, managing a team of eleven Enumerators.

           July to August: part-time temporary work for Driver Hire Southampton – collecting and delivering cars across the country.

          September: started full-time permanent job as a Revenue Officer in the Recovery office of the Inland Revenue (soon to be merged with HM Customs & Excise to form HM Revenue & Customs – HMRC) in Southampton.

2002 Applied for three fast-track schemes within the HMRC: Inspector Training Programme, Fast Stream Development Programme, Professional Management Careers Programme. Reached the final stage of all three, but passed the final hurdle only of the ITP.

2003 Started the Inspector Training Programme.

2004 Completed ITC (income tax) element of ITP: now one of Her Majesty’s Inspectors of Taxes. Achieved the standard to follow the accelerated route for the remainder of ITP.

2005 Started CPT (corporation tax) element of ITP – technical matters and company tax.

           Contributed an interview to a documentary about author Terrance Dicks included in the BBC’s remastered DVD edition of the Doctor Who TV series The Horror of Fang Rock

2006/07 Short story Home published in the book Bernice Summerfield – Missing Adventures, published by Big Finish Productions and edited by Rebecca Levene

2009 Completed Inspector Training. Promoted to Grade 7. Transferred from Southampton to Portsmouth office of HMRC. During the next decade carried out compliance investigations into the tax affairs of medium-sized and large businesses and their directors, leading teams of specialists in various tax regimes (corporation tax, income tax, VAT, employment duties, etc).

2010 Contributed an interview to a documentary feature about Doctor Who books included in the BBC’s remastered DVD edition of the Doctor Who 1996 movie.

2013 A contributory interviewee for the BBC Radio 2 documentary Who Is The Doctor?

          A contributory interviewee for a documentary feature included in the BBC’s remastered DVD edition of the Doctor Who TV series The Ark In Space.

2015 The main contributing interviewee for the DVD documentary Mythmakers – Virgin Publishing – Doctor Who Books, published by Reeltime Pictures.

2017, 2018, 2019, 2022 – panel guest at the conventions Fighting Fantasy Fest, Fighting Fantasy Fest 2, Fighting Fantasy Fest 3 and Fighting Fantasy Fest 4.

2020 Long past normal civil service retirement age, reduced working time at HMRC to two days a week.

2021 Contributed text and photographs to The Who Adventures, a large-format, hardback, full-colour-illustrated book that provided a detailed and comprehensive history of the Doctor Who novels and short stories published by Virgin Publishing during the 1990s. Published by Telos Publishing, ISBN 978-1-84583-185-1.

2022 Retired from HMRC.

          Panellist at a commemorative event for the Doctor Who author Terrance Dicks.

          Contributed text and photographs to Dice Men: The Origin Story Of Games Workshop by Ian Livingstone, published by Unbound, ISBN 978-1-80018-052-9.

          Performed first solo gig as singer/guitarist.

2023 Completed writing a novel, working title The Twofold Comeback.

          Panellist at Novel Experiences, a gathering of authors and readers of the Doctor Who New Adventures.

  

The only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so free that your very existence is an act of rebellion.