To many, Cleckheaton’s literary heritage starts and finishes at Mr Men author Roger Hargreaves – until now.
Local man Martin Webster has just finished his first novel, and is looking to make waves in the literary world.
His book, A Girl Called Blessing, is a coming-of-age tale of a young girl living in Africa who is pursued by a murderous warlord called Daddy Chop Chop.
Although it is his first novel, Martin is no stranger to the literary world, having written poems for many years – even holding an ‘instant poetry’ stand at this year’s Cleckheaton Folk Festival, when he wrote on-the-spot poems for punters.
His latest offering, however, has been a labour of love that came from unusual beginnings.
He said: “I got the idea for this novel when I looked at a list of people who were at a conference that I visited – and I noticed the name ‘Blessing’ on the list. It got me wondering about how somebody would get that name – and it just went from there.
“Basically, I had a strong character in mind for the book, and I’m sure lots of authors will tell you that the more you know your character, the easier the novel becomes to write.
“I had to do some research, and I spoke to a lot of people I know who have lived and worked in parts of Africa, but a lot of it is also through my real-life interactions with people.
“I would put names of people I knew in the book too, and would always be asking people whether they wanted to be a ‘goodie’ or a ‘baddie’!”
The novel is currently available as an e-book, and Martin said the book has been well-received so far.
He said: “Even though I have never been to Africa myself, many of my friends who had lived there could not believe I hadn’t.
“They said that I wrote very vividly about the continent.”
A Girl Called Blessing is available on Amazon.