As told by Stephen Clarke himself...
"I grew up in Bournemouth (the Bondi Beach of England), where I played bass in some of the worst rock bands in musical history before leaving town to study French and German at Oxford. After university, I got a series of high-powered jobs in the wine industry (grape picking), tertiary sector (washing up in a German hotel), and in international executive training (teaching English to bored French businessmen).
Meanwhile I started writing novels, all of which remained unpublished due to a vast (and never before revealed) worldwide conspiracy in the publishing industry. I then moved to Glasgow, where I was hired to put rude words into French dictionaries - check out my work on "motherf*cker" in the Collins Robert dictionary. As soon as I heard about the possibility of a French 35-hour week, I moved back to France and got a job as a journalist on an English-language mag.
I kept writing fiction, and, despite fierce opposition from my bank manager, finally decided to self-publish Beam Me Up, Who Killed Beano? and A Year in the Merde via my own (fictional) company, redgaragebooks.com. I began trying to sell A Year ... first, as I was living in Paris, and after three months of humping copies around the streets in a shopping trolley, I sold the book. Not only to bookshops, but also to a major publisher who promised me that they had their own delivery service so I would not have to do any more heavy lifting. I have now written the sequel, Merde Actually, and am planning the sequel to the sequel. Oh, and I still play bass if there are any really bad rock bands out there."