It's a collection of my articles about the UK and Eire, which have appeared in newspapers, magazines and websites over the past decade.
It's also a director's cut of sorts, as many of the chapters contain additional material which weren't part of the original published pieces.
As I was putting the book together, I noticed how often I'd written travel articles about British and Irish culture, particularly concerning British fictional characters.
With that in mind, I'd like to share the Foreword, to give you some of the book's flavour and to outline my love for this part of the world...
I’d travelled to Britain many times in my mind before I actually set foot there.
My childhood and early adult years were awash with fiction emanating from the United Kingdom.
As a young boy I marvelled at monsters invading the London streets and its Underground in black-and-white episodes of Doctor Who. As I got older, the first novels I read were the haunting science fiction stories of John Wyndham, including The Day of the Triffids.
I also enjoyed the Poirot mysteries of Agatha Christie, which often took me into the English countryside with its trademark stately homes and quaint villages (both concealing sinister secrets).
In a neat reversal in the 1980s, the excellent Sherlock Holmes television series starring Jeremy Brett led me to devour the original stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, still excellent after all these years.
Similarly, the 1990s Jeeves & Wooster TV series starring Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie introduced me to the marvellous (and plentiful) works of PG Wodehouse, which I’m still working my way through.
And later that decade I played Duncan in a production of Macbeth at the University of Western Australia, finally taking part in my favourite of Shakespeare’s plays.
Given this immersion in imagination, it seems only fitting that the first four chapters of this book focus on fictional characters.
When I first arrived in London in 1990, I was delighted to discover that the British capital was even more complex and layered than had been suggested by these creative folk; as was the land beyond.
Armed with a thick UK railway timetable and a Britrail pass, Narrelle Harris and I proceeded to explore this familiar/unfamiliar country, passing through the cities, towns and countryside of England, Wales and Scotland.
Much later, I was lucky enough to add Ireland – both north and south – to this tally. In both Northern Ireland and the Republic, I was glad to find connections to my own life and experiences, and to make the acquaintance of the warm, complex people of that island.
This book is a collection of my published travel articles about the UK and Ireland, which first appeared in newspapers, magazines and websites. It’s not intended to be a guidebook or travel memoir, rather a series of glimpses into aspects of these two nations.
I hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoyed writing them, and that they provide inspiration for your next visit to Britain or Ireland.
Here's the link again: I Am a Bond Villain: A Travel Writer's Strange Affair With Britain & Ireland.
If you buy the book, I hope you enjoy it. If so, please take a moment to review it on the Amazon website or via the Kindle link. Thanks!