Tim was born in Leigh-on-Sea, a town situated on the south-east coast of England at a point where the Thames Estuary widens into the North Sea and the ebb-tide leaves vast mudbanks stretching out from the shore. It’s a very atmospheric place, especially the ancient seaside village called Old Leigh with its cobbled streets and cockle sheds and fishing boats. The house Tim grew up in overlooked the estuary and much of his time as a boy was spent in or on or just looking at the water.
Tim attended a local grammar school called Westcliff High School for Boys and at nineteen he went away to the University of East Anglia (UEA) in Norwich where he studied Swedish and Scandinavian Studies for four years. One of these years was spent living in Sweden. He was based in Uppsala but he also travelled a great deal around the country and made many friends there. This has since led to further trips to Sweden and a lifelong love of the country, its people, its language and its culture. After graduating, Tim lived on his own for a while in a small, dilapidated caravan in a remote part of The Lake District, writing in the early mornings and evenings and doing forestry work during the day. He has always maintained that the caravan was his first proper bolthole. In 1977 he left The Lake District, moved to Somerset in the West Country of England, and got married. Since then, apart from a four-year spell in London, he has remained in the West Country, now living in the county of Devon, and he has worked in a number of jobs including timber, teaching and translating. As with his time in The Lake District, he fitted his writing in during mornings and evenings, or whenever the opportunity arose.
Tim has written since the age of five. He wrote short stories and comics as a boy, then poetry in his student days. He started his first novel, Midget, at the age of 25 and wrote most of it during the early mornings between 3-7 a.m. before going out to work. The book took ten years to finish and was finally published in 1994. Dragon’s Rock and River Boy followed and by 1997 Tim had given up all other work and was a full-time writer.