2010. A camp fire on the dunes near the sea with a bottle of wine and a fine woman (she took the photo so isn't in it!). What better way of life is there? This photo was taken near Porthcawl, the town where I grew up; it was the first time I had been back to my old haunts for many years. Porthcawl is where I started writing and I have set plenty of stories there. To give the photo some literary context: my fourth novel, Twisthorn Bellow, had just been published, and I had recently finished writing my sixth, The Abnormalities of Stringent Strange. If those figures don't seem to add up, remember that I have at least one novel I wrote in 2006 that still hasn't sold. It waits in a box for its opportunity. I have several short story collections also waiting in the same box. It's a normal part of the writing process!

Back in Wales, 2009. Trying to enjoy as much outdoor life as possible, but constantly hampered by the bad weather. The previous year another three of my books had been published, The Less Lonely Planet, The Postmodern Mariner and (at long last!) Engelbrecht Again! When this photo was taken, I believe that my third novel, Mister Gum, had just been published, or was about to be published. Although you wouldn't know it from my expression, I was currently writing what I consider to be my finest story, or one of my finest, 'The Impossible Inferno'. 2009 was my most productive writing year ever in terms of wordage.

Northern Spain, 2007. I had gone to work on an organic farm (actually a hippy commune) in the Alpujarras Mountains of Andalusia for a few months before moving to Madrid. It was an extremely successful year for my books. Greek and Spanish translations of my New Universal History of Infamy had appeared, as well as a lavish second edition of The Smell of Telescopes, plus my Sereia de Curitiba book, and when this photo was taken I was awaiting publication of my SF extravaganza, The Crystal Cosmos. I lived in Spain for the best part of a year and my Spanish improved to the point where I could manage extremely basic conversations in bakeries and tapas bars...

Here I am with blond hair again, but this time the colour is fake. The sun was partly responsible for bleaching it, yes, but an artificial dye also played its part. I might as well be honest about that. The year was 2005 and I think I had just returned from a trip to Spain, Portugal and Morocco. My first foreign language book, Em Busca do Livro de Areia & Outras Histórias, had just been published (or was about to be published, depending on the date of this picture), a translation into Portuguese of five short stories, including that satire on Margaret Thatcher that still has never appeared in English. This book was a limited edition, I think, and I believe it sold out fairly quickly.

2004. Lisbon, Portugal. This was my first proper reading at a writing convention. It was the first Fórum Fantástico in fact. I read a satire on Margaret Thatcher in the style of the other pieces in my recently published A New Universal History of Infamy. It was during this Forum that I met the editors of the Livros de Areia publishing house, which led directly to my first foreign language book deal. I enjoyed this trip to Portugal. I didn't realise that many more were to come in the following years! Indeed, I think I have visited Portugal more often than any other country, with the obvious exceptions of Wales and England...

The Guinness Brewery in Dublin, 2003. I feel I ought to point out that I wasn't actually drinking two glasses of stout at the same time. I was holding the second one for a friend... The previous year no less than three of my books had been published, Stories From a Lost Anthology, Nowhere Near Milk Wood and Journeys Beyond Advice. I can't remember exactly when this photo was taken, but I think it might have been just before my first published novel, The Percolated Stars, appeared. So my writing career had taken off properly at last and I had money in my pocket for a change! The money didn't last long, though. It never does!

Sardinia in 2000. One of my favourite islands and a place I wouldn’t mind retiring to. I think this photo shows me standing in the town of Bosa on the west coast. My fourth book, The Smell of Telescopes, had been published earlier in the year and I had just finished writing my first novel, Engelbrecht Again! (a book that wouldn’t see publication for another eight years). I was also hard at work on the stories that would eventually form my fifth volume, Stories From a Lost Anthology, in 2002. Sardinia has some of the remotest landscapes in southern Europe. I want to return and explore the wild east coast and the bandit infested mountains of the interior. In the town of Alghero I witnessed a firework display so exciting and picturesque that I have never felt the need to attend any other firework display since.

