Hartlepool author battles through depression to celebrate publication of his first book
An intriguing story of a witch, a ghost and an alien has been brought to vivid life by a Hartlepool author.
Writer Gary Baker has celebrated the publication of his first book at the age of 52 achieving a life-long dream.
He wrote fantasy fiction entitled Yes Son over the course of a year while dealing with long-term mental health problems including depression.
Gary, who previously worked for a housing regeneration company, got the idea for the story while volunteering in Hartlepool at not-for-profit organisation Kyle’s Dream.
He helped others with film making and script writing at Kyle’s Dream which develops people’s confidence, self-belief and self-esteem through the creative arts.
Gary said: “It took a year to write due to my long term mental health problems including depression. I am open about this as I hope it will rid the stigma of it.
“The book being published is a life time’s dream and I’m 52 years of age. One to tick off the bucket list.
"I really enjoyed writing it. The book is unique as it has a witch, a ghost and an alien in it.
"It is set inside Saint Lawrence Church in the sleepy village of Bibury, in the Cotswolds, and also mentions The Catherine Wheel pub.
“But the story and characters are totally fictitious. I’ve never been to the Cotswolds or Australia, so it was very challenging.”
Dawn McManus, one of the founders of Kyle’s Dream, named after her late son, did all of the illustrations for the book.
Yes Son tells the story of Madeleine, an Australian woman whose life is shattered when she is jilted by her rich sailor fiancé Jake.
She plans to rob a bank in her desire for luxuries and to help out her poor sister.
But her plans are scuppered when she becomes wanted for murder and travels to the quiet Cotswolds where she hides out inside a haunted church.
Gary, who was born in Ashington, Northumberland, has also written a screenplay of the story.
Published by Austin Macauley, Yes Son is aimed at readers aged 15 plus.
It is available from the publishers online through garrybaker.ampbk.com, from Amazon in paperback and ebook, and can be ordered from most book shops including Waterstones.