My name is David Fernley and I’m a full-time writer, living in North Yorkshire, England. I wasn’t always a writer: I spent my working life as a learning and development manager, but I’ve always had a passion for stories. Some of my very first memories are of my parents reading aloud to me and, ever since I could hold a pen, I’ve written stories for myself.
In 2016, I was able to take early retirement after a career in the Civil Service. This gave me the precious opportunity to write full-time.
My two passions are for English history and literature, and I’m also fascinated to know more about my family’s past. I’ve spent thousands of hours thinking about how to combine my love of writing, books and history. I made a few false starts on this blog, but during a blissfully peaceful and sunny holiday in Greece, I finally figured it out.
My Writing Project
It must be something to do with my nature, but I love a project. I find it deeply satisfying to have an end point in mind and a plan for how to get there. I must admit my writing project is pretty ambitious and probably deeply unrealistic: I started it so late in life; but at least it’s something to aim for.
My project is to research my family’s history and write about their lives and the times they lived in. I’m not just interested in who my ancestors were and what they did: I want to know how they lived, what was happening in the wider world around them and how society was represented in the arts and culture of the time.
My project has a few different parts to it: I’ve got thousands of family documents and photographs to sort and catalogue, genealogical research to complete to trace my ancestors, and background reading and research on the times they lived in. And that’s to say nothing about the writing that will come out of all this research.
I don’t know exactly what I’m going to write yet, because I don’t know what I’ll find. I’ve got a few half-formed ideas, and tantalising glimpses, but nothing more. I could end up writing fiction, or a biography or two, and I’ll almost certainly write shorter articles for this blog. I’ll just have to go where my ancestors lead me.
I also think it’s important that I bring the story up to the present day. Recently I’ve taken an interest in photography, and the ability of pictures to tell powerful stories. So, as part of the project, I’m photographing the world I see around me and keeping a journal recording my experiences.
About this blog
This blog is for anyone who’s interested in stories of the past and present. Whether you create them yourself, or like to read other people’s, I hope you find something here that interests you.
I’ll keep you updated on progress with my project, publish short articles and photo-essays, review books which I’ve found interesting, and publish excerpts of any longer works I produce.
I’d also like this blog to be a place where people get involved and contribute their own views about history and writing. If you want to get involved you can comment on individual posts, follow the blog on Facebook and Twitter, or contact me by email.
In my spare time
As well as writing and photography, I play the melodeon (a bit like an accordion, but with buttons instead of keys), tinker with my model railway, fish, walk and swim. I also love studying and have a BA in history and English and an MA in English literature.
When not being a serial hobbyist, I’m fond of the of real ale and single malt whisky. I live with my lovely wife, two of my grown up children, a cat and a horse. (Except of course the horse lives outdoors.)