I am currently a writer who also works full-time as a computer systems architect.
That single sentence crystallises my priorities. Since the first time a story of mine made the rest of the English class screw up their faces in horror and disgust, I've wanted nothing more than to write. I was 12. Later that year I came second in a sponsored writing competition with a short story about how the Sphinx is really a quiescent guardian against alien invaders. I won £10. That was big bucks in 1968.
Since then, real life has stepped in between me and my writing. In my 33-year career in computing I have written dozens of design documents, created and delivered presentations to audiences from 1,000 technical experts to a handful of board members, interviewed dozens of technical candidates and taught my core skills and subjects to many younger colleagues through both formal courses and ad-hoc coaching.
But all that is just a way to hone skills that might be useful to me as a writer. And, of course, to pay the bills and support my family. A man's gotta do...
Twelve years ago, I woke up to the passage of time and decided I had to get serious about writing before it was too late. I hired a writing coach - not just to help with the quality of my prose but to help establish solid habits and accountability. My first major project - my novel War of Nutrition - took 7 years of spare time to write and was finished in 2008. After two years-worth of rejection slips I reviewed it dispassionately in light of critical feedback and rewrote it, cutting 20,000 words to allow it to become the book you’ve just read. Another year of rejection slips, and some gentle urging from friends who had already self-published for e-reader platforms of one sort or another, led me here.
So, a novel. Good. What else? Here's the list. As a writer I have created work as
•A novelist. War of Nutrition is my first novel. My second - in progress - is a more literary piece about four lifelong friends coming to terms with the death of a fifth. I also have plans for work in a different genre - harder science fiction - about a race of beings who are born being able to move through time.
•A songwriter. I've always loved singing. People tell me I'm good at it. You can judge for yourself - my second album 'Weird and Wonderful' is available on iTunes and can be heard at beresfordandwallace.com. I've been lucky enough to collaborate with a friend who writes beautiful tunes. I try to match them with the beauty of my lyrics. The songs have been known to make audiences cry.
•A screenwriter. I have worked as co-writer with Colleen Patrick on the paranormal horror/thriller movie Train of Reckoning, which we recently reworked to energise it with the improved craft and experience we've gained in the five years since its first draft.
•A freelance TV reviewer. I spent three years reviewing a wide variety of UK television for TV Scoop before their radical restructuring in 2010. My reviews gained such plaudits as “Genius!” (from the Artistic Director).
•A playwright. My radio play "Breakages Must Be Paid For" was long-listed for the BBC's Alfred Bradley Bursary Award in 2009. The reader’s comments included:
"With a deceptive lightness of touch this is a dark cautionary tale centred around the unlikely relationship which develops between a home owner and his burglar. The script is well plotted with unexpected reversals, the first of which is the revelation that the burglar Satish, is actually a teenage girl. And so the script continues with a series of unexpected twists and reversals which demonstrate the constant shifting of power between the two central characters. The relationship the characters develop lulls us into a false sense of security in order to reveal an unexpected ending."
I also maintain a personal website. It includes a selection of my poetry (which might find its way into an ebook one day) and a blog, where you’ll discover that I spend more time decorating than I do writing.