Fourteen years ago, teacher Gavin Lihou penned a book about the misadventures of two chickens named Dougy and Dermot.
He self-published Revenge of the Cannibal Chickens, but it is only after a more recent decision to write sequel that the book has found a potential worldwide audience, after being published by a company in Wales.
“It’s really hard to get a publisher as an author,” Mr Lihou said.
“Unless you’re actually published, they want nothing to do with you.
“So I self-published it through an American company. It was released over there and I sold probably 200 copies here, just locally through one of the book stores and on my own.
“But it never really went anywhere. It’s very hard to publicise yourself.
“I started on the second book and I called it The Second Seasoning and, eventually, I sent away and Candy Jar, which is a publishing firm in Cardiff, got in touch.
“They said they really liked the book, and were asking about the first book and said they wanted to put both together.”
That interest from Candy Jar prompted Mr Lihou to rewrite Revenge of the Cannibal Chickens and combine it with The Second Seasoning into one reimagined story, which now also features illustrations by Patrick Coombes.
“I had to rejig the names: I had normal names in the first book and I changed them to names like Cluck Norris, Quackie Chan and Goose Lee and really ‘chickened it up’,” he said.
“And I rewrote it because over time my writing really improved and that’s where we are now."
Currently at Mount Austin Public School, Mr Lihou has been a teacher for 28 years.
“Writing was just a hobby, something to do instead of going to the pub or whatever. I had young children back then. It just sort of came from there,” he said.
With two daughters and classroom experiences, Mr Lihou understands the challenges of trying to get children to read.
“I think you’ve got to keep the action moving to appeal to kids. It is tricky,” he said.
Mr Lihou, who credits reading with improving his own spelling, says he is also conscious of the messages he is sending to his young readers.
He is keen to have his books feature strong, ambition female characters and also alluded to how chickens are raised and kept.
”I have a character in Revenge of the Cannibal Chickens called Amelia Chickenheart. She’s got hopes, she’s next in line to lead the Free Range Army once Henry Chickenger goes. She has aspirations,” he said.
Mr Lihou will sign copies of Revenge of the Cannibal Chickens on Wednesday, January 16, from 11am in the Turvey Tops newsagency.