Welcome to the website of novelist Miles Craven
Miles Craven is my penname, an amalgam of the name I was born with (Michael Craven) and the name that replaced it when my mother remarried (Michael Miles). An exiled Yorkshireman living with my family in North Wales, I graduated in Medieval and Modern History at Birmingham University in 1978, where I also completed my PhD in 1982 and in the same year a postgraduate teaching certificate at Wolverhampton University. I have taught in further education colleges and universities for over thirty years, teaching more subjects than I care to remember but specialising in History, English Literature and, most recently, Creative Writing.
I was encouraged in my writing by the novelist John Braine (of Room at the Top fame), who read some of my early attempts. Most of my work has never seen light of day, though some of the best has impressed London literary agents, two of whom, one small, the other large, longstanding and famous, have offered representation. Wishing to be independent, however, Iíve decided to go my own way for now, taking advantage of the seismic shifts in the world of self-publishing.
I try to write (and read) every day, even if itís just for an hour, likening the process to mastering a musical instrument where regular practice is key (pun unintended). But to say I enjoy writing would be a lie, though I do feel compelled to do it and suffer withdrawal symptoms when the chance is denied. My crime fiction is mostly historical; my other work too has a history slant, either psychological realism or twin-timed, more slipstream/time-travel than historical stories per se. Much of my writing is set in West Yorkshire, particularly around Leeds where I grew up during the 1960s and 70s. I have a love-hate attitude to the region in which the love is stronger than the hate. My childhood is rooted there together with my earliest memories, many of which have shaped my work. Loss of youth, loss of innocence and beauty are recurring themes in my books. I love the sea, the moors and all wild and solitary places. Iím interested in the mysteries of life, in keeping them intact rather than trying to solve them. Nor am I much interested in the truth, and like to bend it in my fiction any way I choose. Iím not a realist writer, but nor am I into fantasy or myth. I look for the space between the two, the interstices, the stuff behind the eyes and the stuff thatís beyond, the weird, the fey and the uncanny Ė the Ďothernessí that is us and what we do but also something else, something indefinable. Give me novels every time because I like my fiction full-length and stay clear of short stories. With one or two exceptions I donít care for television or cinema, radio or theatre neither: they are too obviously manufactured for my liking, too artificial, too Ďacted.í I read very little post-1939 and read more narrowly than wide, the best tactic, I believe, for any aspiring writer. I stick to Dickens, Gissing, Rochester, Shelley and above all D.H.Lawrence, in my view the greatest writer of all time and all cultures.