about the author

Page last updated: 22 October 2017

I was born in the Free Territory of Trieste – a city about 160 kilometres east of Venice.  This Free Territory ceased to exist as a political entity 3 years later, in 1954 when the city and the surrounding territories were annexed to Italy, but by then my parents had long since whisked me off to Australia.
Castel Verde -15th March 1954

Family mythology insists that I astonished everyone within hearing range on the day of our departure by reading out loud the individual letters that made up the name of the ship Castel Verde.  The photo on the right is an archive photo of that day –  I’m somewhere  in there … but being two at the time, I have no recollection of the event.

Unfortunately that was the last demonstration of genius on my part and while I’d like to say that writing came just as easily as reading, the honest truth is that it did not.  By the time I was a teenager (and back in a now Italian Trieste once again) I developed a healthy obsession with science fiction.  My desire to become a writer was born.

It is one thing to desire something and quite another to act upon that desire and do what it takes to manifest it.  Being essentially lazy didn’t seem to help and it soon became clear to me that writing (or at least, writing well) was hard work.  Years flew past and became decades.  The 15 year old who wanted to become a writer suddenly found himself in a 56 year old body and the goal was still nowhere in sight.

Oh, I dabbled of course, in erratic bursts, mostly when I forgot how hard writing was, or when the muse took me and would not be denied.  But I felt a long way from my ambition: I wanted to conjure up worlds and vistas and exciting experiences for avid readers, but the sad truth was that I did not have the skills.

To cut a long story short, my experience in becoming a writer was a long and painful journey, one dotted with the odd gratifying experience but for the most part marked by feelings of inadequacy and failure, by disillusionment and an enduring fear that I would never reach the goal.  Still I persevered, attended writing groups, struggled with stilted prose and with overwriting, with inadequate characterisation and lousy dialogue, learning to apply an uncompromising slash-and-burn approach to the editing process.  

It was not all bad.  During those years I managed to produce a few short stories, a substantial novella that won me a $5000 government grant (could have done with a few more of those) and a large chunk (300 pages) of a partly finished first draft that I may or may not revisit one day.

What I recognise now – with that easy wisdom that comes with hindsight – is that each piece of writing, regardless of its actual merits, was a stepping stone that slowly but surely brought me closer to my goal.

There is more: life experience is something that can’t be replaced with imagination; we either have it or we have to acquire it.  Travelling is a great teacher, but so is plunging into the depths of an emotional upheaval, going through a suicidal phase, spending time alone in nature, working with schizophrenics, and so many other experiences I’d be hard put to count.

As those who have read DESTINY OF FIRE will recognise, my life has been blessed with several spiritual experiences.  These have ranged from living in ashrams and practising meditation for a decade, to embarking on a shamanic apprenticeship, participating in and facilitating countless sweat lodges and a number of vision quests.

My spiritual rebirth began back in 1983 and is still continuing.  The experiences that I’ve had since then are inevitably finding their way into my books and stories.  I’d be mad not to use them for, to me, they are as powerful and real as the experiences of enduring friendship and the travails of committed relationships. Without those experiences I would be lost, back at the beginning, navigating without a rudder and getting beached on sandbanks in shallow waters. 

So my ‘day job’ as a healer and a shamanic practitioner has supplied me with a lot of wonderful material to tap into: a bottomless well of arcane wisdom that I am not frightened to draw from.  In fact this has become the main reason behind all of my writing: to entertain while guiding the reader towards some powerful and liminal experiences of his or her own.

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The DESTINY OF FIRE trilogy is now available!

The DESTINY OF FIRE trilogy is now available!



Posted 15 December 2017

The Final volume of Destiny of Fire is now in print and can be obtained HERE