It’s thrilling for new author to see his first book in print

Author Ian Coates pictured with Eavesdrop
Author Ian Coates pictured with Eavesdrop

An author who took eight years to produce his first novel has finally seen it in print.

Eavesdrop, a thriller that combines the worlds of smuggling, assassins, spies and technology, is now out in paperback and available from Amazon.

And for Ian Coates it’s the realisation of a dream.

Mr Coates, who lives in Weston Turville with his wife Liz and their two daughters, works for a high-tech electronics company in Kings Langley and had to grab moments on planes and in airport lounges to write his novel.

He said: “It took so long to write because I had to write it in between doing so many other things including a job move, house move and bringing up a family. But to finally see it in print was fantastic.

“Of course you see the proof galley first and that’s exciting, but then the box arrived with a few paperbacks in it and there was my name on the front after all these years.”

Mr Coates, 50, has worked in the high tech electronics industry for 30 years, where he has specialised in the design of radio communication equipment.

His intimate knowledge of that environment has always triggered his imagination to think about the mysterious world of international spies.

Eavesdrop tells the story of customs investigator James Winter whose career falls into tatters due to smuggling and industrial sabotage, with questions arising about who arranged his dismissal and what is their link to Middle East assassins?

The story was first published as an e-book and from that it has received fabulous reviews.

Mr Coates said: “James Winter has proved to be a popular character with readers. I’m currently plotting my next novel, with a working title of The Rival, which is not a sequel, it has totally new characters. But people seem to like James Winter so I may bring him back for my third novel. I’m expecting to write the second one within a couple of years.”

Mr Coates has written since he was a child, and won a writing competition with a crime novella when he was a teenager. He was then named as a winner in an international novel writing competition and that spurred him on to complete his first full length novel.

He wrote the first draft of Eavesdrop by hand, using a pencil and a notebook, because he says he finds it hard to be creative straight onto a computer.

He approached a few agents with his book and was about to be taken on when the agent chose to retire, but not without first advising him to approach publishers directly.

Mr Coates hit the jackpot with an American publisher, Assent, which was looking to take on a handful of good thriller writers and his paperback has been published under their suspense and thriller imprint Bad Day Books.

Eavesdrop is available from bookshops and Amazon for £9.95. A proportion of the profits from the novel will go to the British Science Association, a charity that aims to advance the public understanding of science and engineering.