Wellingborough novelist's debut book inspired by near-miss accident

The book will be released in November

Wednesday, 13th October 2021, 7:00 am

A debut novel by a Wellingborough man which is set for release next month was inspired by a near-miss accident that triggered the memory of a former neighbour.

Michael Whitworth's The Camel and the Butterfly tells the story of a Second World War veteran whose reputation as a hero is dented after an encounter with two thieves.

But the story was drawn from his own experiences from childhood and as a carer.

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Michael Whitworth

Michael, a former banker who stopped working to care for his son, was inspired by a near-miss he had in his car with an old man crossing the road.

He said: "He'd stepped out into the road and I was initially quite cross as he sauntered away as if nothing had happened. But he reminded me of an old man I used to know when I was a child - he sold nails and screws from a tiny shop near my house, and we all thought of him as odd.

"When he died, we found out that he'd been a scientist in his younger days and had helped to develop the bouncing bomb during the Second World War. Very few people knew about it and he had never mentioned it to us. He'd probably done more in his lifetime than the rest of us put together."

Michael used his encounter as a springboard for his imagination and created character 90-year-old Thomas Mirren who wants a simple life.

The Camel and the Butterfly

On his 90th birthday, while selling poppies, Thomas interrupts two shoplifters. To get back at him, they start a rumour that the former soldier had never served in the army and was just an old man pretending to be a hero.

The fictional story follows investigative journalist Ian Rogers as he searches for the truth.

Michael said: “When I received the email from Cahill Davis Publishing accepting my manuscript, I was delighted. To be published by a new, vibrant publishing house is a great feeling, and a validation of the many weeks and months of hard work.”

Cassandra Davis of Cahill Davis Publishing said: “I knew I had to sign The Camel and the Butterfly before I’d even finished reading it.

"The story is gripping from the beginning and makes you question just how much you actually know about the people you see around you every day.”

The Camel and the Butterfly will be released on November 8 and will be available in both paperback and eBook.