A debut novel by former Richmond and Twickenham Times editor Paul Mortimer has been launched.

Paul spent two years working on his book, a crime fantasy thriller based in America, and both hard copies and Kindle versions of the novel, called Ravenhart, have now gone on sale through Amazon.

He said: “It’s very exciting to get to this point after all the work I’ve carried out in researching and writing the novel."

His story is set in Portland, Maine, where Paul visited the Portland Herald Press daily newspaper on a fact-finding mission back in 2005.

He added: “When thinking about the setting for Ravenhart, Portland just clicked for me. Once I’d decided that, I spent a lot of time looking into the city, looking carefully at its layout, the environs and learning about various key departments and the way they operate.

“But I didn’t want this to be a run-of-the-mill crime novel though, so there are twists in this that take the story in a very unexpected direction.”

Richmond and Twickenham Times:

After spending 42 years in journalism, eventually becoming editor of weekly newspapers first in Staffordshire and then at the Richmond and Twickenham Times in 2003, Paul retired and moved to Tiverton, Devon almost four years ago. Since then he has been working as a writer.

He said: “I’ve had the idea for the novel tucked away in a notebook for some time. Two years ago I plugged into the National Novel Writing Month, which is run online every November, and the aim basically is to write 50,000 words in the month.

“I did that and then felt it was worth developing further, which I did over the next few months. Then it was picked up by a publisher which was a great breakthrough.”

Paul is a member of the eight-strong Juncture 25 performing poets group which in the past 18 months has appeared at a number of literary festivals in the south-west including Porlock, Taunton, Exeter, Wivelsicombe and Cheltenham. The group had an anthology published last year. Paul has also performed solo in Torquay, Exeter and Taunton.

Now there are other things in the pipeline both on the poetry and novel front.

He said: “A poetry publishing house is showing interest in publishing a collection of mine, which would be a great breakthrough for me and I do have a couple of other novel ideas on the backburner. Juncture 25 also has some work coming up. We’ve just been booked for the Purbeck Literary Festival in February which is a bit of a coup.”