HE’S a modest man, is Mike Hodgkins.
Asked why he thinks his book - a fiction based on a life spent firefighting - has been a success, he says: “Well, it has a nice front cover, which helps.”
It does. But Better Read Than Dead, released by The Derbyshire Publishing Company in November, is also a rip-roaring novel by a man who served at Darnall and High Green fire stations during a 27-year career.
Now, after it featured on this page, it has proven such a hit, publishers have asked him to write a sequel. The novel has sold almost 300 copies so far - almost unheard of for a local novel - and it’s reckoned a follow-up will build even on that.
“I’m chuffed to pieces,” says the 68-year-old who was born in Rotherham and now lives in Chesterfield. “I’m not sure why people have taken to it. Firefighting is an exciting subject, perhaps.”
The new one will be called Jake’s Tale and will focus on the life of a young trainee. It will be released in Spring. “If all goes well, I’d love to make it a trilogy. I have a third written in my head already.”