John has completed the first draft of his new novel, The Worst Journey In The World and is hoping to release it later this year.
The novel is set on an anti-submarine frigate during World War Two.
The title of the novel comes from a quote by Winston Churchill when describing the Arctic Convoys, where Allied shipping travelled through severe weather conditions to Murmansk and Archangel in order to deliver vital cargoes to the Soviet Union. Not only did they suffer at the hands of the extreme forces of nature, they were hunted by the Luftwaffe and German surface ships and U-boats.
He got the inspiration to write this novel after meeting a veteran of the convoys, Bill Halliwell, who served as a telegraphist on HMS Bazely during the war. John was introduced to him in November 2015 by his high school English teacher, Joyce Holden, at an event at Wigan Museum where Bill was giving a presentation to local school children.
Picture below, author on right with Bill and Joyce:
The novel centres on a young man from Liverpool, George Martin, an apprentice at a print works in the city. He is drafted into the Royal Navy and assigned to the ship HMS Virtuous, taking part in the Malta convoys, before providing escort duties to the Soviet Union. He endures the harsh reality of war, whilst at the same time pondering his uneasy relationship with the mysterious Glenda, the girl he has left behind.
Although the novel is a work of fiction, the experiences George goes through are based on actual accounts of sailors who served on the convoys.
John is hoping to release the novel within the next few months.