Until May of this year, John Walker Pattison had worked as a clinical nurse specialist in hematology at South Tyneside District Hospital, after a period of work at the Redhead Shipyard while still operational.
He finally called it a day this year due to pandemic pressures and lingering breathing problems from radiation and chemotherapy he had decades ago to treat lymphoma.
After spending much of the pandemic writing children’s fiction, Mr Pattison set out to see through the publication of his first story, in which he stars alongside his three-year-old grandson Daniel. years.
“Strange Trips and Weird Adventures” was released on Wednesday, June 30 and is now available to order.
Of what inspired Mr. Pattison to write the story, he said: “When it comes to my grandchildren, I have always been what I would call a ‘typical grandfather’, in the as I have always been very elastic with the truth.
“So I would always tell the grandchildren that I was in SAS, that I swam across the Atlantic Ocean in one day, that I climbed Everest – all those kinds of things, you know.
“And then when Daniel, our grandson, arrived, I wanted to put it all down on paper. It was also kind of influenced by the pandemic, as well as my poor health.
“That’s right from there that it developed – ‘Strange Trips and Weird Adventures’ became exactly that.”
The retiree is now looking to visit his work and bring the joy of reading and storytelling to classrooms across the region once Covid restrictions allow.
He also spoke of the difficulties in securing the support of a publisher, as well as preparing the manuscript – which he wrote by hand – for submission when much of the industry has undergone a digital transition.
“The Word is going to invite me to do workshops and readings in October,” said Pattison.
“I have also written to a few schools and to anyone who really wants to listen. I am more than happy to travel.
“Finding a publisher was difficult – much like with JK Rowling, there was a lot of refusal before somewhere agreed to do it.
“The stories were all handwritten – I’m a dinosaur with technology. Writing it down was the easiest part. But, with proofreading and preparation, before sending it to the editors, I had to enlist the help of my sister-in-law – who helped to format it spellingly and grammar.
Mr Pattison is also working on other titles in the series, two of which – titled “Blenkinsop Blabbermouth and the Ghost of Captain Broderick McCaffery” and “Splodge City’s Fastest Water Gun” – have already been completed.
Copies of “Strange Trips”, which were published by the Austin Macauley Ltd publishing house, are currently on sale at the Word Center in South Shields.
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