Bury St Edmunds cabbie turns his fares into characters

Taxi driver Daniel Atkins with his novel Sleeping Sisters which he wrote between jobs near Angel Hill
Taxi driver Daniel Atkins with his novel Sleeping Sisters which he wrote between jobs near Angel Hill
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People travelling in Daniel Adkins’ cab may find that their lives have been recreated in fiction.

For 18 months, the A1 taxi driver of seven years drove in and around Bury St Edmunds with a laptop tucked under his passenger seat.

Then, in the quiet moments between fares, he would set about adding chapters to his novel, Sleeping Sisters.

Often he would park at his favourite spot on Angel hill looking out towards the old abbey, which is at the centre of the book.

Now available on Amazon and from Waterstones, the novel was inspired by the historical setting Daniel finds himself in on a day-to-day basis and, to a lesser extent, the characters he often meets through the course of his work.

He said: “You’d be amazed what people will share with you in 30 seconds - their medical history or, if they’re drunk, a story of their evening or a story of their boyfriend or girlfriend gone wrong. You do find yourself being a counsellor at times.”

Anyone familiar with Bury will recognise features of the book, but Daniel, 37, says it is a ‘tongue-in-cheek’ look at the town, incorporating some local ghost stories.

The father-of-one, who lives in Barnham, said: “Sleeping Sisters is a young adult novel, loosely based on Suffolk ghost stories such as Borley Rectory, the Red Barn Murders and the witchcraft trials of Matthew Hopkins.

“However, it’s fair to say it’s not a historical novel, but more of a supernatural thriller fresh from my imagination.”

Daniel, who used to teach maths and PE, began writing around three years ago, initially creating bedtime stories for his daughter, Angelina, who will soon turn four.

He said writing the novel became a way of ‘filling the hours when (he) didn’t have lots of jobs to do’.

“Originally, it was just a way to amuse myself,” he said.

It has been published by FeedARead, an independent publisher, programmed with Arts Council funding.

For more on how to get a copy, priced at £2.99 for an E-book and £7.99 in print, visit www.thesecretbookshelf.com

(The ISBN is 9781784077563)