After an early foray into academic publishing, which saw me writing about the British Press and its future, then media in the UK, I finally produced Beyond the BBC, the book that is based on post-doctoral research inside the BBC and Channel Four. Its conclusions – about the way broadcasters do and do not take account of their audiences – stand today, 25 years after it was first published.
Then came a sea change with Maiden, the story of the first all-women crew in what was then the Whitbread Round the World Yacht Race. Maiden was in the UK best-seller lists for 19 weeks; it won awards and many, many plaudits. It is a great yarn. As is Long Voyage Home, my next book, about the decline of the British merchant fleet (and, to some extent, the Royal Navy). After publication, I presented a three part series on BBC Radio 4, with the same name, revisiting the best of the material I had researched for the book.
My maritime book writing continued with A Ship Too Far (with huge help from Captain Dave Ramwell), and with Royal Yachts of the World, hugely gallantly aided by Laura Ivill as researcher and editor.
Inbetween these projects, I wrote a biography of that greatest of all British explorers in the 20th century, Bill Tilman. The Last Hero has now become my favorite book to date, and which since 2010 has a French edition. Tilman remains a remarkable man, an enigma I did not fully dispel; but then he would want it that way. A man, nonetheless, who stands as an immortal testament to human grit and determination in the face of adversity, both man made (through war) and natural.
White Mischief (editioned in Spain, Italy and the USA) is an enigma of another kind: reader, you have to work it out for yourself. It represents the end of an era; the beginning of a new.
That new era has seen another sea change in my writing, from non-fiction to fiction. I strongly recommend City of Dark Desire and Dreamland, not only great stories, published electronically, for Kindle readers. I can promise is that there are many more novels on their way (to be published both conventionally and electronically). Also available on Kindle are The Adventurous Heart and the first of the Chronicles of Peascod (The Writer’s Tale).