When Shaun Baines, local gardener contacted us we assumed it would be – as it had been in the past – to advertise his gardening skills. We were delighted to find out however that it was for a different reason. Shaun informed us that his debut novel was due to be released. We obviously jumped at the chance to find out more.
Shaun: Back when I advertised in the Harton Handbook, I was a gardener. I could often be found in the gardens of South Tyneside, mowing lawns or cursing at weeds. My van was frequently in Cleadon while I was up a tree, worrying about how to get back down. In that time, I never once imagined I’d return to the Harton Handbook with this.
Woodcutter is my debut novel; a crime thriller set on the streets of the north-east. I wrote it in the Winter of 2016 from my damp cottage in Scotland. It is an isolated, rural area where cows outnumber people ten to one, and aren’t into making small talk, either. With not much else to do, I let my imagination fly. Inspired by Martina Cole and Sheila Quigley, with a dash of the master plot twister Jeffrey Deaver, Woodcutter is my answer to Newcastle noir.
On the run from his criminal family, Daniel Dayton returns home to Newcastle Upon Tyne when his abandoned daughter is attacked.
But his family have problems of their own. Targeted by a brutal mercenary, their empire is destined to be destroyed should Daniel refuse to help.
Betrayed by his parents. Despised by his brother. In love with his sister-in-law. Home has become a dangerous place to be.
Daniel wants his daughter safe. And he wants his revenge, but in the shadowy streets of Newcastle, things are never what they seem.
Woodcutter is about Geordie villains, gang feuds and one man’s fight to right a wrong. But it is about families too and finding the space between love and hate. For most of us, it’s our families we turn to for support, but if our love is betrayed – if our families become strangers – who do we turn to next?
So, I guess things have changed. I still garden. I won’t give that up until my knees give up on me. I grow my own fruit and vegetables. (You’ve heard it before, but they really do taste better.) My wife and I also adopt ex-battery hens and keep a cockerel, which I only regret at 4am when he wakes up crowing. We have three hives of honey bees and really slow broadband.
Woodcutter is published by Thistle Publishing and is available from Amazon as an e-book. It will be launched as a paperback on 7thJune 2018. To catch up with Shaun, he can be reached on his website shaunbaines.com or on Twitter @littlehavenfarm. He is represented by the Andrew Lownie Literary Agency.