A BAILDON born playwright has turned his hand to novels, with his debut book Blessed Assurance featuring the places that mean the most to him.

Tony Earnshaw, 65, is a self-depreciating author but his success has inspired him to take his writing to the next level.

He said: "When I wrote my first play, The Door, it went really well. It was performed locally in Saltaire and York, but it also had a run at the Edinburgh Fringe and even New York.

"I decided I'd stick to plays and I've done a few since. One of them was about two marriages (Tom and Liza and Pete and Anne).

"I spoke to a theatre director and he said that he felt it would work well as a novel, so that's how I came to writing Blessed Assurance."

"The novel actually acts like a prequel to the play. The book covers the lives of the quartet, right from Tom and Pete's childhood in Baildon and Shipley to old age, whereas the play is just about the couples' lives in their 50s."

Explaining the basic premise of the novel, Mr Earnshaw said: "It is all about one underlying struggle and the conflict between principles and behaviour.

"For Tom and Pete, faith is central to their lives but they have very different takes on what that means. Anne and Liza have different priorities and their relationships are not always straightforward.

"When Tom reaches a crossroads, he talks to the son of local gentry and formerly head of his own investment company, Jonny Nower who is also at a crossroads.

"Can the two men help each other? And can the four friends weather the storms of doubt and betrayal and emerge unscathed?"

Dramatic stuff. Meanwhile, the locations used in the novel all have a special place in the heart of Mr Earnshaw.

He explained: "I'm from Baildon and went to Bingley Grammar so lots of the early part of the novel is set around there.

"Tom and Pete's fathers are still alive towards the end of the novel and they're still living in the Bradford district.

"Parts of the novel are set in Worthing, on the Sussex coast, where my in-laws were based, while the main four characters settle in the North Downs, where I live now."

Asked whether writing this novel has inspired him to do more, Mr Earnshaw said: "This one's only been out a week and it's already sold a few copies. I might try and come up to do a launch event in Shipley too.

"I would like to do another novel but different characters might appear. I would like to bring Jonny back in some capacity but any new book is embryonic at the moment, as I'm currently two thirds of the way through a play."

That play could soon be ready for the public. Blessed Assurance is available to buy now though at: