NEW BOOK: Jim Mannell. Photo: Contributed NO RESALE
NEW BOOK: Jim Mannell. Photo: Contributed NO RESALE Contributed

Novel dream awakens after almost 30 years for teacher

GRAFTON author Jim Mannell says holding a printed copy of a book you have written makes all of the hard work worthwhile - and he has waited nearly three decades to do it.

The former Grafton High School English and foreign languages teacher, just had his third book, The Time Before, published - but it was a while in the making.

"The Time Before was the first book I finished. It was back in 1986 that I finished it," he said.

Mr Mannell was teaching German at the time and was inspired by his love of 20th century history.

Working full-time and caring for his son meant he wrote the book late into the evenings, sometimes heading to work with little or no sleep.

"But it turned out very well and it impressed my first agent very much and she insisted on sending it to the UK, but they didn't want to publish that kind of book," he said.

But nearly 30 years on it finally made it in to print.

Mr Mannell also authored two comedic non-fiction memoir books; A Chalkie of the State, which is about his life as a student, teacher and deputy principal at a dozen state secondary schools, and Dropping the Sausage, the hilarious true story of a man who suffers from "crazed weasel syndrome" causing him to have accidents at home, at school, in the workplace, on the roads and on vacation.

He said writing fiction was different to his other two books, one published last year and the other published earlier this year.

"Those memoir books were easy to write in the sense I based them all on journals I have kept since I was 22," he said.

The Time Before is his first work of fiction and is described as a dramatic and intriguing suspense thriller with a psychic undercurrent.

It is about two young men, one in Sydney in the early 1980s and the other in Munich, Germany in the early 1920s who suffer traumatic change to their lives as a result of life-threatening head injury.

It is a story of love and war, brotherhood and romance in perilous times, as each man and those who love him struggle to overcome adversity and personal loss.

His two memoir books are on sale now at the Clearance Bookstore with The Time Before due out on August 23.

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