Nick Elliott was born in Oxfordshire. He has worked in international shipping all his adult life and handled dozens of claims, casualties and other assorted maritime mishaps throughout the Far East, East Med and Black Sea. Many of these cases provide inspiration for his series of Angus McKinnon thrillers.
He worked in Hong Kong and Tokyo for twenty years and Piraeus for a further eight. During the course of an interesting career he has been sent to the Pacific island of Nauru amidst fears of a typhoid epidemic; hid in a storm drain during an inter-gang shootout in Guam; in Georgia investigated the theft of a cargo of ethyl alcohol tracing both cargo and the armed gang to North Ossetia; and overseen the welfare, disembarkation and migration from Hong Kong to the UK of 1,002 Vietnamese boat people rescued by a British ship in the South China Sea.
He is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers and now spends his time editing the Inchcape Shipping Services house journal, and writing.
“As a child in the Fifties I can remember my father’s RAF stories and experiences exchanged between his parents and their friends. An old RAF chum told how, on a transport flight from Berlin after the war, he’d made an emergency landing in Yugoslavia. Thinking his plane was carrying relief supplies of blankets and medical supplies to Palestine, he was arrested when crates of guns and ammunition were found in amongst the cargo. He escaped from prison and walked across the mountains to reach safety. Another friend though, had fought and was captured in Burma spending much of the war as a Japanese POW. He never spoke of his experiences.
“Such stories and the books I read when growing up, many involving wartime exploits, gave me a curiosity about the world, and a strong desire to explore it.”
Nick was sent to boarding school which gave him a sense of kinship though it was, by today’s standards, a tough environment with cold baths at six each morning followed by a run up the hill, compulsory rounds of boxing in the gym and canings for minor infractions. He says it sounds harsher now than it seemed at the time.
At sixteen he was set free and studied ‘A’ Levels at King’s School in Tynemouth on the Northumberland coast. Former pupils included film director Ridley Scott and comedian Stan Laurel. “It was the Sixties: there were parties, pubs – and girls.” He tasted freedom.
After a year studying law at Newcastle University he jumped ship finding a job as a ships agent in London. It turned into a career taking him from London to Edinburgh’s port of Leith, then to the Far East. After twenty years in Hong Kong and Tokyo, the family moved to Athens and then, as the wheel turned full circle, back to Scotland. “At this point,” he says, “it was time to start planning a series of novels I’d had in the back of my mind for years.”
Nick had visited Greece as a student in 1968 when the colonels were running the country, Mikis Theodorakis’ music was banned and there were soldiers everywhere. But he fell for the country and its people on that trip and eventually bought a small island house in a village on a hill. At first the family would travel from Hong Kong and virtually camp out. “At that time there was no electricity in the village and the water supply was primitive.”
Today he divides his time between Scotland and Greece. He is married with two daughters and two granddaughters.
Nick’s first book, Sea of Gold, is available from Amazon in e-book and paperback formats: http://amzn.to/1jkQUYT