Teesside University graduate writes novel set in Hartlepool

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A graduate of Teesside University, Paul Hichens has written his first novel – a crime thriller set in his hometown in the North East.

Since graduating from the University of Teesside in 1997 with a Masters in Information Technology, Paul has discovered his passion for writing.

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After publishing a number of successful non-fiction career guides, Paul turned to creative writing and published his first novel, Butcher Boy Blue, featuring a Tees Valley protagonist.

Set in Hartlepool, the story follows 19-year-old Mo who finds himself in a world of trouble when he becomes embroiled in multiple murders.

Hartlepool – the setting of the novel

With no alibi and all the evidence pointing to him, the action-packed plot unfolds with Mo becoming entangled in mountains of chaos – à la Victor Meldrew – as the clock ticks and the net closes.

Paul was thrilled to release the novel, which he says lasted five years thanks to the twists and turns of the story and his determination to bring something new to the detective genre.

He said: “Butcher Boy Blue was in the works for a long time, mainly because I was very ambitious with the style, the plot and the twisted big plot.

“Designing all the puzzles, mystery and suspense was a big challenge, but not as much as having to find answers for each poser and then weave it all together. To achieve this, I had to go into detective mode myself.

“Fortunately, I enjoyed challenging myself and enjoyed solving what was actually a five-year-old puzzle.”

Paul added: “I’ve lived in a variety of places including London, Greece, Scotland and the French Alps, but I’ve always found that all roads lead to the northeast. Also, a hero from my hometown is long overdue.

“Now that the novel is finally out, there’s a little touch of pride, but my overwhelming feeling is still mostly surprise at having achieved what I set out to do.

“My main hope is not for fame, fortune or commercial success, but simply that readers will like the book and be very happy to read it.”

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Butcher Boy Blue takes its place among Paul’s published work, which includes guides aimed at helping people build successful careers, such as The One-Page Resume, which is published by Pearson.

Paul’s creative talents also extend to songwriting, as he composed and performed a song, titled Blueboy, inspired by his crime novel.

Writing the song, Paul said, “I didn’t realize I had a creative bone in my body until my friend let me play his guitar when I was about 21. Finding out that I could do tunes, lyrics and songs was a wonderful surprise.

“It’s unusual, I know, but I tend to write songs about people and things I’m passionate about, so writing Blueboy felt like the natural thing to do.”

Paul is currently writing a book outlining his experience working on Butcher Boy Blue, which he hopes will provide advice and guidance for existing and aspiring writers, as well as new insights into the behind-the-scenes world of writing books. ‘a novel.

The crime thriller is available for purchase on Amazon.

To listen to Blueboy, visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-a73ZXCRNik

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