AFORMER chartered accountant is set to launch a series of books that fictionalise his escape from the rat race.
Mark Hargreaves is due to release the first of four books which tell the tale of Grant Bannister, a North-East accountant whose booze-fuelled life descends into chaos as he struggles to find a way of escaping his mundane job.
In some ways the books reflect the life of their author, who gave up life as an accountant at the Newcastle branch of Grant Thornton to join Middlesbrough video games developer Atomic Planet Entertainment as a finance director in 2002.
Mark, who jokingly says he was never confident with numbers, decided to quit his 23-year accountancy career after being involved in a near-fatal car accident on the A19 in Hartlepool in 2002.
He said: “After recovering from the crash, I thought to myself, I could be dead now. I realised that I had to make a major change to my life there and then.”
The saga, published by Cambridge-based Pegasus Elliot McKenzie, will begin with Dinner with Mandelson and will continue with Business Breakfast, Liquid Lunch and Sex for Supper. Mark, who will write the books under the name of John Ashton, has always thought about penning his own book but was finally inspired to do so over a drink. “I started writing after a conversation in a pub. The conversation went along the lines of ‘write one yourself or shut up’ so I did both; shut up and started writing,” he said.
Mark, who now lives near Stokesley in North Yorkshire, is unsure what he will do once he completes the saga, but one thing is for sure, he is ambitious. “I have discovered that I love to write and it would be fantastic to become the next JK Rowling. But without the need for a sex change,” he said.
When asked about the similarities between himself and the fictional anti-hero Thornton, Mark laughed: “Of course there are a number of comparisons that can be made between me and Grant. Saying that, although I like a drink, there’s no way I drink as much as him.”