Here I am on the shores of Lake Bohinj in Slovenia in 1996. Worming the Harpy had come out the previous year and I was waiting for my second book, the novella Eyelidiad, to appear, which it did shortly afterwards. In addition I had already written the two novellas that would be published together to form my third book, Rawhead & Bloody Bones and Elusive Plato. I remember that I was unhappy leaving the unprotected manuscript of Elusive Plato at home while trekking through Slovenia; I regarded it as easily my best work to date and feared it would be unrepeatable if it was lost. I think I worry more about losing my unpublished work than many writers for the simple fact that I did actually lose everything I wrote between 1981 and 1989.

This photo was taken in Greece in 1995. I nearly killed myself on a moped a few times during my visit! My first book, Worming the Harpy, still hadn’t been published but it did appear a few months later. During my stay in Greece (and Albania) that year I only wrote one short story. It was called ‘The Golden Fleas’. When I was younger I rarely wrote anything other than postcards when abroad. That’s one habit of mine that has changed completely and these days I write almost as much fiction on the hoof as I do at home. I have always found Greece to be a magical place, and one of the great thrills of my writing career was being published in the Greek language; but that didn’t happen until 12 years after this picture was taken.

This photo shows me in Turkey in 1994. Of all the countries I have visited, Turkey is the one that astonished me the most, partly because of the sheer variety of the scenery and also because of the sense of immense history in every nook and cranny of the landscape. I’m not sure which ruined city is shown in this picture, but I’m guessing it might be Xanthos. If so, shortly after this photo was taken I travelled to Konya, holy city of the Sufis, a visit that inspired one of my best stories from that time, ‘A Carpet Seldom Found’. It’s a story I hold especially dear to my heart because it marked a quantum jump in the quality of my prose and plotting. When I returned to Wales from Turkey I found a letter waiting on my mat that informed me I had sold my first book to Tartarus Press.

I'm 25 in this photo and I remember that it was taken somewhere on the coastal path between Aberystwyth and Borth in Mid Wales. It was definitely the summer of 1992, so I had recently sold my first few short stories to some small press magazines, but I don't think anything had yet been published (I think that my first published short story, 'An Ideal Vocation', appeared in August '92). Hiking has been one of my main interests for most of my life but in this photo I am inadequately dressed for a long trek. Back then I would happily walk all day with no equipment, no supplies and in crummy shoes. I was still a prog-rock fan, and I had just got into krautrock, but the Cocteau Twins were my favourite band.

I'm not sure what age I am in this photo. I'm going to guess 19. If so, I had been a 'writer' for five years but hadn't yet published a single word. I was also a big prog-rock fan. The chap on the left is Geraint, my best friend at the time. He was known as 'Max' for some reason, possibly because he was a maximalist. He was a vibrant fellow who always came up with some wizard japes! We spent the whole day walking around town in our pyjamas, for example, or we dressed as Vikings and abducted girls from the street. Stuff like that. He joined the Air Force and I lost touch with him for about 20 years but now we know each other again, thanks to the miracle of Facebook!

This photo shows me at age 12 or 13. I think it was taken during the second year of Comprehensive School. I say this because my school tie doesn't show the accurate school colours and when I was in the second year we deliberately altered the colours by picking out threads with the point of a compass. It was a small act of resistance to the regime! During the whole of that year I was a rascal and my ambition was to be a jewel thief when I grew up. I caused as much trouble as possible as frequently as possible. The following year I discovered Buddhism and starting writing short-stories and calmed down.

This is the oldest photo I have of myself. I'm sure earlier photos exist, but I don't know where they are, nor who has them. I'm guessing I was 7 years old when it was taken. I still have the same 'charmingly crooked' front teeth and my eyes are still different colours (one green, one brown) but I no longer have blond hair. When I was this age I assumed I would have flaxen locks forever. Even when my hair darkened after puberty I still thought of myself as blond. Maybe deep down I still do. To offset my blondness, you may observe that I am wearing a red t-shirt under a red pullover. Truly the 1970s was the decade that style forgot!