A TEACHER has embarked on a new chapter in his life – as a crime fiction writer.

But despite landing a coveted book deal, Simon Swift, assistant headteacher at Birkby Junior School, is not giving up his vocation to teach.

The father-of-two from Highburton said: “At this moment in time I view myself as a teacher who writes because I really love teaching.

“Teaching is a great job and I feel like I can use my writing skills to help the children a lot with literacy and inspire them and push them much further.”

International publisher HarperCollins has described Simon’s novel Black Shadows as “a tightly written piece of noir fiction” which is “pitch perfect” and “a compelling read”.

The crime novel blends fact and fiction with gangsters, beautiful dames, colourful villains and red herrings.

When rookie private detective Errol Black gets mixed up in the killing of gangster Dutch Schultz he vows to clean up his act.

But when former partner Dyke Spanner is shot to death, Black is drawn into a violent and bloody quest for a mythical, priceless diamond.

The novel has been published by Wild Wolf Publishing which specialises in and celebrates the dark side of fiction.

Simon, 35, who grew up in Newsome, said: “It was amazing after all those years of hard work – it was a dream come true.

“It was always and a dream of mine to write a book and make it big.

“I began to write the novel many years ago when I went travelling with my wife Sarah.

“I spent a lot of time on it when I was travelling but then life took over and I got married and had children.

“There was never enough time to devote fully on my writing.

“But it was still there and one day I thought I’d go back to it when I had more time. I’m so glad I did now.”

Simon’s book is available on May 1 and can be pre-ordered now from Amazon or downloaded as an ebook.