A TEACHER in the prison service in Gwent has self-published a fantasy novel he penned during Covid lockdown.

Nicholas Williams, 36, from Newport, has worked in the prison service for six years helping inmates with essential English and maths skills.

Before that, he was a secondary school supply teacher.

“The teaching style and daily routine is completely different,” he said. “But I enjoy the different challenges.”

'Personal goal'

As a history graduate, Mr Williams says he always had a passion for writing academic research.

He also has a passion for table-top gaming, so writing a fictional novel in the fantasy genre seemed like a “natural progression” when lockdown hit.

“It is something I’ve thought about doing for a long time, and I’ve had ideas for storylines in the back of my mind for years,” he said.

“It wasn’t until Covid, when I could no longer teach my classes, that I decided to commit to writing it.

“With all the extra time we had during lockdown I found it quite easy to write a chapter a day, and I managed to get a draft finished within about five months.

“It was the editing and fine-tuning process that really took time, especially as things started to open up again after lockdown.

“I committed to editing on the evenings and weekends. It was a challenging process, but my wife is a great driving force to keep me motivated and she really helped me when I needed to do it after work.

“I never really had plans to publish the book; I wanted to write one as a personal goal. But my wife drove me to self-publish and I’m really glad I did.”

The resulting story, titled When the Dead Rise, takes place in a world where creatures such as vampires and werewolves are obscured from the public eye by a mysterious organisation called the Order.

Mr Williams also ponders how his experience in the prison service might have influenced the theme of a ruling organisation and subordinate working class.

“If anyone loves fantasy, epic battles, vampires, and supernatural storylines, I hope they’ll love this book,” he said.

“My wife always says it’s a mix of The Witcher and Van Helsing, so if you love that sort of genre, this book is for you.”

For more information on When the Dead Rise, visit www.nicholaspwilliams.com or click here.