Derek was born in Hampshire in England but spent his teenage years in Auckland, New Zealand, where he still has strong family ties.
On his return to England, he read history at Reading University and for many years he taught history in a secondary school. Whilst he enjoyed his teaching career and it paid the bills, he found a creative outlet in theatrical activities, stage-managing many plays and outdoor Shakespeare performances.
Derek always wanted to write and began, aged 17, writing stories, songs and poetry - in fact virtually anything. Inevitably, work and family life took precedence for a long period of time but in 2010 Derek took early retirement to indulge his passion for history and concentrate on his writing. He is interested in a wide range of historical themes but his particular favourite is the late medieval period.
He aims to write action-packed fiction which is rooted in accurate history. He has so far completed one 4-book series set during the fifteenth century, Rebels & Brothers. This follows a fictional family, the Elders, through their struggle to survive the Wars of the Roses up to 1471. A second series, The Craft of Kings, finds the Elders again ten years later in 1481. His latest book, The Blood of Princes, is set during the short and turbulent reign of the boy king, Edward V.
Currently, Derek is writing two series - not only the final book in the medieval Craft of Kings series, but also book 2 of The Last of the Romans: a story focussing on the historical figure of Ambrosius Aurelianus during the years after the fall of the Roman Empire.
Derek also produces podcasts on the Wars of the Roses for those interested in the real historical background to his books. You can find them on his website.
Derek now lives in Dorset and, apart from his writing, he enjoys travelling - sometimes, but not always, to carry out research for his books. He also spends his time walking, swimming and taking part in archaeological digs.
He was a regular presence at the Harrogate History Festival, is an active member of the Historical Novel Society and you will also find him each summer signing books - and selling them - at the Chalke Valley History Festival outside Salisbury in Wiltshire.
Derek welcomes feedback from readers. Feel free to get in touch with him via his website: www.derekbirks.com