Hi, and thanks for coming to the site, I hope you enjoy reading Blood and Blitzkrieg and the sequel, Butcher and Bolt. I’m writing the third book in the series now.
I’ve been interested in the Second World War since I was about nine years old when I started building plastic Airfix models and playing board games like Avalon Hill’s Panzer Leader. This hobby developed into something of an obsession, and culminated with my doing honours in History at Sydney University, with a thesis on American foreign policy in Asia in the 1950s. Since I was a child I’ve been a keen player of board games and this has expanded over time to include role-playing games (Dungeons and Dragons at age 13, then a long period of Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay) and since the early ‘90s, computer games.
Gaming is great fun, but ultimately it all comes from reading. I would never have got into wargames if it were not for reading Battle and Commando comics as a schoolboy, the Leo Kessler series, and of course, C.S Forester’s magnificent Hornblower series, Patrick O’Brian’s Master and Commander series and Bernard Cornwell’s Sharpe series. I’ve read all these three or four times (and there are 20 books in the O’Brian series) and I still find something new in them every time. Forester in particular has a genius of expounding an entire set of characters and the story background in just a few pages that I would love to emulate.
I’ve never been in or even near a war, and I hope I never will be, but I have an immense amount of admiration and respect for the people who have suffered through them, whether soldier or civilian. To be able to carry on through the events we know occurred in Europe, Africa and Asia in the 1940s shows that there is something indomitable in the human spirit, and that in the face of unimaginable evil (from the same human source), people will struggle on in the hope that they might be the ones to survive.
Like everyone else, I have to work for a living, fortunately for me I get to do that by writing things for large corporations, which I find relatively easy. Although writing commercial contracts, brochures, form letters, insurance policies and websites isn’t as much fun as writing books, it pays the bills, and this is what I do through my company The Style Merchants Pty Ltd.
I wrote Blood and Blitzkrieg over a period of five years, a lot of it on the train while commuting, and I sincerely hope that Butcher and Bolt won’t take that long. I was inspired by Mary Renault, who wrote a whole sequence of superb ancient historical fiction stories—most notably The King Must Die, the story of Theseus and the Minotaur—while travelling to and from Bristol on the train, doing 48-hour shifts as a nurse during the Blitz.
By the way, the similarity in titles is a coincidence—when I came up with the title for the sequel I decided I didn’t like the title for the first book, which at the time was Into the Blitzkrieg. Without knowing the title of the sequel, a friend suggested Blood and Blitzkrieg, and it stuck. I hope this doesn’t oblige me to continue the series using the same alliterative sequence (Bullets and Bandages? Bunkers and Bombs?) We’ll have to wait and see.
Before I had children I spent a lot of time playing music too, in bands no one has ever heard of like Alternative Carparks, The Thundergods, Hollow World, The Future Eaters and most recently The Telltales. I was a bass player mostly, lead singer in some cases, and had a lot of fun on stage and in the studio. I had a stint in the forwards on the rugby field in there too somewhere in the early 2000s, for the first time since I was at school, still recovering from that…