WHEN Ian McKnight’s car was stolen and later found wrecked in a field, leading to him losing his job due to lack of transport, it sowed the seed as a storyline in a novel.

He started to write it, but felt he had insufficient material to further develop it, so abandoned the work.

That was back in 1998. Twenty years later, the incident has been resurrected by Bradford-born author Ian as part of his new novel The Devil finds Work, in which one of the main themes concerns two brothers who steal cars simply to joyride and wreck them.

Says Ian: “I was living in Peterborough, working as a quality controller in a vegetable supply factory. After my car was stolen the subsequent problems in getting to work led to my being sacked. I shelved the story because there didn’t seem to be enough material for a full novel and I soon found another job to fill my time.”

Recently, while writing his second novel The Devil finds Work, he resurrected the storyline.

He explains: “Part-way through writing the book I came to a standstill and could see no way of moving forward. Then I considered the story from years back and it fitted seamlessly in. From thereon, progress was fairly constant.”

As in his previous book Premonition, Bradford, and the surrounding area features heavily in the novel, with Idle, Eccleshill and Undercliffe at the heart of much of the action. “Most areas, though, are backdrops for events which fit into a tight geographical area, with which readers will identify,” he says.

Ian’s clever plot-lines focusing upon police investigations could make the leap from the pages of his new novel to TV screens, as he explains: “I have had meetings with a screenwriter - we should have a working script ready by the end of February, so we can pitch it to TV production companies as a contemporary crime drama. It is very exciting.”

Ian’s life experience is vast - he has lived all over the UK and worked in jobs ranging from IT specialist with Empire Stores in Bradford to pub landlord in Leeds, stately home worker in York and a factory in Bridlington.

This has helped him in shaping the events and characters in his books. “The central characters, Terry and his wife, are based on my real experience,” he says. “Kenny Collins is based on a friend who frequents the Idle Draper, as is Scouse Billy. The owner and staff, likewise, are real people. Several other customers asked me if they could be ‘name-dropped’.

“Following the success of Premonition customers at the pub were queueing up to be given roles in the sequel. Each is a ‘character’ in real life and wanted to be portrayed as such. When the book came out, people were trying to identify customers from the characters.”

He adds: “The police characters, apart from Mrs Semtex, who is based on the wife of a close friend, are totally fictional, as are all other characters, including the villains.

“Terry’s story is based on my real-life experiences. Other events may allude to real-life events but have been altered to fit the story and other storylines are fictional.”

A former pupil of Grange Boys Grammar School in Great Horton, Ian now lives in Greengates. His regular drinking haunt, the Idle Draper, features in the book, as it did in Premonition. An image of the hostelry also appears on the book cover.

“I wanted something atmospheric and identifying closely with Idle. The owner, Jim Emmett, has been enthusiastic about my work and helped publicise it. When I found this image on the pub’s Facebook page, it was exactly what I was looking for. It helps to ‘ground’ the book in a physical location. The Draper is a haven for me, a place in which I instantly felt comfortable the first time I walked in. I would like it to become a place to visit for readers in much the same way that the Oxford Bar is for Rebus fans.

Ian has already started on a follow-up, which will again feature a main theme with a number of sub-plots.

*The Devil finds Work is available in paperback from Amazon priced £6.99, and also as an ebook for £2.99.