it started out as a few stories written down to entertain his grandchildren.
But Martyn Johnson’s collection of tales about his time as a Sheffield beat bobby is a runaway publishing success.
It rocketed to the No 10 slot in the Sunday Times best seller list within a week of its national release.
Now Martyn is coming to terms with life as a literary celeb with book signings and literary festivals filling his diary.
The book, What’s Tha Up to? was heavily serialised in The Star’s Retro supplement and Martyn which credits with helping the book catch local imaginations.
It also fell into the hands of someone from publishers Little Brown who bought the rights, which led to it being sold the length and breadth of Britain.
Said Martyn: “My son asked me to write down some of my stories so his children would know what life was like in what he calls ‘the old days’.
“I never intended them to become a book, but they did.
“I have had emails from people all over the country. Only today a lady in Ireland emailed to say that she enjoyed the book. She said she had suffered and she kindly said that my book, the first she’d read in ages, had put some sparkle back in her life.”
He added: “I still don’t class myself as a writer but I enjoy telling stories about my time in the force and I feel privileged that people like to read them. They’re just ordinary stories of an ordinary bobby.”
While the rest of the country is just catching up with Martyn’s nostalgic look-back on life as a beat bobby in Attercliffe in the late 60s, local readers can dive into more stories.
For the follow up edition, What’s Tha Up To Nah? has just been published and continues Martyn’s recollections of his time in the police force.
n Published by Wharncliffe Books, priced £12, it is available at The Star shop, in York Street, Sheffield. We will be serialising some excerpts from Martyn’s new book in Retro from this Saturday.