I began to write soon after retiring as a chartered accountant. Two high points from that career - being Finance Director at the Royal Opera House and two years living and working in Milan - influenced what I chose to write about.
I had read about the re-opening of the San Carlo theatre after the liberation of Naples in 1943 and also about the grim fighting at Monte Cassino. Both stories had moved me intensely and these feelings were heightened by the contrast between events that were happening only fifty miles apart. Then, unbidden, came the idea of a young woman linked to two soldiers: one fighting at Cassino; the other running a theatre in Naples. I became determined to write the story. The result was Theatres of War which won The People's Book Prize (Fiction) 2013/14.
Although I had written Theatres of War as a single novel with no thought of returning to the subject, I found myself wondering what happened to the characters after May 1944. The only way to find out was to write a second novel. The result is Embers of War, which follows on from Theatres of War but is self-contained and can be read on its own.