A born and bred Penrith man has published his first book at the age of 71.
Mick Martin’s debut novel, Hitchhike to Murder, is a coming of age story centred on two teenagers who go on holiday to an Elvis Presley convention in Leicester and become embroiled in a series of events which put their lives in danger.
“I was totally gobsmacked by the response,” said Mick.
“There has been an overwhelming positive feedback on social media and on the Amazon marketplace, with the book receiving five-star reviews.”
Based on a trip Mick and his best friend took in 1968, the settings from the book are drawn straight from the author’s own experiences.
The main characters come from Penrith and the first chapter is set in the WHSmith store which used to occupy the premises now filled by the Skipton Building Society.
Since his trip, Mick joined the Army for 22 years, followed by a stint with Cumbria police at Carleton Hall.
Other than an occasional article for the Army’s internal publication and his diary, he barely wrote anything.
However, he always had a novel in the back of his mind and while out running one day the plot formed in his mind.
While training for a marathon, which he ran on his 70th birthday, he fleshed out the story and after “another couple of mental blocks” he had completed his first novel by last March.
After one or two rewrites, the book was published on March 20 and is available as a paperback or as an ebook from Amazon.
Mick describes it as “a gripping thriller with both dramatic and comic elements”.
Mick did admit to drinking too much spiced rum to calm his nerves when the book was released, but this turned out to be unnecessary as he was quickly inundated with congratulatory messages through social media.
He even joked that if his friends made fun of him for the book he might have to stay in self-authorised lockdown for the rest of his life.
His fears were unfounded though, as the first person to read his book could not put it down and read it in one sitting.
When asked if he was planning a sequel, Mick said: “The seeds are there, but I’m getting too old for all this. It took me 50 years to write the first one!”