My name is David James and I live in Wells, Somerset, the smallest city in England. I moved here after giving up paid work, wanting to live somewhere built on a human scale and with a real sense of community. My connection to the city and its wonderful surroundings, the Mendip Hills, the Levels and moors, goes back to early childhood.

For thirty years – on and off – I had a conventional career, but generally I no longer talk about it. In this culture we often define ourselves by jobs and roles that don’t match who we really are. I prefer to focus on what I’m doing now, the people who matter to me and the projects I’m currently working on.

I have always been interested in making sense of myself, the world and other people, so I’ve been drawn to psychology, philosophy and spirituality, as well as politics, economics and history. All these contribute to the rich and multi-layered “stories” through which we live our lives. I think that fiction can be one of the best ways to explore and express the human condition, and to my surprise I’ve become a writer of novels. This is something I love doing. It’s a completely immersive experience, and I would write even if no-one else ever read my output (though of course I hope that some people will!).

For all its beauty and rich history, Wells is never quite what it appears to be. Although conventional on the surface it is also a refuge for people who are not quite at home in the mainstream. It is a good base from which to engage with the wider world.