New chapter for Woodhall Spa man after release of his debut novel

Paul Purnell.
Paul Purnell.

Retirement affords you the time to do things that you’ve always wanted to do and never had the time, says first time author Paul Purnell.

Paul, from Woodhall Spa, has spent the last six years perfectinghis debut novel, Marco and the Pharaoh’s Curse.

At the age of 65, Paul says he has always had an interest in writing, but says he never had the time - until now.

Paul said: “This is my first published book and will be a series of adventures for Marco and Lois.

“I always remember making up silly stories for my children many years ago, and on a whim I started writing Marco aimed at children aged seven to 12-years old.

“This is a great age as they can read chapter books and learn new words.”

Paul admits that writing a novel has been somewhat of a learning curve.

He says he has been brushing up on some of the skills he learned during his school days.

Paul said: “Marco and the Pharaoh’s Curse has taken me six years to write.

“Part of this time has been spent learning the art and conventions of writing fiction and brushing up on grammar and punctuation.

“During this time I have written another children’s book and a couple of short stories, but these were part of my apprenticeship so may not see the light of day.”

Becoming an author is certainly a change of pace for Paul, who used to work at Gloucestershire County Council.

But as Paul joked, at the age of 65, it is never too late to start something new!

Reading your published work to the public is often a pastime associated with being an author, and Paul says that the reception he has received from youngsters has been a good one. He said: “So far, I have only had one reading session with the children.

“Girls seem to like the idea of a mermaid, and for the boys, their eyes light up at the mention of sharks.”

Paul says there will be a reading of the book in Woodhall Spa in October.

Children will not be the only ones to benefit from Marco and the Pharaoh’s Curse, as Paul says that proceeds from the book will be split between two animal charities.

Paul said: “We have three dogs, and whilst writing, I always had one or more snuffling and snoring at my side.

“We already support Guide Dogs for the Blind and Hearing Dogs for the Deaf so it was a short leap to donate all royalties to the two charities.”

Marco and the Pharaoh’s Curse is available to buy now from