ROB Blowers had never intended to become a published writer.
But during a two-year sabbatical from his job as a police constable, during which he went sailing around the Greek islands with his wife Kerry and dog Bennie, Rob found himself writing not just one, but three full novels.
And now he has returned to work with Hampshire Constabulary, the 46-year-old has seen his debut novel Gerard Oakey RN: The Taking of HMS Poseidon, hit the shelves.
The former member of the Fareham town safer neighbourhoods team, from Warsash, had bought the 52ft wooden yacht, Persephone, to fulfil a lifelong ambition.
He said: ‘I wanted to have an adventure. I had no interest at all in writing a book, but police work had got me into the habit of writing – everything you do has to be written up and you have to do it in ridiculous amounts of detail.
‘When we went away I started writing a diary, and then my daughter Hayley came out to stay with us on the boat.
‘She had been trying to write a novel, but had hit a brick wall, so I said I would write with her as well.’
Inspired by the region, Rob realised he had a book on his hands.
‘The characters are fictional, but it is based on real events,’ he said. ‘Everywhere we went, you picked up on local history and I started thinking about how it would be a great setting for a story.
‘I’ve already written the sequel, and there will be a third one, but the other book I wrote whilst out there is a contemporary novel, more related to my experiences in the police.’
Set in 1820, the novel follows the exploits of Cpt Oakley after losing his ship to Turkish pirates, and his attempts to restore his honour.
Now back on the beat in Alton, Rob said: ‘Some days I miss being in Greece.
‘I sometimes imagine staring out across the sea and seeing the dramatic mountains of the mainland, the same mountains I saw almost every day for two years.
‘However, life must go on, and we will always have those memories of our two years aboard our floating home.’
Rob will be signing copies of his book at Waterstones in Fareham Shopping Centre from 11am on Saturday.