Author Rob Ashman (right) with accountant Alex Douglas.
It took 24 years to write his first novel – and just three to pen two more.
The death from asbestosis of Rob Ashman’s father Don triggered the urge to write seriously and his thriller trilogy is the result.
Rob (56), from Barrow upon Humber, said: “I had given up work for three months to look after my mum and dad when he fell ill. I guess writing was my coping strategy.
“The book took my mind off what was happening to him to a degree.
“It took me 24 years to write since coming up with the original idea. I’d messed about with it over the years, stuck it in the bin, then wrote some more and stuck that in the bin. This went on for years and years and drove my wife mad.
“After my dad had died and I finished the book my family read it and said it was really good and what was I going to do with it?”
The book, entitled Those that Remain, is set in Florida and is about a brutal serial killer, codenamed Mechanic. The killer has been presumed dead for three years but surfaces again and the murders continue.
Mechanic is always one step ahead and Lucas, the detective running the case, is forced to operate outside of the law with disastrous consequences. For the victims, being left alive is worse than being dead.
The novel, available as a paperback on Amazon and to download to a Kindle, has met with glowing five star reviews, which has delighted Rob.
“You never know whether people are going to enjoy it and I’ve been taken aback by the response since it was launched.
“I’ve written two more books to complete the trilogy. I’d not set out to do that, it kind of just happened.”
He had worked as a management consultant for KPMG but went self employed four years ago. That’s when he met RNS Chartered Accountants’ partner Alex Douglas.
“We immediately clicked,” said Rob. “While I am doing the writing I know my business arrangements are in good hands.
“I have absolute confidence in him. He is hugely patient and always makes himself available.”
One of the decisions Rob took was to self publish.
“I went down to London book fair and the agents and publishers I met were awful – I’m sure they are not all like that, but the ones I met were shocking. I came back and decided I could do it myself, with the right support.”
He launched the book late last year and, since then, it had been “a bit of a whirlwind”.
“Everything is new so it seems to take twice as long.”
He’s now well on with publishing the second of the Mechanic Trilogy.
“It’s with 17 BetaReaders, people I know and trust, for feedback. It’s a scary process.”
Originally from south Wales, Rob has lived in Barrow for the past 22 years.
“I left school at 16 and worked for the National Coal Board as an electrician for six years before I went to university at the age of 23.
Now writing full-time, he paid particular thanks to his family for their support. He and wife Karen have two daughters Gemma, who has just completed a masters degree in geology, and Holly, in her second year of reading Physics at Birmingham University.
The striking image on the front of the novel is Holly taken on a holiday in Lanzarote and subsequently put in the hands of a graphic designer.
“I’m delighted with it. We had this photograph taken by our friend Hannah Morton when we were away and it just sets the right tone for the book.
“I just want people to enjoy it and we’ll see what happens.”
Alex congratulated Rob on being a published author.
“Rob’s shown great faith and confidence in his writing,” said Alex. “I’m delighted he’s had early positive reviews which have encouraged him further.
“He’s a person with great passion and that’s important when you’re in business. You have to believe in what you’re doing. I wish him continued success in the future.”
Rob can be found on Twitter and Facebook at Rob Ashman Author, and can be contacted via email on firstname.lastname@example.org
Alex can be contacted at RNS on (01724) 842713.