TEACHER-turned-novelist Anthony Stobart received some unexpected help when penning his first book.
The Boldon School teacher was delighted to hear from international bestselling crime writer Ian Rankin.
Anthony, 43, teaches English and media studies at the New Road school in Boldon Colliery.
His debut novel, The Ties that Bind, is a crime thriller set in the North East.
Anthony said: “I’m a big fan of crime thrillers and especially the work of Ian Rankin. I got a letter from him while I was writing, which was really kind.
“He told me there are very few good crime writers in the North East and that in order to be successful I should make the area come alive. He also explained that it is so important to focus on the plot.”
The main character in the story is an Asian cop Detective Inspector Eddie Rosario, who is mentally on the edge for most of the book due to the tragic death of his daughter.
An unpopular figure among his colleagues because of his straight talking and tendency to push the boundaries of legality, Eddie is an interesting protagonist for the book.
The teacher, who has been a member of staff at Boldon for five years, has only been writing for the last two.
He said: “This is something that I’ve always wanted to do, probably through teaching English and encouraging writing. It took about a year to write the book, I used to go at it in spurts, sometimes hitting a brick wall, but the last third of the book I actually completed in about a month.”
Anthony has a wife Karen, 36, and two daughters, Hattie, eight, and Josie, five, although his busy writing schedule did not affect their home routine too much.
He added: “I used to write quite late on in the evening when the girls were asleep. My wife helped me with a lot of the editing.”
As for the future, Anthony thinks that a full-time writing career would be ideal but can’t see that happening just yet.
However, he is already working on further exploits of Eddie Rosario in a follow up novel called Scary Monsters, Super Creeps.
l The Ties That Bind will be available as an e-book from June 28 and as a paperback in October.