An author whose catalogue of health problems uncovered new creative skills and a positive way of thinking has now self-published six eBooks.
Graham Jones, 55, lived in Buckingham for 20 years and one of his new stories – Memoirs Of A Buckingham Biker – is a semi-autobiographical account of life in the town.
But the former bricklayer, now living in Harpole, began writing after a debilitating spine condition in the 1990s forced him to explore a new career path.
He said: “Writing my own name used to be too much trouble but I just sat down and wrote 65,000 words, almost accidentally.
“It was when I had facet joint disease, for six years. Your confidence just sinks and I thought if I can’t use my hands creatively, I will use my mind.
“You go through life and you suffer set backs but it’s about finding a way around things. It’s a problem but I can still cope, I can still manage.
“I said to myself, I can’t be nothing, I have to be something.”
Mr Jones has published six eBooks, available through Amazon, iTunes and Lulu.com for less than £2, and has no intention of stopping after admitting he has surprised himself.
He said: “I put all the covers in frames the other day and I thought to myself not only have I conceived the idea, I have written it, edited it and designed the cover.
“If you had told me that a few years ago, I would have laughed.”
Mr Jones has battled with a number of health issues in recent years but has all the while remained optimistic about his setbacks and continued to write his stories with humour.
He even designs and paints the front covers of the eBooks with water colours and says his most inspirational moments can arrive when doing the plainest of tasks.
“I can’t stand very well at all,” Mr Jones said. “I have to use crutches and I’m waiting for a knee operation so I’m walking like a baboon.
“I’ve got asthma, I’m prone to clots and then there’s the angina. Breathing is a big issue.
“Because of my medication, sometimes the concentration isn’t there. You have to get some momentum and I like to be as productive as possible.
“But I like making the plot and I always put some humour in all that I do.
“Inspiration, strangely enough, comes when I’m washing up.
“Something pops into mind and you think ‘what if?’ and you’ve got to write it down straight away because it will never come back again.
“Your falling star is gone. It doesn’t matter how silly it sounds. You can turn it on its head, almost like a jigsaw piece and that might prove to be a vital part of a story.
“Sometimes the story itself tells you how it’s meant to go.”
His varied stories include an ‘unusual adventure through time and space’ in The Shadowed Tricorn, a ‘laugh out loud romp through the 1970s’ in Memoirs Of A Buckingham Biker and ‘small time crooks attempting a major heist’ in Robbery 4 All, based in Milton Keynes.
The Other Five Beds is about a friendship in hospital when a GP becomes a patient, Runes Of The Wiccan Rede is a light-hearted ghost story based in Scotland and Carrots, Peas and Runner Beans involves a pensioner’s fight with the council to open an allotment.
Mr Jones said: “The feedback for the biker book has come back mostly positive. One friend from Buckingham said ‘great, great, great, write more’.
“Another friend from the town sent me a message to say ‘I was up until 3am reading it’. She said it was very atmospheric and it took her back.
“I’m half way through the seventh. It’s about a casino owner in Northampton who’s not a nice person. His niece disappears and there’s a manhunt for a young barman who police think is responsible. They end up in an ice cave. It’s called Violin Strings and Piano Chords and will hopefully be ready before Christmas.
“Number eight is mapped out and ready to go. Number nine, I wrote the first two pages this morning. They just came to me.”