I was born in Jedburgh in the Scottish Borders and history’s always been in my blood. I left school when I was 15 to join the local paper because I liked writing and in those days universities were only for other people.
Reporter, sub-editor, chief sub and night editor, I eventually spent nine heady years as assistant editor of The Scotsman, before digging an escape tunnel on the train with my laptop, which is probably my greatest and (come to think of it) most unlikely achievement. I’m the author of Caligula and Claudius, and in July 2009 I received a contract to write Hero of Rome, my latest book and the first of a new trilogy. When I got the phone call, I ignored my father’s advice for the third and final time in my life, not to give up the day job. Fortunately, I only ever regret it once a month on pay day.