Chance meet led to novel

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FOR MANY people retirement is a time to forget about work and enjoy the finer things in life.

But former psychiatric social worker Alan Dickens does not think so.

The 70-year-old from Haydock Way, Market Rasen, is celebrating the publication of his second novel Hell in Hawaii 2012 – a tale about disaster looming for the USA as terrorists demanding Hawaiian independence threaten to destroy the US fleet in Pearl Harbor.

Alan was inspired to write the book after a chance meeting on a trip to Hawaii three years ago.

He said: “I was on a cruise in Hawaii and I met and English man manning a stall. I asked him if there was quite a strong independence movement and he said yes. And just like that I was inspired to write a book.

“When you retire it’s very important that you maintain your interests because it can be easy to let yourself go.

“The outline for the book came to me quite quickly but the writing of the book took a little longer.”

Alan wrote the book with Tunbridge Wells-based author Trevor Barton – a retired Ministry of Defence weapons expert who was also looking for a fresh challenge.

Alan said: “I met Trevor on a cruise heading to Australia and New Zealand. We got talking and he was looking for something to keep himself busy so agreed to help me out with the weapons expertise for the book.

“The book features weapons that have not yet been built but could potentially be made.”

But the book has a softer side too. Alan said: “I added a love story to the plot, which took a long time to do – I had to cast my mind back a lot of years.”

It took Alan three years to complete the book, writing every day from 6am to 8pm. He said: “I needed to discipline myself and I didn’t want my writing to get in the way of family life.

“It’s a wonderful feeling to have finished the book – it feels like such an achievement. A cardboard box arrived with my books in and I ripped it open like it was Christmas.”

Alan’s first novel, Churchill’s Darkest Fear, was published in 2008. This book was about a successful German invasion of Britain, Churchill’s humiliation and need for American intervention.

Alan says he will be writing another book but the plot is top secret at the moment.

Hell in Hawii 2012 by Alan Dicken and Trevor Barton published by Diadem Books and is available to buy on the Amazon website for £6.