According to the bio on his website: "I was born in Hampstead, London, but grew up in a ‘leafy suburb’ in Hertfordshire before moving to Irvine in Scotland at the age of sixteen, after gaining O levels at Bushey Grammar School in Watford. Once north of the border, I spent my Sixth Form days at Irvine Royal Academy, gaining an A grade in Higher English and it was while I was living in Irvine that I truly discovered wine, women and song (well, beer, Scots lassies and rock music, anyway). Having decided it was too soon to settle down to my next stage of education, I spent three years working in a tailor’s shop in Kilmarnock, ending up as assistant manager before leaving to start a Teacher Training Course at Milton Keynes College of Education in Buckinghamshire.
I’ve often wondered whether the fact that the MKCE buildings were then situated in Bletchley Park, right next door to where the Ultra decoding operation took place during World War II, was a subconscious stimulus towards writing spy thriller novels, but, at the time, I completed my training and started a career as an English teacher in 1974, teaching eleven to sixteen year olds in a school in Luton. In 1982, I gained a 2/1 Honours Degree in English Literature at Hatfield Polytechnic, but by then, I had already started writing thriller novels in my spare time. I’ve always been fascinated by stories and reading – my parents often reckoned that the only way I would put a book down was by having it surgically removed – and when I found myself convalescing after a minor operation, I decided to try and write a book myself."