University of Portsmouth graduate Richard Warburton releases dramatic debut novel Stoker

SET against the dramatic backdrop of the American west of 1860, Richard Warburton hopes his debut novel will transport the reader from the first word.

Monday, 24th December 2018, 2:48 pm
Updated Thursday, 10th January 2019, 10:52 am
The front cover of Stoker, left, and University of Portsmouth graduate Richard Warburton

Its opening pitches the start of an uphill battle faced by Lord Stoker, a British nobleman who stumbles upon the lone survivor of a massacre. 

As she lays among the blood-blotted landscape she is too frightened to speak '“ but Stoker, after whom the tome is titled '“ is determined to escort her to the authorities. 

The seed for the tale was sown during Richard's first year as a creative writing student at the University of Portsmouth, in 2014.

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Now two years after he graduated with first-class honours, it has been released.

'˜I'd never considered putting this out as a real thing until a friend asked to see it. I passed it to him, he read it in a flash and told me it was brilliant,' the 46-year-old said.  

'˜It went from there and after numerous rounds of editing and re-writes, it was sent off by the end of 2017.

'˜Now to see it in print as something I can physically hold is a brilliant feeling.'

The journey towards publishing Stoker began when Mr Warburton, who hails from West Stoke in Chichester '“ a conscious link in his title choice '“ sought a change of direction five years ago. 

'˜I'd been made redundant, so I spent 2013 trying to make myself useful at home, because trying to get a job was proving ridiculously difficult,' he said. 

'˜Then my wife Alison said 'why don't you do a course?', which is when I learned the one in Portsmouth was going to start in a fortnight. 

'˜In a hurry I rang the university, spoke to a lecturer and she helpfully invited me to go and do it.' 

A far cry from his former stomping ground of London as a recruitment worker, Richard's debut novel takes readers on a journey via horseback, through dusty, rolling plains, to a bustling Mississippi paddle steamer and beyond. 

And there has been much work go into ensuring its legitimacy. 

'˜I loved the research '“ learning about paddle steamers, pistols and all sorts of American geography,' Richard said. 

'˜But after the process as a whole I can completely empathise with the saying that writing a book takes one per cent inspiration and 99 per cent perspiration.' 

In a world where '˜not all is as it seems', the author added readers should not expect an easy ride for his protagonist. 

'˜Everybody Stoker meets along the way makes his goal of getting this woman to civilisation extremely difficult.' 

Stoker is available to buy on Amazon for £8.99 in paperback and £3.99 for Kindle.