I was born shortly after Christmas in 1968 - a child of the Sixties - but only just. I am, for my sins, born and bred in Chatham. I was a sickly child with bad asthma and consequently sought other ways of recreation from the usual kicking around an inflated pigs bladder type sports. As a youngster I would earnestly tell all and sundry that I was going to be an archaeologist when I grew up - which often caught people by surprise. By the age of 9 I could reel off the names of various large and dead lizards and know what I meant. Needless to say, I am not an archaeologist (although having worked in the law for some time I have encountered innumerable fossils).
At primary school I began to write and draw cartoons to entertain my friends. When secondary school came along the art side of my output dropped off like a leaf in autumn and I began to explore the perplexing world of prose. History lessons - as presided over by a very inept teacher indeed - turned into writing period. My stories tended towards teachers versus pupils type blood and gore. The stories were pretty dire - but it did keep all my peers entertained, although on at least one occasion said stories were confiscated and not returned for some long while (most likely until all the teachers had read them).
This vague writing thing became a more concrete ambition (eventually wiping out the dinosaurs as effectively as any comet crashing into the Earth). One of the pivotal points of my life has been when I became a DOCTOR WHO fan in 1981. Like everyone in the world I had been aware of the series, but it wasnt until I sat and really watched some episodes that I realised how damn good it was. This brought out an interest in science-fiction which is still my main reading material today.
In September 1991 Roy and I began our long-lasting project on Englands Castles. This has involved visiting ALL of Englands castles - some 1700 or so! - with the visiting having finished in October 1998! Now a good deal of writing is necessary to turn years of trudging around damp fields looking at small piles of stone into a fully-fledged fully-illustrated book. Oddly enough this is the closest I've thus far got to proper archaeology!
Through travelling around the country I developed a great love for the variety and splendour of Britain and a huge interest in its history. This is often reflected in my stories. Although more recent years have also seen a growing interest in cultures and peoples abroad, with particular links to Finland, Spain, Ireland and an interest in all things East European. With meeting Jacqui in 2002 I now am beginning to have links across the Atlantic too.
I joined the Medway and Maidstone Writers Group (or as it was then the Medway Writers Guild) in December 1991 (another pivotal year!) and had my writing horizons broadened ever more. Since that time I have tackled a wider variety of subjects than I would ever have considered before. My time with the M&MWG came to an end in 1999. Subsequently I became a founding member of "The Write Idea - Maidstone" a writers group based in Maidstone which contains a number of the old members of the M&MWG. I left this Group in 2002.
In 1997 I edited and compiled the M&MWGs first book MIXED NUTS! which was reprinted early in 1998. A second book AROUND THE WORLD IN EIGHTY PAGES came to me as an idea after writing a story called 'The Bush Bus' and the book which was written with Darren E. Laws and illustrated by Ivan Lloyd Smith turned out very well indeed and is available for £4.00. In 2002 I became connected to BeWrite Books (www.BeWrite.net) who have published me no less than three times both on-line and in CD and paperback format. These books are the first time I have been paid for my writing!
The first of my BeWrite books was CHILL which was also BeWrite's first ever book, this was co-written with Terri Pine from Plymouth and Peter Lee from Manchester. Shortly after this one of my stories 'The Bird Man of Arkansas' was revised and placed in a collection called THE MILLER MOTH which is made up mostly of short stories by American writer Mike Broemmel. My third 2002 BeWrite book is SHAKEN AND STIRRED: POETRY FROM THE FAR CORNERS, which, as the name suggests, contains some of my poems alongside those by other authors from around the world.
2002 has been a good year from my writing as I am also to be published in a poetry anthology entitled A PASSION FOR POETRY published by United Press Ltd, although this is only one of my poems; 'Ghost'.
2004 saw the publication of KALEIDOSCOPE: A SPECTRUM OF SHORT STORIES from BeWrite books, an idea conceived by myself which also contains some of my own work, plus some of Roy's - the first time he has been paid for publication. Sadly it's publication has been overshadowed by the death of my father.
