Lyndon StaceyI was born in Brighton, Sussex, UK the youngest of three children. My father was at that time an analytical chemist and my mother had given up working with horses to become a full-time housewife and look after the family.

Animals were a part of my life right from the start. There were always dogs, cats and various small furries when I was growing up and my first experience of horses was a half hour’s ride at the age of 3 or 4, on holiday in the New Forest.

A couple of years later our family made the move to live in the New Forest, and when I was 7 we were loaned a little bay roan mare called Popsi, a wonderful schoolmistress of a pony who taught both my brothers and I to ride.

The New Forest was an idyllic place to grow up. Our house was a neglected Edwardian manor with two acres of garden, which my parents worked slavishly to turn into a lovely home and ran first as a B & B and then two holiday flats.

Over the years we had various horses and ponies, dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea-pigs, donkeys, peacocks and bantams. At age 12 I was given my very first dog, a Labrador X mongrel puppy called Moss, who became my constant companion and confidante through my teenage years, setting the seal on a lifelong passion for dogs.Inca and Teazle

I left school joyfully at age 16 with a burning desire to work with horses as my mother had done. Still too young to take my instructor’s qualifications, I nevertheless took a place as a working pupil in a New Forest training and livery yard; an experience and a setting which I drew on greatly for my first published novel Cut Throat, many years later.

A few months were enough to show me that a life of getting up at dawn, finishing work at dusk and riding under someone else’s direction was not what I wanted. I’m a bit of a free spirit, and have never enjoyed working for others.

A variety of jobs followed, mostly part time, often temporary; market gardening, flower picking, strawberry harvesting (back-breaking but not without its rewards!) shop work and several years as a self-employed animal portrait artist.

Many animals have come and inevitably gone, including Mischa – a wonderful black GSD X at whose passing I thought my heart had broken, and Charlie, a purebred American Quarter Horse who was probably the most intelligent, sensitive and challenging horse I have ever met. He was with me for twenty years and we developed a relationship based on love, respect and a degree of telepathy which was a source of wonder to me but obviously as natural as breathing to him.

Now, after living on the edge of the New Forest for most of my life, I live in the Blackmore Vale in Dorset, my four-legged family including Inca, a GSD X Deerhound who is my soulmate; Teazle, a whippet-sized scruffy grey lurcher; Twiglet, a small brindle person with stick-up ears and very mixed parentage, and two cats called Pippin and Togg.

When I have time I love listening to classical music, watching films, walking in the countryside and riding my motorcycle in the company of other biking friends. Amongst other things I enjoy dancing, dog agility, researching my family tree and I hold a black belt in karate – useful for writing the fight scenes in my books.

And what of writing? Well, that’s always been there – running in an unbroken thread through my child and adulthood, fuelled by an overactive imagination and a passion for reading.

The stories I wrote were strongly linked to what fired my admiration at any given time, hence my first full length novel – written in my early teens – was a western, its hero impossibly – some might say, nauseatingly – heroic. After that, I moved on (thankfully) to an epic sword and sorcery tale, set in twelfth century England.

I was probably 18 or 19 when my mother gave me a Dick Francis novel for Christmas and what a life-changing gift that turned out to be! Somewhere in the course of reading his backlist over the next couple of years, I realised that here was a way of combining my love of horses with the kind of action thriller that I enjoyed, and so – after a long and sometimes painful labour – Cut Throat was born.

Funny how life goes; Cut Throat was accepted by an agent just a few days after my father was admitted to hospital and he was too unwell to understand when I tried to share the wonderful news with him. He died a couple of weeks later and never knew that I was eventually published. He never knew that after years of drifting from job to job, barely making enough to pay my keep, I had finally done something worthwhile. I like to think he would have been very proud.