It was after brain surgery that Terry Martin launched his writing career.
The 41-year-old from Morecambe had suffered fits caused by epilepsy diagnosed when he was seven years old.
Thankfully the operation helped him manage his epilepsy, but it also brought an unexpected additional bonus by unleashing his creative side.
Terry had enjoyed writing as a youngster and says the operation changed him somehow and made him reconnect with the writing he had loved so much as a child.
Now the former student at Lancaster’s Our Lady’s Catholic College, and Lancaster & Morecambe College, has signed a deal for his debut novel, Turtles on the Beach, to be published on both sides of the Atlantic.
After submitting his work to three publishers, he accepted an offer from Arena, a publisher of literary fiction based in Bury St Edmunds.
Terry said: “I can’t believe that I had interest from the first three publishers I approached.
“People spend a lifetime trying to get their work published.”
Starting with the Moscow Olympics, Turtles on the Beach – which took four years to write – is a romance that tells the story of the 1980s.
It is about the love affair between a Soviet athlete and an English journalist.
An important part of the plot is set locally.
Terry, who used to live on Marine Road East in Morecambe but has now made his home in Droylsden, said: “A very important scene of the book is set in Morecambe. In this chapter, they go for a walk along the prom and I mention the ‘Welcome to Lune Valley’ sign.
“They eat Christmas lunch in a restaurant that was inspired by VVV health club.
“I talk about the severe weather conditions at Christmas, the people that walk along the prom, and the view.
“It also goes on to give a vivid description of the Lake District. I actually take the reader on a walk around Windermere.”
A former computer programme, Terry now works as a freelance copywriter and is approaching the end of a degree in Creative Writing at Derby University. He is currently researching the link between creativity and temporal lobe epilepsy for his degree.
He also studied contemporary history at degree level which helped with research for his Eighties-set book .
As well as Ronald Reagan’s key speeches, the book covers the 1984 Ethiopian famine, Band Aid, Live Aid and other issues associated with Mrs Thatcher’s Britain.
Terry, whose parents still live on Westgate in Morecambe, also uses his epilepsy experiences in his novel in a bid to help others.
He said: “The book will be of interest to any carers of sufferers, as I describe a seizure from inside the mind of the protagonist.”
Turtles on the Beach is set to be released in the UK in May.
Terry said: “My book has now been typeset and we are designing the jacket.”
Look out for the book online and in stores.