My Jack of All Trades series can be found here.
My full name is Derek Howard Smith. I write under the names of Derek Smith and DH Smith.
I live in Forest Gate in the East End of London. In my working life, I have been a plastics chemist, a gardener and a stage manager before becoming a professional writer. I began with plays, working with several theatre companies, and had a few plays on radio and TV, as well as quite a few on stage. In the early 80s I became involved in running a co-operative bookshop and vegetarian café in Stratford, learning to cook, and having my first go at writing a novel. The first was a mess, and, after too much rewriting, binned. The transition from drama to novels took me a couple of years to get to grips with.
My first success was a children’s novel, Hard Cash, published by Faber. Buoyed up by this, I stuck with children’s work, did school visits, and made a hand to mouth living as a full time author, topped up with some evening class work in creative writing at City University and the Mary Ward Centre. A few adult fiction titles appeared from time to time, between the children’s list. Since 2013, I have been working on my Jack of All Trades series of crime novels.
I am a volunteer for Forest Gate Community Garden, the setting of Jack in the Garden. I am sometimes a host, and I write the weekly blog. I am also Treasurer of Forest Gate Festival, which is a one-day festival on a Saturday in July. We take over a local street and have lots of stalls, plenty for children, food for all palates, and a stage for bands, individual artists and choirs. I also belong to a walking club. We meet at train termini, take the train and ramble the countryside within 60 miles of London.
My daughter, Lia Rees, who has skills in proofreading, cover design and layout, has worked with me since 2012 on ebook and paperback design as well as with general marketing.