I was born in the London borough of Islington. I won’t tell you when, other than to say that on the October day I was born it was not only extremely hot, but the irascible midwife attending my mother was very angry that I was delaying her midday meal. On top of that, I apparently bawled out so loudly that my father threatened to throw me out of the window. Not a good start for one so innocent, but at least I survived. And, fortunately, up until now, I am still surviving.
For a lad from what was called in those days, ‘the working class’, I had a tough time sorting out what I wanted to do. All I knew was that I wanted to write, even if it was just something I could put in a drawer and throw away the key. I was lucky enough to win a free place at Highbury Grammar School, where my headmaster was more intent on forcing me to learn about mathematics than write stories that nobody would ever read. When I left school, I was offered a job as a junior reporter on the ‘Daily Sketch’, but as my headmaster refused to let me attend evening classes to learn shorthand, I lost out, and ended up as a mail delivery boy for a timber magazine in Fleet Street. That was followed by a short spell in the publicity and printing department of 20th Century Fox in Soho Square, where I became starry-eyed every time I saw a famous Hollywood star come through the doors of the front foyer. I’ve been starry-eyed about such names ever since, that’s why I always carried an autograph book in my back pocket. The collection became quite formidable, and is probably now worth a King’s ransom – well a Prince’s anyway.
After less than a year there, I was whisked off to do two years’ National Service in the Royal Air Force, not as a pilot as I sometimes pretended to be, but as a common or garden AC plonk airman, setting up entertainment for the men and women on the base. I even had my own record request programme called ‘Our Choice’, and was apparently quite good at being a disc-jockey with songs by Bing Crosby, the Ink Spots, and Mantovani and his orchestra!
I don’t think there’s any point in going on ‘about me’ in too much detail, mainly because there wouldn’t be enough pages on this website, but also because I hope one day to write my autobiography, even if nobody publishes it! The way I started writing is in any case, well documented, and there is plenty about that and all the other things I have done in my life spread around these pages. I will say that the two things I have enjoyed doing since I took the plunge into freelance work, was writing for radio, and writing novels. It’s a funny thing, but my parents, Letty and Oliver, knew nothing about writing, but the support they gave me for whatever I wanted to do in life was quite extraordinary. My dad, who was known by everyone as ‘Pop’ even bought me my first typewriter. It cost £5, and I still have it to this day, sitting near me as I use it’s 21st century grandchild computer to concoct my tales, greatly loved, and never to be deserted. ‘Guess what, Pop?’ I said. ‘I’m going to be a writer.’ ‘Good fer you, boy’ he replied. ‘But what you goin’ ter do for a livin’?’ What indeed! Heartaches, rejections, rejections, rejections. I wouldn’t be a writer without rejections. In fact I had enough of them to wallpaper my bedroom!
That’s why it’s rather nice that at this time in my life I can sit back and read one of the lovely things my publisher has said about me on the cover sleeve of my novels:
‘Victor’s heart-warming London sagas have gained him an army of fans from all over the world, who all feel that he captures the vibrancy of life in wartime London like no other saga author.’
If that’s true, then I am indeed a lucky man.