I’ve had a life of two halves. In the first I was both farmer and agricultural policy adviser. I bred sheep and alpacas, reared calves, broke ploughs, represented the UK in international negotiations, specialised in emergency response from Chernobyl to bird flu, managed controls over pesticides and GM crops, saw legislation through parliament and got paid to eat KitKats while on secondment to Rowntree.
In the second I chaired an NHS Trust, worked on animal welfare, sailed a boat on the Norfolk Broads, volunteered in Citizens Advice and the Witness Service and vaccinated humans against Covid. Two golden threads have run through everything; my love for both reading and writing, and the wise words of my Gran. ‘You can do anything if you try hard enough.
Now I write about the countryside and the animals I love, the industry (farming) I hold in deepest respect, and the various ways in which humans make things bad for each other and the world around them, always being very aware of the sad fact that cruelty to animals usually goes hand in hand with cruelty to other humans. Much of my time in the Witness Service and in Citizens Advice has indeed brought me face to face with some of the more tragic aspects of family life and work.
I write about the rural world because I want to share its wonders, peculiarities and hilarious moments with people who may not have been privileged to see it as I have seen it. But I wrote these books because each uncovers problems that are probably hidden to most of us and about which I care passionately.
My main protagonist has grown with each story and his life has changed in ways I couldn’t have predicted at the start. When I started writing Secret Places I did not intend Greg Geldard to be the main protagonist. But I find that he, and other characters, take on a life of their own. How they react to circumstance affects what and how they feel, and therefore how they evolve. That too gives me immense satisfaction. Greg Geldard is now a man with a rounded personality; some strengths, some weaknesses, some insights and some blind spots. I’d like to meet him.
As featured in the Eastern Daily Press:
“Norfolk farm disaster expert turns to crime writing“
Heather Peck’s DCI Greg Geldard Series in Order
and the ‘novella’:
Death on the Rhine