David Hatton turned to the world of pyschics for his second novel. He tells Fiona Finch how he fulfilled his ambition to be a published writer after turning 30 and why his book should give both sceptics and believers pause for thought.
David Hatton placed his writing ambitions mostly on hold for two decades, after a promising start as a storyteller at junior school.
It was when the former Preston schoolboy reached the age of 30 he decided it was time to seriously apply himself to creating two novels.
David, now 31 and a recruitment manager for Sainsbury’s supermarkets, recalled his love of writing began as a pupil at St Andrew’s primary school in Ashton: “It was what inspired me to write to be honest. My teacher at the time used to read my stories out every week in class and when I left I said if I ever write a book I’ll send her a copy and I kept that promise.”
The first of his two self-published novels, ‘The Return’, about an insurance scam following the 9/11 attacks in New York, came out last year. It is about a man who returns 10 years after faking his death in 9/11. His shocked wife must navigate how will she tell her children and how will she face those who supported her through her grief.
Extensive research for the novel included speaking to those with clear recollections of the panic of 9/11. David has his own recollections of that day too: “I was at school and I remember the teacher walking in and saying something terrible has happened today and the world is going to be changed forever.”
He also drew on his own experiences of living in America and visits to New York.
David attended Archbishop Temple school in Fulwood before studying tourism at Runshaw College in Leyland and Leeds Met (now Beckett) university.
He spent a year working as an intern in the hotel industry in Chicago: “While I was there I started blogging about my experiences. The year in Chicago was brilliant, absolutely incredible and I set some of 'The Return' there. ”
With time to fill before he started his hotel shifts he began to work on his ideas for the novels and continued “picking them up over the years” but said: ”I’m glad I waited.. it made me realise a 20 year old has no idea what a 30 year old thinks!”
His second novel ‘The Medium’, about a man approached by a medium who claims to know the whereabouts of his missing wife, was published in June: “I generally write about places I know and ‘The Medium ‘is set in Manchester where I’ve spent the last eight years.”
It also includes a Preston link: “One of the characters completes a charity sleepover at Chingle Hall, a place I remember being famously haunted as a child and once visited. It provided the perfect atmosphere for this spooky book.”
David, who now lives in Horwich with partner David, says his interest in the subject was sparked watching TV stars such as illusionist and mentalist Derren Brown and shows featuring lmediums: “I grew up watching these people on TV and I’m fascinated how they interact with audiences.”
As part of his research he went to see a medium in action at a major Manchester theatre: “As much as she was interesting it was the people who went to see her who were the most fascinating."
He continued: “The work of psychics was simply a backdrop to the real story of ‘The Medium’ which was about deception, devotion and how even those with closed minds on either side of an argument can lose sight of what’s important.
“I did a lot of reading before I wrote that book. I read about what other people get from having that message and how it can bring people closure, so I hope it’s quite a balanced book. I’m agnostic so I’m open to beliefs but not quite there myself yet.”
The writing gets done at weekends and he writes and rewrites: “I dedicate Sunday afternoons to it. My partner is usually doing driving lessons or at the gym. I get a few hours to myself and I keep a little notebook through the week and jot ideas down so by the time Sunday comes I’ve got a few pages prepared.”
He now has a proof reader to assist him and said: “I’ve sold a few hundred (books) so far ... not enough to retire. I would love to be a full time writer. "
* David will be speaking at this summer’s Stonyhurst Literature and Film Festival on Friday, August 16 at 3pm about his book and 9/11 fiction.
Both novels are available to buy now on Amazon as paperbacks or on Kindle.