Tom Coverdale was born in Alice Springs in the red centre of Australia and raised in cattle country and small towns. In those days when TV was scarce, there was little to do of a night but read. He later took his trade as an English teacher and fell in love with Claudia, a city girl, with whom he has co-authored two rowdy boys. He has lived and taught for most of the past 20 years in Melbourne, Australia, but returns often to the bush in his writing, and in his turn-of-the-century Holden ute. Recently, he and the family spent 18 months living and travelling in the former Soviet lands, from Poland to Kazakhstan, in the course of his research for a spy thriller called The red web, which will be his first novel.