Comics led on to novels, and Alan gained an Honours degree in English at Leeds University before becoming an English teacher. Crime novels, especially those with a historical setting and devious plotting, emerged as his great literary passion and he harboured ambitions of being a writer which he describes as being like “playing God without the responsibility.”
The first thing Alan had published was a poem in the seventies, and this was followed by him winning a short story competition and being asked to write a musical play to commemorate ten years of twinning between Wigan and the French town of Angers.
He says the Dundee International Book Prize, which he found out about on the Internet, allowed him to fulfil a lifetime ambition, and he is incredibly grateful for the opportunity. Act of Murder appealed to the judges because of its exciting plot and excellent characters. This fantastic Victorian murder mystery is a tale of magic, poisonings and thespians, with some gruesome murders thrown in for good measure.