IT’S a tale of pies, pints of mild and bitterly cold nights at Knowsley Road much-loved by rugby league aficionados - but doesn’t usually top a Hollywood A-lister’s reading list.
Not so BAFTA-winning actor Mickey Rourke who became hooked on Geoff Lee’s novel One Winter after he was given a copy by ex-Saints stars Keith Mason and Scott Moore during a visit to London back in 2009.
Mr Lee, a retired draughtsman turned novelist, learnt about his unlikely celebrity fan through his friendship with Mason’s father.
The 73-year-old said: “After Mickey Rourke became friends with Keith Mason and Scott Moore he became interested in rugby league.
“One of them told Mickey about my novels and, before I knew it, Keith Mason’s dad had contacted me to ask for a few copies to pass on to him.
“I’m told Mickey read the books and enjoyed them - although he didn’t necessarily understand all the Lancashire humour!”
One Winter forms part of a series of books about the fictional town of Ashurst, which is based almost entirely on St Helens.
Published in 1998, it is set in the bitter winter of 1962/63 and quickly became a cult hit among rugby league lovers.
Mr Lee added: “Pinewood Studios kept hold of my book One Winter for more than two years too. They said it was ‘a lovely read’ but were just unable to find a production company to take it on.”
His latest work, Two Seasons, focuses on rugby in 2002 and 2003 and uses the dawn of the war in Iraq as a backdrop to tells the story of two years in the lives of a number of semi-fictional characters.
g The author is set to sign copies in the Wardleworths book shop between 11am and 1pm on Saturday, July 20.