Long nights scribing until dawn have paid off for one aspiring local writer, whose self-published first novel has almost sold out in his hometown and proven popular across Europe.
Andy Mellett Brown, 51, who is president of the radio society of Bletchley Park, penned thriller The Shelter during the night while his wife Patricia slept.
The father-of-two said: “I’d had a vague idea for a book but I’d never written professionally and I think I had discounted my ability to feasibly write a novel.”
It was Patricia who encouraged him to try, but with working full-time for the Care Quality Commission, Andy is limited to noting down his stories when it is dark.
“My books tend to get written at night,” he said. “I start writing at 11pm and quite often I’m still there writing when my wife gets up in the morning.”
The Shelter – the first story in a trilogy – is set in 1944 and 2004. It tells the tale of a woman who goes missing in an air raid. She works at Bletchley Park, where codebreakers worked during the war. In 2004 the curator of the local historical site, and the hero of the story, is invited to investigate her disappearance.
Andy, who lives in Leighton Buzzard, has used his knowledge of Bletchley Park to create a fictional world.
He said: “Bletchley Park is the most inspiring place. It just leaches history because of the secret nature of the work that went on there.
“As you walk around voices almost whisper to you about what happened and what could have happened there.”
Since the book launched in June, Andy has had sales across Europe and hugely positive feedback: “I’m so pleased with the way the first book has gone. Every writer would love to become a top seller but I don’t expect that to happen.
“I’ve sold a lot more than I thought I would. We’ve had to do another stock order in the shop.”
The second book in the trilogy is currently in production and the third is being written now.
The Shelter is on sale now for £9.95 in paperback, and is also available to buy online at Amazon and in Kindle format.