A FORMER firefighter has been setting the literary world alight with a dramatic career change.

Graham Ashworth, aged 53, of Hawkshaw, was a fire officer for Greater Manchester Fire Service, based at Rochdale, and retired in September, 2009, after 30 years of service.

The talented writer said he had always had a love of storytelling and his retirement left him with time to explore his passion for writing.

Graham has now published his debut novel Man o’ the World and, not only has he impressed literature fans from across the UK and beyond, he has also amazed his family.

He said: “When I started writing, I kept it a secret from everyone and just got on with it, so it was quick a shock to my relatives when I told them what I’d done.”

“One day, my sister, Brenda Sutton, asked me for a book to read and I handed her a book and said “there you are”.

“She saw my name on the cover and reacted with astonishment. She couldn’t believe it.”

The book tells the tale of a 15-year-old boy in the 1960s, making his way through life in a northern town.

“I didn’t want to say which town because it has a tendency to get people questioning specific detail, so I kept it a mystery,” said Graham.

The bittersweet story takes readers up to the present day as the lead character reaches the grand old age of 68.

Graham said: “It started because a couple of years ago I was telling some funny stories to my family and it got me wondering if anyone had written these stories down.

“I googled it to check and it turned out that no one had, so I began writing.”

Graham said 99 per cent of the feedback to the book has been positive and the tricks of the trade he has picked up in recent months have spurred him on to write more books.

He added: “It has been a really positive experience and I’m learning new things all the time.”

The book is available from amazon.co.uk for £5.99 plus postage.

For more details: visit manotheworld.com