The inspiration for "In All Directions" came following several coach holidays in Europe, after which James filed away a number of incidents (both actual and imaginary) that he thought could form the basis of some kind of coherent, light-hearted tale. He has always marvelled at the stoic tolerance, forbearance and good humour displayed by Brits on coach tours abroad, even when things occasionally go wrong. But, he wondered, would happen, if they stopped behaving in that way...!
It is the middle of summer and a group of British holiday-makers is embarking on a two-week whistle-stop coach tour of Europe under the dubious auspices of "Conn Tours".
Among the group are Frank and Joyce. They are not used to holidaying abroad and,now that Frank has retired, Joyce is not sure how, or indeed if, she will cope with his obsessions, bad temper and weak bladder. Then there are Dave and Susan. Dave enjoys most things to excess, especially food and alcohol, but is impotent. Susan, for her part, is starting to have some strange and uncomfortable fantasies. Student, Barbara, released from the stifling shackles of life at home, is determined to enjoy every minute of her holiday, both inside and outside the hotel bedroom, until her boyfriend becomes a victim of their sexual gymnastics. Julia and Trevor are recently married and Trevor is looking forward to a romantic holiday. He is lovesick, wheras Julia is just homesick. Ex-model Valerie continues to be frustrated and irritated by her husband, Brian, a talented if unfulfilled musician, but disastrously accident-prone.
As the tour gets underway, it is increasingly beset by problems, delays, accidents and incompetence and Miranda, the "Tour Director", who clearly has issues of her own, begins to lose control. As problems pile up, tensions increase and members of the group face having to take some dramatic decisions in order to salvage their holiday and their relationships.
James was born in London. Later, armed with an honours degree in history and a passion for books, he moved to the Home Counties where he worked for many years as a local government librarian. He has always enjoyed writing but never really found much opportunity while working, although his business plans and reports were often praised as works of pure fiction.
When he retired, and greatly encouraged by his long-suffering wife, he was looking for new hobbies and decided to try writing a novel. Based loosely on some of his experiences travelling around Europe by coach, he quite surprised himself by completing it. He is now working on a second novel which describes, in part, what happened to some of the characters in "In All Directions".
James now lives quietly in Dorset with his wife, Polly, and a demanding cat. When not writing, he makes tea, collects ailments, argues with the cat and battles with bindweed.