Lockdown helps A-Level English Lecturer secure book deal

Lecturer John Kennedy used his extra spare time in lockdown to win a book deal for his debut novel, The Trauma Pool.

John had been working on the crime thriller for four years on and off, juggling writing alongside a job as an English lecturer at New College Durham. During lockdown, John found he had more spare time on his hands and was able to send the book out to agents and publishers.  Sharpe Books loved the novel and were eager to sign a deal with the talented teacher.

The Trauma Pool is a crime thriller set in the 1980s. Detective Will Ashcroft is traumatised after working on a disturbing case in London and returns to the north where he meets a young, black policewoman who is suffering prejudices in and outside the force. They are both marginalised, but when a murder and the disappearance of a 12-year old boy are linked, the two detectives become the boy’s best hope of survival.

The novel is set in West Yorkshire where John grew up and was inspired by a person he knew who suffered post-traumatic stress disorder. John wanted to show how attitudes to issues such as racism and gender have changed since the 1980s, and highlight where they haven’t changed as much as people might think.

John is hoping that his success as an author will act as an inspiration to the young people he works with. He said: “My students are interested and intrigued by seeing their teacher published and I hope many of them will actually read and enjoy the book. I’m not sure I would have them analyse my writing, but maybe I can sneak in an excerpt without them realising what it is! It’s nice to be able to inspire them to write and to enjoy using written language creatively in whatever form.”

Jane Ives, Head of Sixth Form at New College Durham commented: “We are thrilled that John has had his novel published. It is an amazing opportunity for our students to be able to learn from a published author. Hopefully, John’s achievements will motivate them to produce their own examples of creative writing.”

The Trauma Pool has been described as “Truly excellent. Terrific stuff. Tight, interesting and dark” by acclaimed author Dexter Petley. It is available to buy on Amazon where it has a five star rating.

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