Saffron Walden County High teacher has second crime thriller published

10:22 07 August 2014

Paul Gitsham

Paul Gitsham


By day he is a biology teacher at Saffron Walden County High. But Paul Gitsham has an alter ego – a crime fighting detective brought to life in a series of books.

The 37-year-old has just published his latest novel, No Smoke Without Fire, which is the second instalment in a three-part book deal.

His first book, The Last Straw, began the story of Detective Chief Inspector Warren Jones, who works to solve intricate cases in the fictional town of Middlesbury.

Based on Royston, where Paul lives, the County High teacher also said he took inspiration for the lead character from traits similar to his own.

“In the crime genre there are so many great detectives that I didn’t want to try and go toe-to-toe with them,” said Paul, who was influenced by the works of Peter Robinson, Peter James and sci-fi novels growing up.

“I could have made DCI Jones a super detective, someone who had risen quickly through the ranks, but I wanted him to feel more human.

“He’s broadly similar to me in that he’s a couple of years older, his wife is a biology teacher and he is from the countryside, like me. People like him because he is quite normal – I wanted him to be a bit middle-of-the-road, so gave him the promotion to DCI at the beginning of the first book shortly after he turned 38.”

Speaking about writing the books, and watching DCI Jones’ character develop throughout them, Paul said: “You find yourself thinking ‘What would Warren do in this situation?’ It is almost like he’s sitting beside me when I’m writing.

“Writing is my main hobby. I’ll often go down to Saffron Walden library, stick my earphones in and just write. Approaching the first book was very daunting, but the way I look at it now is if I write 1,000 words a day, at the end of the week I’ll have 7,000. At the end of the month it’s 30,000 and after three months it’s up to 90,000 words.”

Paul, who has been at the County High for six years, said some of his students are aware of his passion for writing.

“Last year I did some creative writing courses for sixth formers, while occasionally I’ll write short stories to help with my teaching. One I wrote was based on an alien planet and it’s aim was to encourage Year 7 pupils to become more engrossed in learning about adaptation,” he said.

Paul’s books are available to download electronically from Amazon, iTunes and the Google Play app.

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