I was invited to have tea with the famous monster-movie maker, Ray Harryhausen, when I was only 13, after sending him a comic I’d written and drawn, called The Further Adventures of Jason and the Argonauts.
I am NOT Heck. I am asked this question repeatedly, but I assure everyone that my books are purely works of fiction. Even though I am an ex-policeman, they are not autobiographical.
Sacrifice, the second Heck novel, was, at the time, the fastest pre-ordered title in HarperCollins history.
I’m pretty sure that I wrote the last piece of work performed by the late great Dr Who actor, Jon Pertwee, when, sometime in 1996, he recorded a short story of mine, A Glitch in Time, for a spoken-word sci-fi anthology called Out of this World.
I once scored five tries in a school rugby match even though at the time I had a fractured fibula. I hurt my leg five minutes into the match, but it was a very important fixture, so I didn’t tell anyone, stayed on and subsequently had one of my best games ever. Only later, did an X-ray reveal that the leg was in fact broken (it’s not that I’m a man of steel, just that a lot of adrenaline was pumping).
When I was a young bobby, if I was ever tired on nights, I used to enter the stadium of Swinton Rugby League Club, and grab half an hour in their main stand. It would have been frowned on of course, except that one night I arrived there and found a senior rank asleep in the same spot.
The first time I tried to get served beer in a pub – when I was only 14 – I simply asked ‘for a pint’, and when the barmaid said ‘bitter or lager?’, I replied ‘what’s the difference?’. I was duly shown the door.
When I was a young child, I was knocked off my bike by a lorry, an incident I only just survived. Ever since, I’ve never been a comfortable bike-rider.
As teenagers, we swam regularly in a flooded quarry just outside Wigan, which we called Eccy Delph. All the time, we had no idea that the corpse of a famous murder victim – anyone remember ‘the case of the Handless Corpse’? – was weighed down with stones only a few feet below us.
I once spent 24 hours high in the Lake District mountains, when a freezing fog prevented us heading to lower ground again. It was especially terrifying that night, as the fell we were trapped on is supposedly haunted by two ghostly horses with coffins strapped to their backs, which allegedly chase each other around madly. Thankfully, we saw no sign of them.