As well as writing my hobbies include reading (what a surprise!), favoured writers being Anne McCaffrey, Terry Pratchett, Tracy Chevalier and Freda Warrington (whose brilliant book THE RAINBOW GATE I still consider the best thing I've ever read). I enjoys cats (although only lightly fried; not baked) and have in the last couple of years found that penguins have been taking an increasing hold on my life (what began as a joke has become more than a joke!).
I also take photographs (many thousands) which have had a tendency to be Castles in the last few years but have included all manner of strange subjects. Pages of the photographs taken by Andrew, Roy and Shaun can be found in The Gallery.
I have been in regular correspondence with several penpals in foreign parts and have been writing to some for quite a long while, and have met up with many both in the UK and in their own countries. I have a wide and eclectic taste in music ranging from The Beatles to Beethoven, Tanita Tikaram to Prokofiev, Riverdance to Bob Dylan and back again.
I have learnt some elementary Spanish and would like to pursue this a little more, whilst at the same time harbouring a vague wish to learn some Russian too.
In recent years I have begun a vague project to visit every country in Europe, and am making good progress - but still have a long way to go, not to mention some slightly awkward countries left to visit.
2002 was pivotal year for many reasons - paid publication, leaving the Writers' Group - but most importantly and more life-changingly than all of these in July I finally found love in the shape of Jacqui Harris; born in Gillingham and of Guyanan parentage but having lived in Rainham (Essex) most of her life and living in Chingford where I relocated to join her.
2003 saw me expand my horizons to television, appearing as contender on 'Mastermind' (naturally picking English Castles as my subject and coming a creditable second in my heat). A second TV came on Channel 5's 'Brainteaser' where I lost out on the very last question (the answer to which was Chile ... d'oh!). Having been picked up by the press for my Mastermind appearance I appeared in two national newspapers (Metro and The News of the World). This drew the attention of the producers of 'The Terry and Gaby Show' and in October myself and Roy got to appear with the one and only Terry Wogan live on national TV ... all my photos in their battered old boxes also making an appearance.
In September 2005 I married Jacqui at a small civil ceremony followed by a larger blessing at Cooling Castle in 2006. We have also moved to Letchworth Garden City in Hertfordshire. To see wedding photos go to The Wedding Gallery.
For some examples of Andrew's writing, click on the story titles below:-
|THE BIRD MAN OF ARKANSAS||ODE TO THE LILAC TREE|
|THE LIFT||GOD BLESS THE REFUGEE|
|WHY ARE THERE NO SONGS
|PRIMROSE||FLOWERS AND SONGS|
|MUD AND WATER||KEVIN DELANEY'S DILEMMA|
|FOR THE LOVE OF LUCY||SACRED VALENTINE|
|BREAK IN AT LAB 24||KLAN OF KNIGHTS|
|THE BLUEBELL GIRL||SEVEN DEADLY SINS|
|CLOSING TIME||PICNIC IN THE PARK|
|A RAINY NIGHT IN LINCOLN
(versions 1 and 2)
|THE STRANGE TALE OF
|THE DAY BEFORE THE WEDDING||DON'T FEAR THE REAPER|
|FOOD FANTASY||UN BESO DE LA ANDALUZ|
|MINE EYES HAVE SEEN
|A GROOVE ON THE TUBE|
|BOGLE NIGHTS||SOMEONE LIKE YOU|
|3614544||ODE TO AN ORANGE|
|MARY'S STORY||FIVE HOSPITAL POEMS|
|IN JENNIFER'S EYES|
|ON A FENLAND TRAIN|
|THE BRIDGE AT MOSTAR|
|ADAGIO OUTSIDE ST. MICHAEL'S
|BEHIND THE PLOUGH|
|I WILL NOT BE A PART
OF THE SHAME
|THE MOUSE UPON THE STAIR|
|THE MUSICAL MOUSE RETURNS|
|THE MUSICAL MOUSE GETS
|A MOMENT'S REFLECTION
|THE LAST DOLPHIN|
|A BAD DAY ON THE
THE VAMPIRE STORIES
THE HARVEY THE REMARKABLE CAT POEMS
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© Photos and Artwork - Andrew J. Müller, Jacqui Harris, Roy Barton and Shaun Runham
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