For South Yorkshire writer Paul Johnson, 2014 is off to a great start.
The busy dad-of-three, who works full time for Sheffield Council’s education services, has just released his second novel, entitled The Big V, as an e-book on Amazon.
Paul said: “I worked really hard in 2013, writing every spare second I had, so I’m thrilled the story is done and out there for people to read – feedback so far has been really positive so I’m pleased.”
Paul published his first book last year, a thriller called Smoke Without Fire, which told the story of an ordinary guy whose life is turned upside down when he is wrongfully arrested on child pornography charges.
Paul, aged 43, explained: “It was dark subject matter, but I thought it was such an interesting concept – watching extraordinary things happening to ordinary people.
“I mean, how well do we really know our neighbours, friends, people we work with? And how convinced would we be of their innocence in the face of compelling evidence to the contrary?”
Paul, who lives in Anston, near Rotherham, with his wife Tara and their three children, told The Star he has been writing for as long as he can remember and dedicates as much time as he can to his passion, which he hopes someday to turn into a full-time job.
“I love writing,” he said. “It’s something I find myself driven to, especially fiction.
“I love being surprised by where the story takes me and watching as my characters take on a life of their own.”
Paul started writing The Big V back in 2005 and only recently picked it back up.
He said: “The great reviews I got for Smoke Without Fire really fired me up to keep writing and the storyline of The Big V was one I’d toyed around with for a few years.
“It sounds morbid, but my inspiration was a few funerals I’d attended that got me thinking about how much time and energy we give in our lives to things that don’t matter and the clarity and perspective we get, often too late, at the end of our lives about how we should have lived.
“I thought it would be interesting to take that perspective, and put it in the hands of a much younger character, in his 30s, as he goes into surgery he thinks he may not survive.
“It’s about a wake-up call and seemed an incredibly poignant message at this time of year – as we all embark on a new year with our own personal resolutions.”
The Big V is actually Paul’s third book, after mental health publisher Chipmunka Publishing released Choose Life back in 2009 – his autobiographical tale of stress, personal growth and development.
n Visit www.amazon.co.uk to read The Big V.