More about Eric

1964 to 1987

 

Born in Edinburgh, Scotland, I was four when my family moved to what was Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe). When I was 15 we moved to South Africa. I completed my schooling there and qualified as a veterinarian before returning to the UK.

 

Growing up in these troubled countries no doubt contributed to my tendency to fight for the underdog.

 

1987 to 1992

 

I completed an MSc in ecology in Aberdeen, working as a veterinarian to cover the costs of my study. I started work on the book that was eventually to be published in 2006 as Pet Hates (The Shocking Truth About Pets and Vets). I joined Aberdeen's Lemon Tree Writers, meeting Eddie Gibbons, Leila Aboulela, Sian Preece and Todd McEwen. I had several pieces published in literary magazines.

 

1992 to 1995

 

I obtained a doctorate in a conservation-related subject, doing much of the research in Cambridgeshire.

 

1995 to 1998

 

I moved my base to Paris where I wrote most of my novel Saving the World and Being Happy (The Computer Ager), which involved extensive background research. Here, I realised my forte was writing.

 

1998 to 2001

 

On returning to the UK I was determined to earn a living as a writer. Admiring the local music scene I launched a magazine to promote it, "The Cellar Scene". I learned more about writing and continued to work on my novel and my veterinary book.

 

2001 to 2005

 

Moving to Manchester, I continued to write (reviewing art and photography exhibitions, for example). I obtained a qualification in teaching English and worked part-time as both a teacher of English (in Manchester) and a veterinarian (in Manchester and further afield).

 

Saving the World and Being Happy (The Computer Ager) was published in 2004. It was well reviewed.

 

I received a commission to help someone with her biography. The project was completed to her satisfaction and taken on by a literary agent.

 

2005 to 2008

 

Edinburgh again! In 2006 Pet Hates was published. A second biography commission went very well and, having had two initially enthusiastic publishers turn it down after doing a libel reading (i.e. they were fearful of the legal consequences) I decided to launch a publishing venture and publish the book (Disruptive) myself by the end of 2009. I was also commissioned, by Chris Darwin, to research a chapter for a guide to environmentally friendly parenting. He was delighted with my work and insisted on doubling my fee.

 

2009

 

I helped Lilou Mace write I Lost My Job and I Liked It in a matter of weeks, a very rewarding project. I finished and published Angela Bayley's Disruptive.

 

2010

 

I helped a Sri Lankan engineer write his biography, and continued to support Angela Bayley, helping her establish a blog and gain media coverage and endorsements for her book, Disruptive, which can be read at the bottom of this press release.

 

2011 to 2014

 

My Scottish Parliament job and my term as a member of the committee of the Society of Authors in Scotland came to an end. I reissued my novel as an ebook, as I did with Angela Bayley's biography under a new title, Please Believe Me.


After having been asked by several people to help with their UCAS personal statements (to get into university in the UK), and finding that my work was greatly appreciated, I decided to offer a new service.

 

Conclusion

 

I have discovered that I have a talent for bringing people's stories alive, whether their first language is English or not (commissioners have included Danish-, French- and Sinhala-speakers). I am passionate about such work and take pride in doing the best possible job. My broad background in the sciences and arts, my international experience, and my contacts in various fields (the media, literature, music, science, education and politics) are all relevant to my work as a biographer. In assisting people with their biographies, I have found a field in which, as a generalist, I am ideally qualified to specialise. Try me!