Neill has spent the last four years increasing his understanding of grammar and syntax in order to improve his writing. He has also written a number of blogs and is currently working on his first novel: a noir set in the back streets of Tokyo. As well as working on his novel, Neill is undertaking an MA in Professional Writing at University College Falmouth.
He likes to write about the worlds behind the smiles. He is drawn to the people in the shadows and the stories spoken in smoky rooms and other such clichés. However, he has a deep love for people and tries to balance the darkness of his subjects with his belief that people are capable of overcoming anything. He also likes irony and understands that stories should reflect life with its cross section of tones and emotions.
Neill was born in Liverpool in 1980. His mother was single and nineteen-years old when she had him. Before the age of sixteen he had moved eleven times, due to his step-father’s job or because his parents could no longer afford the rent. By the time he finished, at sixteen, he had changed school six times and amassed only two qualifications. He left home after that, not through animosity – his parents with the help of his grandmother and uncle had never let him come to harm – but because he knew he needed to find a purpose. His life was unstable during those years but somehow he managed to pick up some qualifications while working jobs in cafes and bars. After a number of detours, drunken depression filled detours cured by antidepressants and friendships, by twenty-three he had managed to get in to Sheffield Hallam University. Despite being diagnosed with dyslexia in his first year, and despite his lack of schooling, he narrowly missed out on a 2.1 in Film Studies and Professional Writing.
The thing that kept Neill going through everything was a passion for reading and writing stories. It was always about narrative and character: first through drawing and later through words – even though spelling had always been difficult for him. He wrote: short stories, comic books, scripts and diaries. He knew he wanted to tell stories, even if the medium sometimes changed. Determined to be a successful writer he knew he needed to stop ignoring his weaknesses and got a job teaching English in Japan. This would give him the opportunity to improve his grammar: what better way to understand something than to teach it.