Former borough headteacher and journalist launches first book 14 years in the making

An ex-Wigan borough journalist, who went on to be a headmaster and now runs a nursery, is back in print with his debut novel.
Darran Nash with his debut novelDarran Nash with his debut novel
Darran Nash with his debut novel

And as labours of love go, Pushing the Cotton is an epic, having taken Darran Nash 14 years from concept to publication.

The 56-year-old one-time deputy editor of the Leigh Reporter says he has never lost his love of writing and has always been drawn to the fantasy genre.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Described as “a modern fairy tale for adults”, Pushing Cotton is set in parallel time streams.

First we meet Nelson Hitchcock in 2003. His life is forever changed when a stranger begs for help during a school trip to the museum. The reward is his heart’s desire and Nelson’s only wish is the return of his father who mysteriously disappeared three years earlier. But there is a price, for the stranger will be dead before Hallowe’en is out, setting Nelson on a desperate race against time to keep his side of the bargain.

Meanwhile 100 years earlier, police sergeant Caleb Fitzgerald is searching in vain for his son, snatched by a serial fiend who leaves a chilling calling card at each scene, “Critch.”

Nelson finds his ancestor’s journal and is convinced it will help him unmask the killer. But he is about to unleash a supernatural blood feud in which past and present collide with terrifying results.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Darran, who rose through the teaching ranks to be head of Gilded Hollins Primary in Leigh and now runs a day nursery in Walkden with wife Clare, said: “I have always been fascinated by fairy tales, and with good reason. The struggle between good and evil, the granting of wishes, magic spells and heroic quests form part of our storytelling DNA. Nowadays, fairy tales are child-friendly, they are animated, or even musical. But the original nattives of the Brothers Grimm and Charles Perrault were stories for adults, and they were much darker.”

Darran said the book - on which he reckons he has spent 10,000 hours working - has been through several drafts and he is grateful to several friends for their advice.

Pushting Cotton is published by The Book Guild priced £8.99 and is available on Amazon and Kindle.

Thanks for reading. If you value what we do and are able to support us, a digital subscription is just £1 for your first month. Try us today by clicking here and viewing our offers.

Related topics: