Audenshaw blogger releases first self-published book
Monday 7th November 2016 @ 14:35 by Adam Higgins
Ashton Community Denton & Audenshaw News

An amateur blogger from Audenshaw has taken his hobby to new heights by writing and self-publishing a children’s book about Christmas with a difference.

Chris Hewitt, who works in Stores, Receipt and Distribution at Tameside Hospital, released his 178-page book ‘Saving Christmas’ last month.

It’s aimed at children aged between seven and 10 but, if the positive reviews on Amazon are anything to go by, adults appear to be enjoying it as well.

It was the 34-year-old’s first attempt at self-publishing but, for about a year, he has written a spoof blog all about Manchester for an older audience, https://themanchesterinsider.com/.

In June, his blog post about Nando’s closing all its restaurants if Britain left the European Union went viral – with over one million readers in 48 hours, its own Twitter hashtag and national media headlines to boot.

And Chris said this was the catalyst to motivating him to complete his debut book – which has been a few years in the making.

He told the Reporter: “I’ve always had a wild imagination and have written things for years now so I thought why not look into writing a book.

“I started working on the book about four years ago and have written different variations in that time but, with work and everything else, I’ve only been able to work on it sparingly.

“But it really came when the Nando’s blog post went viral, which was ridiculous because for two days it was just mental and everywhere. At that point I set myself a deadline for finishing the book and managed to do it.”

The book throws together an unexpected mix of magic, mayhem and Cheese & Onion crisps as the festivities take a turn for the worse for a town with Tameside connections – and Chris explained where the unusual inspiration and ideas stemmed from.

“It’s about a little fictitious town called Windmore which has a town square that is reminiscent of Ashton,” he said.

“They find out Santa Claus is refusing to visit to their town, so a 10-year-old girl, the town mayor and Blitzen the reindeer took the reins to deliver the presents instead but a magician who hates Christmas sets out to stop them. I won’t give away the ending!”

“I was watching a compensation advert you see a lot on daytime TV where people claim for the most ridiculous things like tripping up on a pavement. With Christmas coming up I thought what would happen if Santa failed to deliver presents because of a damaged roof and it grew from there.

“I used my best mate’s pregnant daughter as inspiration as she was exactly how I imagined the character to be.

“I began writing when the Twilight series were still big so I didn’t want to go with the name Bella but Sophia is very happy she’s in the book. She’s since moved to America and has developed the American accent but I’ve kept her as being English!”

Since its release at the start of October, almost 100 copies of ‘Saving Christmas’ – which has 20 small chapters and no pictures – have been sold online.

Two primary schools are already reading the book, while others are interested – and Chris is delighted that people are getting behind it.

“Low and behold, there has been a decent reaction from people who are interested and have been receptive on social media which I’m pleased about,” he said.

“Nine people have left a comment and a 62-year-old grandmother said the book reminds her of being a kid which was a nice thing to say.

“I’m no Roald Dahl but the book isn’t super childish so it has the potential to reach different people but it’s about getting the word out.”

Always a keen reader, Chris has several authors who have inspired him and hopes to continue on his writing path to explore different genres and audiences, as well as keeping up his blog.

“It’s what I wanted to do when I was younger but I never really pursued it. Ideally I’d want to do it as a career one day but we’ll see what happens,” he added.

“Almost everyone has read some Roald Dahl during their childhood but, if there was one, it would be Anthony Horowitz.

“He’s written a lot of children’s books and screenplays and I read the Alex Ryder and Diamond Brother series which were brilliant. Robert Rankin also wrote a sci-fi series about super crazy goings-on, set in Brentford, which is like my blog.

“My blog is aimed at adults really as they have some choice language and is something different but I hope the opportunity comes in the future where I can explore other styles.

“I just write joke stories about things in and around Manchester, usually around 400 words, but they have fooled a lot of people on Facebook.

“Last Christmas, I wrote that the council had booked a German rock band instead of a German choir for the Manchester lights switch-on and everyone was outraged thinking it was true!”

Like any professional author, Chris has already made a start on his next book and, although he is keeping his cards close to his chest, gave some clues as to what it’s about.

“As it’s that time of year it will have a Halloween based theme and be set in Audenshaw where I’ve lived all of my life so hopefully people I know who live there can relate to it.”

You can read Chris’s book ‘Saving Christmas’ which is on sale in paperback on Amazon for £4.59.