I was born in Stockport, in the northwest of England, in 1971. As a child, I was a big fan of two television series: Battle of the Planets, and Monkey, both of which were translations of Japanese series, not that I knew it at the time. I discovered roleplaying games around 1983, and the first one I owned was the red box D&D Basic Set with the Elmore dragon. Within a couple of years, I was writing articles and submitting them to magazines, only to be rejected.
After a brief break from roleplaying, due to briefly becoming a fundamentalist Christian, I returned to it shortly before I left Stockport to go to the University of Cambridge, after deciding that I didn’t believe in Christianity any more. There, I went back to submitting articles, and in 1992 my first article, for Ars Magica, was accepted; it was published in 1993, just before I finished my undergraduate degree. The first book I contributed to was The Wizard’s Grimoire for Ars Magica Third Edition, and then, more by good luck than good management, I became heavily involved in the preparation of Atlas Games’s Fourth Edition. My first solo-author book was Heirs to Merlin, for Ars Magica Fourth Edition, published in 1999, shortly after I graduated from Cambridge with a PhD in the philosophy of science.
Shortly thereafter, as a result of dating a Japanese woman, I made a serious start on learning Japanese, and, unlike earlier false starts, I managed to keep it up. I wrote several more roleplaying books, for a number of different systems, and in 2002 I became the Line Editor for Ars Magica. In 2003, I came to Japan to continue my study of the language at a full-time language school in Okazaki, a city in central Japan. My plan was to stay for a year.
Instead, I fell in love with the country, and my wife, and never left. The fifth edition of Ars Magica was released in 2004, winning both an Origins Award and an ENnies award, and I continued to edit the line until the final book, Dies Irae, released in April 2016, rounding off a line with over 40 releases. In 2005, my wife and I moved to Kawasaki, a city in the western side of the Tokyo sprawl, and we have lived there ever since. I started teaching English freelance, as it is an effective way to earn a living here, and my output of roleplaying books dropped back a bit. Now that I have finished editing Ars Magica, I hope to start writing some more again.
In 2010, I was appointed to a two-year term on the Kawasaki City Representative Assembly for Foreign Residents, a body established by city ordinance to bring the opinions of foreign residents, who do not have the vote, to the attention of the city administration. In my first term, I proposed that the city carry out a large-scale survey of foreign residents, to find out what those who were not on the Assembly thought, and the other representatives agreed with me that it was a good idea, developing it and making it one of our formal proposals. In 2012, I was appointed to the Assembly for a second term, and once again served as the chair of one of the subcommittees. In 2013, I was appointed to the city committee designing and analysing the survey that the Assembly had requested, mainly working in Japanese but also assisting with the English translations. This job finished in 2016 with the publication of the final report. I left the Representative Assembly in 2014, as representatives are not permitted to serve more than two consecutive terms, and was appointed to a different city committee that is concerned with the situation of foreign residents.
I became a Japanese citizen in 2016, and intend to live the rest of my life in Japan.