I was raised in Grantham, Lincolnshire and attended the King’s Grammar School after passing the Eleven Plus exam. In the latter I clearly remember writing an essay on Oliver Cromwell – my first piece of military writing.
Then came a BA in history and international relations at Nottingham followed by a Master of Philosophy course at the University of York. The subject was the generalship and cavalry of Prince Rupert of the Rhine, my boyhood hero, during the English Civil War.
I landed a job as a research officer with the Defence Intelligence Staff in Whitehall, London. Writing top-secret intelligence reports was highly exciting, until I realised that their security clearance was so high that only a handful of people were cleared to read them. In 1990, therefore, I decided to apply for a job in the publishing industry as an editor. I spent the next 22 years being a military editor until I decided to become a full-time author in the spring of 2012.