James Barrington was born in Cambridge and after an extraordinarily undistinguished academic career worked in a somewhat bizarre selection of jobs, including in a supermarket, in a petrol station, on a production line in a local factory, as a hospital porter, a driver and in a mortuary, before finally seeing the light and joining the Royal Navy’s Fleet Air Arm as a helicopter pilot. That went rather less well than he had expected, as he suffered a detached retina in one eye probably caused by one bout too many of basic fixed-wing aerobatics. This curtailed his flying career. He transferred to Air Traffic Control, statistically much safer than flying any kind of aircraft, and stuck it out for over twenty years.
Leaving the service, he decamped with his wife and two dogs to the Principality of Andorra in the Pyrenean mountains on the reasonable grounds that somebody there had offered him a job and the expression ‘income tax’ didn’t appear in the Andorran lexicon. Living on his wits, abilities and somewhat niggardly Royal Navy pension, all of which proved barely adequate to ensure his survival, he began bombarding UK literary agents with manuscripts. To his surprise, in 2003 one agent agreed to represent him, and to his even greater surprise the next year Macmillan published his first ‘Paul Richter’ thriller. Almost 40 books later, he’s also been published by Penguin, Simon & Schuster, Transworld and others in the UK, and in multiple languages in other countries, writing in a variety of genres and using several different names.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, ‘James Barrington’ is a pseudonym because his real name, Peter Stuart Smith, is dull and boring.
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