Three local writers who have got their books published

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Some months ago I wrote about the trials and tribulations of getting a book published. In spite of all the difficulties and the expense, you might be surprised to know that there are quite a few authors just in the Mansfield area alone, who have successfully seen their work in print and on sale. This month we feature just three of them.

Andy Parks, from Warsop, has written the first part of his autobiography “Just a Simple Seaman: an autobiography by no one famous”. He originally decided to put pen to paper for the benefit of friends and family, but the book was so well received that he tried to get it published and succeeded earlier this year.

Andy writes about his early years growing up in Wiltshire and remembers his schooldays, the hard winters, the long hot summers and the visits to his grandparents who lived in a coalmining town in Yorkshire. It came as a surprise to his parents when he announced that he intended to follow a career in the Merchant Navy.

Andy began his seafaring career with one of the oldest merchant shipping companies in the world, Brocklebanks. He goes on to describe his first long and eventful deep sea voyage and the book ends at the point where he meets Ruth, the love of his life

Andy Parks’ book is full of humour, anecdote, drama and some sadness. I thoroughly enjoyed it and look forward to the next instalment. It is available online.

Science teacher Jonathan Foster is author of “The Death Ray: the secret life of Harry Grindell Matthews”. Matthews was the inventor of the infamous “death ray” machine as well as the world’s first mobile phone, the automatic pilot, and much more. Following the success of this entertaining biography, Jonathan is now preparing to launch his next book about the inventor of the classic board game Cluedo.

Anthony Earnest Pratt was a musician who first had the idea of a murder mystery board game during the second world war whilst working in a munitions factory in Birmingham. Cluedo has been around for over 60 years and is now played in more than 40 countries, but Anthony Pratt never made much money from his game, as the manufacturers, Waddingtons, led him to believe that it wasn’t selling well.

Jonathan Foster has carried out extensive research for his book as well as conducting many interviews with the inventor’s daughter. There isn’t a firm publication date yet, but I for one am looking forward to reading it.

Last but not least is Roy Bainton, author of both fiction and non-fiction, poet, script writer, and much more. His two most recent publications are a book of poetry entitled Over the Hill, poems on a pension and The Mammoth Book of Unexplained Phenomena, which is due out in December or January 2013. Over the Hill is a collection of poems both humorous and more serious, all on the theme of growing old and includes a superb send- up of automated telephone answering services . Having been a regular contributor to the magazine “Fortean Times”, Roy is well qualified to be the author of a book on unexplained phenomena. His book explores UFOs, the paranormal, maritime mysteries, spiritualism and just about anything that has defied rational explanation. It also has a healthy dash of tongue-in-cheek humour. Copies of the book can be reserved by emailing Roy at

Recommended Read

“The Help” by Kathryn Stockett. Set in Jackson, Mississippi in 1962, when black and white people were segregated by law, this is the story of white Miss Skeeter, who with the help of two black maids, Aibileen and Minny, sets out to write a book about what life is like being a black maid in a white middle class household. Narrated by the three women in turn, this is a story of their brave attempt to fight racial prejudice. Un-put-downable.

Local Book of the Month

“Mansfield Town’s Most Memorable Matches”.

From a 9-2 win over Rotherham United way back in 1932 to the day when Rotherham beat the Stags resulting in relegation, via the victory in the Freight Rover Trophy in 1987, Stephen Thirkill describes 25 of Mansfield Town’s games to remember. Match reports from the Chad archives, interviews with players and spectators and match action photos all combine to make this a must for all Stags fans. It’s priced at £9.99 and is available from Chad reception.