Author wrote sci-fi aventure on his tedious daily commuute

Author Ninian Carter with his new book.

Author Ninian Carter with his new book. - Credit: Archant

A St Neots man who decided to put the time spent on his daily commute to good use has just had his first book published.

Ninian Carter works as a graphic artist in London and travels from his home in Berkley Street, in Eynesbury, to King’s Cross each day and decided to start writting in order to relieve the tedium and frustration of his train journey.

“There were frequent delays and the journey was often miserable so I started working on an old book idea that I had about 10 years ago - I figured it might be fun even if I never finished it,” he said

The book called Billy Twigg and the Storm of Shadows, which he describes as a “genre-blurring sci-fi, adventure” is aimed at young adults and is partly set in a fictitious Cambridgeshire town.

Ninian, who lives with his partner Gemma and has two children aged three and six months, wrote the 100,000-word book on a smartphone during the 90-minute train ride, five days a week, for 46 weeks of the year, over a three-year period.

“Having young children meant there simply wasn’t time to write it at home at the weekends or during holidays so the time I had commuting was my only avenue.”

When it was finished, Ninian, aged 47, entered an online writing competition organised by Amazon.

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“It runs constantly with a couple hundred books vying for attention at any given time. It’s free to enter. If you win, and your book is chosen after 30 days of public voting, you receive a contract with Amazon’s own publishing arm, Kindle Press, who then market it for their Kindle devices and apps. I paid to have my manuscript professionally proof read and entered the contest at the end of last October, not expecting anything to come of it. In early December, I heard I’d won and my book had actually won an Amazon publishing deal.”

Since then, Ninian has received an advance his manuscript has been tweaked, edited and formatted and is now available on Amazon as a Kindle book.

He has also written 25,000 words of a sequel and is aiming to have the sequel out in 2018. He says he also has some ideas for a final book, which he hopes may be out in 2020.

“I know how the whole story ends. It’s going to be quite unusual, shocking even.”