My writing career began at an early age with 56 stories published in a local newspaper “The Tettenhall Observer”. I was inspired by the boys’ papers of the 1950s, Adventure, Rover, Hotspur, Wizard etc., all of which I read weekly.
Times changed to meet the demands of a new young readership. Many of those story papers either ceased publication or had their original text content replaced with picture strip stories.
As the years progressed I tried to find a market for my kind of stories. Then, by chance, a copy of “Our Boys” came my way. It was published by the Educational Company of Ireland, Dublin, and part of it was in the Irish language.
Tales of the Mounties (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) have always fascinated me so I introduced a character of my own, Kincaid. He featured in 5 stories; “The Coming of Kincaid” (October 1971) “Kincaid Cleans Up” (November 1971) “A Man called Blaze” (December 1971) “Scourge of the North West” (May 1972) and “Yukon Pursuit” (June 1972).
The September 1971 issue carried a story entitled “The Dive of Death”, about a stunt man featuring in a sports film”.
Science fiction was another genre which I had read extensively in my boyhood, nothing sophisticated like modern stories, virtually all concerning aliens landing on Earth or spaceships visiting a variety of planets in the Universe. My “The Beast from Space”, was set on Dartmoor where a monster from space lands, armed with a gun that shrivels up anything at which it is aimed.
All very basic, but reflecting stories which had once enthralled young readers. “Cannibal Island” (March 1972), a story of a cargo ship on its way to Hawaii to deliver a load of grain, is swept off course by a hurricane. The crew survive and they go ashore on an unknown island which happens to be inhabited by cannibals… Was this the germ of an idea which led to my novel “Cannibals” (Arrow 1986)?
Sadly, “Our Boys” is long gone, but for a short time it had provided me with a market for the type of fiction I would have loved to write had I been old enough in the days of those story papers which had thrilled me in my boyhood.