A RADICAL change of writing style has helped author David Williams make fresh waves in the literary world.
Now his first novel has reached the semi-finals of an international awards scheme even before it has gone on general release in Britain. A fascination with late-night radio phone-ins, which crystallised in his mind one evening as he drove home, provided the inspiration for the 59-year-old to write his dark and edgy thriller, 11:59.
Despite it being his first attempt at the thriller genre, the book made it to the final 50 in the 2010 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards, which attracted 10,000 entries worldwide.
It has also been highly praised by Publisher’s Weekly, which described the author as a “near cinematic stylist”.
11:59, which contains adult themes and is set in an unnamed North East city, is due to be released next month by Wild Wolf Publishing, who are specialists in the darker side of fiction.
For Mr Williams, who lives with his wife Paula in Hexham, Northumberland, the novel is a departure from his characteristic gentle style, as shown in his popular short story collection We Never Had It So Good.
The Ashington-born miner’s son started writing in the mid-1970s while working as a teacher at Ridley High School in Blyth.
He went on to have plays broadcast by the BBC, write books for young people published in Britain, Australia, Germany and Scandinavia, and earn credits as a writer and format creator for several TV and radio quiz and game shows. The central character in 11:59 is a local radio phone-in host, Marc Niven, who fails to grasp the significance of a mysterious Valentine message left by one of his callers, and is drawn into the city’s dark and secret places as he tries to make amends for his error.
Mr Williams said: “This is my first journey down the thriller road and it has proved quite a ride.
“I’ve always liked the notion of late-night radio phone-ins.
“One evening I thought to myself, what if someone called in and left this particular message. It was just something that popped into my head as I was driving home and my imagination started to work on the repercussions and where it would take us.
“I liked the idea of writing a thriller for my first novel because it is a genre I have never written in before. I was just waiting for an idea to trigger it off.
“I was thrilled that the book reached the semi-finals of the Amazon awards, and also that so many American readers endorsed it.
“I do relish variety in my work. Since completing 11:59 I have been working on a novel about the railway pioneers, George and Robert Stephenson, which has meant a lot of research and requires a very different writing voice.”
11:59 is set for release on July 1, price £9.99 in bookshops and online stores, or direct from the publisher at www.wildwolfpublishing.com