I grew up in South Manchester, before studying law and politics at the University of Birmingham. I have a legal career, practising as a barrister in Manchester, undertaking personal injury and employment litigation. Click on this link to view my Chambers profile. I am married to Jo and have a daughter called Christina.

For me, this novel was always a labour of love and a great way to relax – to escape to a world that I had created, even if it was a frustrating process at times.

I wanted to write about the things that interested and inspired me: history, politics, bikes, classic cars, music, and Manchester, to name but a few. I own a Triumph Bonneville, have a secret passion for Harley Davidson Fat Boys and would love to own an Alvis...

As a Bob Dylan fan, the original manuscript contained many quotes from Dylan lyrics, which to this day I regret having to delete for various legal and financial reasons. The novel was originally entitled: A Cloak of Decency – taken from the great man's 1979 Slow Train Coming album. The idea was linked to the idea of a sleeper agent who appears on the surface to be entirely normal, but conceals their true identity. In the end, I felt that A Bold Deceiver was a more positive title, capturing not only Tara's deceit in the early part of the novel, but also her actions in the latter part of the story.

Writing about a lawyer was the easy bit – I had the real life experience to hopefully make that authentic, and the freedom to allow Tom to say and do things that I would never dream of doing.

Inventing Tara was one of my greatest challenges – to make her a 3 dimensional living female character who was plausible. I agonised over striking the right balance between condemning terrorism, but also explaining how she had got herself involved in paramilitary activity, in a way which generated sympathy for her character. The biggest complement paid to me was by a friend who asked me for Tara's telephone number, convinced that I had based her upon someone I actually knew!

The other great challenge, as someone who had only ever visited Belfast once, was to write Part 3 of the book, which is told from Tara's perspective, growing up in Northern Ireland. I am grateful to the many books I was able to read on this subject, as set out in the book's bibliography.

I was very keen to write about the Troubles in Northern Ireland, as an outsider, to place them in a very English perspective. What was it about this small part of the United Kingdom that had caused so much tragedy, and which had dominated so much of British and Irish politics during the Twentieth Century?

So many of us of a certain age, can recall the depressing days of the 70s and 80s, when there seemed to be that a report of a bomb or murder in Northern Ireland every night on the news. Even when there were atrocities on the mainland, it all seemed so very far away, until I stood behind the cordon, on Deansgate, on the Monday morning after the bomb, gobsmacked at the endless piles of broken glass and fallen masonry.

The highs and lows of the peace process in Northern Ireland provided me with the perfect backdrop against which to set the novel. The final chapter underwent many revisions over the years, depending upon the state of the fragile peace process, and whether the Good Friday institutions were suspended, or the parties talking to each other. Most of the plot of Part 4 of A Bold Deceiver was lifted directly from the events in the run up to the Labour landslide election result of 1997, although a degree of poetic licence had to be taken to provide a suitable finale.

My second novel, The Ghost of Lauren Black is half completed – but is being delayed by the pressure of time associated with the day job and having a young family. Meanwhile, an idea for a third book, The Three Ages of Man, is beginning to take shape...

Click here to buy the book now!
Order Now!
Find Out More About The Author