Eighty books – seems a bit excessive, really, even to me. But this is the product of more than twenty years of writing. And I have to say that some authors in my field – illustrated non-fiction – have written twice, even three times, as many.
How did I get here? Well, I worked as an editor with a couple of small publishing companies in London for about ten years (1977–87), and then I turned freelance. Whenever any writing tasks were offered to me, I took them, and so gradually I made the conversion from editor to writer – although I still do both.
I think I always wanted to be a writer, penning short stories as a child. I also have an insatiable curiosity. This is how I’ve ended up in non-fiction, where my magpie instincts to investigate virtually any area of knowledge have served me well.
My primary skill – so I’m told – is to research a subject and then convert it into clear, accessible and engaging text for a general readership, or for children.
I also translate books from French, and write website content.
For a couple of years (2008–10) I was a tutor in writing at Goldsmiths, University of London, working as a Fellow of the Royal Literary Fund. Latterly I have been closely involved in the Intergenerational Foundation, which aims to remind government and policy-makers of the need to think for the long-term to ensure an honourable and sustainable legacy to future generations.
Since 2011 I have also been writing as the ‘Brussels expert’ for the Daily Telegraph and the Telegraph online travel website.
A volume the last decades of the 20th century, for an illustrated history series marking the Millennium.
A volume on architectural and engineering classics, for an illustrated history series marking the Millennium.
A concise sweep through the history of North and South America, from prehistoric times to the 19th century.
Part of a series of encyclopaedia-cum-quiz books, accompanied by 1000 questions.