I started writing when I heard of the suicide of a young man who had been fostered by someone I knew. He and his half-brother had been abandoned by their fathers and left with a mother who obstructed other people’s attempts to help her sons. As a teacher I dealt with a number of boys whose fathers had walked out.
My interest lies in the way that we treat other people, especially those for whom we are directly responsible. Caring about other people is at the centre of civilised life.
Much of what I write is an attempt to answer the question, “What if….?”
Why I wrote dunno
My inspiration for dunno came from the stories of two boys I encountered during my teaching career.
The mother of the first, a twelve year-old, came into school because of his anti-social behaviour and explained how his father had left, promising to visit him once a fortnight. Two weeks later the father had rung to say that it would be another fortnight before he would be able to visit. These fortnightly calls continued for eighteen months. Each time the boy put down the phone he sat on his mother’s lap and cried his heart out; at school he had become a bully.
The second boy had been asked by his house-master whether his father, a footballer with an international reputation, was ever going to pay a weekend visit. His reply was to the effect that his father, who did have a reputation as a womaniser, spent all his time making brothers and sisters for him. He too became violent towards other students and was expelled.
And yet, each of these boys grew up to be decent young men. Somewhere, somebody helped them on their way. The first saw out his time in school successfully and the second returned to support his new school’s rugby team and, I’m pleased to say, greeted me like a long-lost friend.
Much later, talking to a class in a school in Kent, I was confronted by five girls who wanted me to realise what life could be like for girls in a house without a dad. They made me very aware of lots of important things, mothers too wary to let them out with boys, never seeing mum with a man who cared for and respected her, not knowing how to go on with their friends’ brothers, not having any sort of rule of thumb by which to judge boys’ conduct towards them.
Help yourself…. to read online or download, click on the titles.
Too late to meet a man who had fascinated me
Prisoner denied his dignity
What choice for lifers?
School friend lost
A change of career for Mr Windsor
Kidnapped – an eleven year-old killer
The Teacher’s Car
A confession stirs long-dead memories
The last brief encounter
But what sort of Christian?
Would You Like a Copy?
A pushy parent pushes too hard
Obadiah Cranford v. The Archbishop
A man of words is held to account
It’s too easy to interfere then walk away
An Inspector Called
A health and safety inspector saves the world
Held up on the road? – Traffic congestion cured
Grown ups playing with matches
His Best Jacket
Mother killed by son’s best friend
The Stolen Spermatozoa
So tiny biologically, so enormous in its consequences
Sample more novels
Click on the titles
On the Side
A boy from a wealthy background tracks down his anonymous father.
The Redundant Carpark
Essex 2025 – A desperate government tries to use the county’s entrepreneurs to kick-start a moribound economy.
A Year in a Golden Cage
A snapshot of life in a prestigious international boarding school.
Our Way ~ That Girl Again
The US turns on its oldest friend; a satire on the special relationship.
Another teenage boy – discovers mother on a porn site.