Author's debut book at 89
PUBLISHED: 17:15 01 April 2009 | UPDATED: 11:30 12 August 2010
AN 89-YEAR-OLD man, who can no longer write after a fall left him paralysed down one side, is having his first novel published. Widower Alan Watts from West Wickham first penned his novel The North Wind Doth Blow 30 years ago, but only found it again las
AN 89-YEAR-OLD man, who can no longer write after a fall left him paralysed down one side, is having his first novel published.
Widower Alan Watts from West Wickham first penned his novel The North Wind Doth Blow 30 years ago, but only found it again last winter when he was going through some old papers.
Three years ago he suffered a brain haemorrhage, but his passion for creative writing has not subsided and he dictates much of his work for his daughter Fleur Hogarth to type.
The retired civil servant's book, which is to be published by Athena Press this month, is set in a cotton mill town in 1815 shortly after the Battle of Waterloo.
He said: "It is a historical novel.
"It is very much like today with the recession and that is what the story is about.
"It is about when work isn't available and people get restless and start up trouble."
The prolific writer, who now lives in Glebe Court Nursing Home in West Wickham, only found the manuscript again shortly before Christmas.
He said: "It was rather like Sir Walter Scott with Waverley. He mislaid it and found it when he was looking for some fishing tools and thought 'this isn't bad at all'.
"I am very pleased. The publishers read it and gave an interesting report on it and made me feel this is worth it."
The father-of-two, originally from Middlesbrough, spent most of his working life as a civil servant in the Department of Employment in Liverpool.
He was involved in drafting the highly controversial Industrial Relations Bill which was passed in 1971 and later repealed by the Labour government in 1974.
The Act restricted Trade Union rights and led to strikes by dock workers and miners.
Mr Watts said: "I thought that Sir Geoffrey Howe was a brilliant chap. He was the brains behind the Bill.
"It was a very interesting for me because it was like a writing job. I would have to write speeches for these people.
"A lot of the speeches I worked on were said in the House of Commons.
"Harold Wilson was very interested in me. I reminded him of someone. He kept looking at me and colleagues asked why Mr Wilson was attracted to me."
The grandfather has written several books on Charles Dickens, one with the author's great grandson - Cedric Dickens called The Sayings of Charles Dickens.
His latest book's ISBN number is 978-1-84748-439-5 and will be available to order from most bookshops as well as at www.amazon.co.uk.