Alan was born and brought up in Aberdeen, Scotland. An early interest in wildlife, spurred by explorations of the north-east countryside, came to fruition with an Honours degree in Animal Ecology from Aberdeen University. Through his studies Alan was able to undertake ecological work in Kafue National Park, Zambia, and in the Peruvian rainforest. It was while encountering the weird and wonderful creatures of the jungle that he met his future wife Michelle, a fellow biologist and fiddle player of renown.
A Masters degree in Responsible Tourism Management from Greenwich University was followed by a return to Peru, where Alan and Michelle assisted a friend in a putative project to develop a wildlife sanctuary for animals confiscated from the illegal pet trade. While the project never got off the ground, the time was not entirely wasted and Alan and Michelle returned to the UK expecting their first child. Fergus was born in 2005 and the family relocated to Galloway, where Alan became a wildlife ranger at the Cream o’ Galloway organic farm. This job included working with school groups, an aspect of the work which soon inspired Alan to become a teacher. With second son Robin born in 2008, Alan gained his PGDE from the University of the West of Scotland in 2009 and has been teaching ever since.
Throughout all these experiences Alan has been writing, and themes of nature, exploration, family and adventure regularly crop up in his work.