When it comes to writing books, the old adage is you should ‘write what you know’.
And for author Pete Sortwell, from Wellingborough, experiences in his own life have led him to produce his latest novel, So Low So High, a story about recovery from drug addiction.
Pete admits he has had problems with drugs in the past but, speaking to him, it is obvious he does not want to be defined by them. He now works as a volunteer co-ordinator at the drugs, alcohol and homelessness charity, CAN. Dispelling the myths and prejudices people have about those who have taken drugs is a cause close to his heart.
The story of So Low So High follows the tale of Simon Brewster as he makes his way through the final year of his drug addiction.
Pete explained: “What I wanted to do with it was try to dispel the myth that people who have issues like that wake up one day and decide that is how it is going to be. It is a first-person, present-tense piece, a lot of it is about the process and the journey he takes. He is not just looking back on recovery, but he is on his knees, battered and bruised. One way or another he is going to stop using. What we have to find out is whether he manages it.
“I started writing this over three years ago. It was the first thing I started to write. My friend was in recovery and did a lot of things, he used to tell me what he got up to.
“At the end of his life he was running a rehab and people who were in there still message me now to say they are still clean. It made me think, if people get the right support they can be productive members of society.”
He added: “It was a subconscious account of what I could have been if I wasn’t helped. I struggled with drinking and drugs, then seven years ago, after quite a few attempts, I did stop and found someone who was able to show me what they did, and life took off.”
The book is not the first Pete has written. He also enjoyed Amazon chart success when he reached number one in the parody chart with The Village Idiot Review. Then followed three other books in this series as well as the novel, Dating in the Dark.
Pete said he would advise other aspiring writers to write as much as they can.
“My advice would be to write. There are lots of people in writing circles who have discussions about writing but aren’t really writing, they are just talking about it, but that doesn’t get books out.”
So Low So High is available, priced £8.99 from Waterstones.