Nick Elliott was born in Oxfordshire. He has worked in international shipping throughout his careere and handled dozens of claims, casualties and other assorted maritime mishaps throughout the Far East, the East Med and the Black Sea; and 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 his career he has been sent to the remote 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 criminal 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.
“In the fifties as a child I can remember some of my father’s and others’ war stories. An RAF friend we knew as Uncle Joe told how, on an airlift 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 desire to explore it.”
Boarding school gave him a sense of kinship though it was, by today’s standards he says, 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. “It sounds harsher now than it seemed at the time,” he says.
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, girls!”
After a year studying law at Newcastle University he opted out 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.
He 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 on the island. “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 books are available from Amazon in e-book and paperback formats: http://amzn.to/1jkQUYT