IT is the advice given to all aspiring novelist: Write about what you know.
But one writer has turned that age-old wisdom completely on it head!
Chris Sandford began work on his debut novel about a troubled youngster suffered from mental health problems in 2005.
But work on Four Fathers had to be shelved two years later when the author himself was struck down with depression and anxiety.
“They do say ‘write about what you know’ but I hadn’t experienced mental health issues when I started writing it - perhaps it was my sub-conscious’s way of telling me there was a problem,” said Chris, of Porteath Way, Windle.
The book charts two brothers as they both struggle to cope with mental health issues.
Written in first-person narrative inspired by American writer Brett Easton Ellis, Four Fathers is a darkly humorous exploration of two lives blighted by abusive and mental breakdown.
Chris, 33, worked as a finance manager at a Manchester theatre but always harboured ambitions of becoming a writer.
He said: “I’d just completed a degree in creative writing - where I wrote most of Four Fathers - and took the job thinking I could earn some money and work in a creative environment but it didn’t turn out like that.”
However, Chris’ ambitions were put on hold in 2007 when he was diagnosed with depression and anxiety.
He said: “I got to know Mark Swift from the Wellbeing Project and told him about my writing.
“He put me in touch with someone at Chipmunka Publishing and it went from there.”
Since Chris’ diagnosis, he became involved in a sports group for people with mental health issues.
But when the group had its funding stopped during last year’s cuts, Chris stepped up to become the group’s leader.
Neutral Ground meet on Mondays at 3pm for football at Five Indoor Sports Centre on Ravenhead Road and Thursdays for badminton at 2.30pm at the Peter Street Centre.
n For more details about Four Fathers - which is out now - visit www.chipmunkapublishing.com More details about Neutral Ground from 07766275577.