I have a confession to make. Will Once isn’t my real name. My real name is Peter Parker, Bruce Wayne, David Banner, everyman.
I’m just a bloke, as we say in England. A father to the Best Boy in the World (other BBITWs are also available). A husband to the long-suffering and utterly wonderful Mem. And I will always be my Mum’s little boy, even though I have reached my half century and the only thing little about me is the amount of hair on my head.
I grew up in that uncomfortable part of England which is neither south or north. Folks call it The Midlands, which feels like damning with faint praise. It is neither the affluent south where the streets are paved with gold, nor the charismatic north where grit and determination make up for the total inability to pronounce the “h” in “the”.
I was born in Nottingham and grew up in a wonderfully backwards town called Worksop. Worksop is famous for … not a great deal. It used to be known as the home of the tinned mushy pea, because Bachelors food had a factory there. Yes, it’s that kind of a place.
Three generations ago, my great grandparents were peasant miners. They started out by scrabbling low grade coal out of shallow holes in the ground, known as kettle mines. Then a so-called super pit was opened on the outskirts of a former market town known as Worksop. My great grand parents were shipped over from Shropshire and Sheffield to work this new pit. It was the wonder of the age, with electric lights, a winch to take men down very deep to the coalface and pit-head showers. That was a far cry from a kettle mine where the only technology was a ladder, a pick and a bucket on a rope.
My grandparents could read, but had no formal education. My parents were better educated, but never went to university. I went to University, but not a particular good one. My son is excelling at Charterhouse school – one of the most prestigious private schools in the country. And with a foundation scholarship, to boot. And he will undoubtedly go to a far better university than me, and get a better degree.
There is a steady progression there, from the bottom of the heap to … well, a fair way higher than the bottom. We don’t yet know how far the BBITW can go. If I know him, the sky isn’t the limit.
Words and writing have always been a part of my life. My mother taught me to read at a ridiculously young age. Something like the age of 2. I read avidly through school to a degree in English Language and Literature. From there, I worked as a bureaucrat, both for the central Government and more lately for local Government. My chosen subject was transport – just because it interested me. With 30 years experience behind me, I am now a consultant.
I write as part of my job. Technical papers,speeches, letters, committee papers. I like to think I’m pretty good at it.
In whatever scraps of spare time I can find, I write fiction, or chess stories or (more recently) blogs. The creative side just has to come out, no matter how much I try and button it up in a grey suit, shirt and tie.
One of the disadvantages of consultancy is that the work isn’t constant. Some days and months I can be rushed off my feet. At other times, there isn’t enough work to fill my time.
That’s where my writing comes in. I have always been a scribbler. I wrote an awful science fiction novel when I should have been revising for my O levels (age 16). I wrote another equally awful novel when I should have been revising for my A levels (age 18). A third in my twenties and thirties. A fourth in my forties. None of these four will ever see the light of day, at least not as they currently stand. They are not good enough.
My fifth novel (and the first to be published) is Love, Death and Tea. Now at last I think I have something that I am not ashamed to show the world.
Then I wrote Once upon a Chess Game – a collection of chess stories that I had been writing for a website called chessgames.com.
Then came Global Domination for Beginners. It’s the superspy story told from the perspective of the bad guy.
To Know the Dark is a serious piece of science fiction/ fantasy.
I have now published Love, Death and Wyrds – the sequel to Love, Death and Tea.
There are two more chess books in the works.
I have no idea where the future will take me. What I have found is that some people like the stuff I write, particularly when I am in light hearted and joking mood. So that’s what I am going to do – give people a chuckle. Not for fame or profit (although both would be welcome). Just to make people smile.