I’ve been writing about aeroplanes since I was a boy. Aged eight, I wrote a school project called Jet’s. And while I now understand how to use an apostrophe, my interest in things with wings has remained undimmed.
My first book, Vulcan 607, was published by Bantam Press in 2006. It was followed in 2009 by Phoenix Squadron and, in 2010, Storm Front, about the Dhofar War in Oman in the early seventies. All three were Sunday Times top-ten bestsellers and are now available in paperback and ebook.
My writing has appeared British national newspapers including the Guardian, Daily Mail and The Sun, Esquire magazine, and a wide range of aviation magazines including Aeroplane Monthly, Fly Past and Aircraft Illustrated. A documentary based on Vulcan 607 called Falklands’ Most Daring Raid by Darlow Smithson (Touching the Void, 127 Hours) was shown on Channel 4 in March 2012.
I’ve working on a book about the Space Shuttle – another flying machine that captured my imagination when I was growing up. It’s been a huge pleasure and privilege to talk to a number of astronauts over the last eighteen months or so. If you’d told me, when I was ten years old, that I was going to meet and talk to someone who’d flown on board Columbia’s first flight in April 1981, I’d have probably exploded with excitement.
Beyond my own writing, books still dominate. I’ve worked in publishing for fifteen years and I’m currently Publishing Director at Penguin’s Michael Joseph imprint. I’ve been lucky enough to publish a diverse range of authors including Tom Clancy, Clive Cussler, Andy McNab, Jeremy Clarkson, Ellen MacArthur, Roy Keane, Viv Richards and Brian Johnson, the lead singer from AC/DC. More aviation or military flavoured titles I’ve published Tornado Down, Sniper One, Sabre Squadron, Joint Force Harrier, Immediate Response, Major Mark Hammond’s account of his time flying Chinooks in Afghanistan and, most recently, Mark Owen’s bestselling account of the Navy SEAL Bin Laden raid, No Easy Day. I was also privileged to be the first person at Penguin to read Geoffrey Wellum’s classic Battle of Britain memoir First Light.
I was born and brought up in Cambridge, before studying Modern History at the University of Liverpool and graduating in 1992. I now live in a village near Cambridge with my wife and three children.