A SHEFFIELD bookworm whose love of reading helped him cope with bullying he suffered due to his autism hopes to inspire others after having his debut novel published.
Growing up, the school library was a sanctuary for Jamie Woodhead, as his difficulty with social situations made him an easy target for playground taunts.
He was also plagued by health issues which had begun when he was born - as a baby, he suffered heart problems which meant he effectively ‘died’ seven times and had to be resuscitated by doctors.
It was not until he was aged 15 that Jamie was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome.
The 23-year-old, of Parson Cross, said: “I’d had it all my life and no-one realised.
“School wasn’t easy. When I got teased I would think it was malicious. People would sit and prod me, but I’d get into trouble when I responded.
“The library was my favourite place. I’d sit there and read and lose myself in a world.
“Doctors said I almost developed a cure for elements of my autism by reading so much. It was my way of coping.”
The unemployed charity shop volunteer came up with the idea for his novel - The Reaper - while studying at Hillsborough College.
The story follows Tobias Peters, who is asked to become the Angel of Death after he dies trying to save a friend.
Jamie, who lives with girlfriend Emma Clarke, sent some chapters to Oaklight Publishing, which agreed to publish it.
He said: “Reading has helped with my Asperger’s and I hope other people can get enjoyment from my book.”
The Reaper is available to buy now from Amazon.