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South Shields crime writer bases first novel in home town

Author Shaun Baines, originally from South Shields, has had his first novel, Woodcutter, published.
Author Shaun Baines, originally from South Shields, has had his first novel, Woodcutter, published.

An author who originates from South Shields has had his first novel published.

Shaun Baines’ book Woodcutter uses real life locations from the novelist’s life living near Ocean Road and then Harton.

The cover of Woodcutter, by Shaun Baines, formerly of South Shields.

The cover of Woodcutter, by Shaun Baines, formerly of South Shields.

He used to run a gardening business, but in 2016 decided to go in search of the ‘good life’ and moved to Lockerbie, in the Scottish Borders, where he penned the book.

“I wrote Woodcutter in the winter of 2016 and was lucky to be picked up by my agent David Haviland of the Andrew Lownie Literary Agency, who then got me published through Thistle Publishing,” said Shaun.

“It’s been a dizzying ride, but with my agent’s support, I’ve scraped by with my sanity intact. Well, some of it.

“This is my first novel to be published and the first one I wrote to completion.

“There have been a few aborted attempts along the way, mainly when I was a wistful teenager exorcising my teenage angst. It wasn’t until I developed a taste for crime fiction that I began thinking of being a writer.

Shaun added that like most authors, he started by “staring out of the window”.

“I live in a rural community where the cows outnumber people ten-to-one. Opposite my home is a dairy farm and I wondered what they thought of a couple of Sand-Dancers moving in next door. Perhaps they thought we were fugitives on the run and Woodcutter was born,” he said.

“Woodcutter has been published to terrific reviews, but I continue to garden. I love being outdoors and I’m privileged to be able to do it in such a picturesque area. I miss South Shields very much. Writing about my home town is my way of being close to it.”

The book follows gangster Daniel Dayton as he hides from his criminal family in the Scottish Borders. But when his daughter is hurt, he returns to Newcastle to find the person responsible. Meanwhile, his family’s empire is being dismantled by a mysterious enemy and they need Daniel on their side.

Daniel chases his enemies through the streets of South Shields, many of which are real life locations.

He added: “When I’m not working, which is rarely, I adopt ex-battery chickens, keep bees and grow my own fruit and veg.”

Woodcutter is available as both an e-book and paperback, and Shaun can be found at shaunbaines.com or on Twitter as @littlehavenfarm.