A Helensburgh author has spoken of the important role his family has played in his writing career – as he celebrates the publication of his fourth novel.

Andrew Hawthorne released the fourth book in his series of DI Claire Redding novels in late July of this year.

The novels focus on a young and bright detective as she solves cases throughout the Helensburgh and Dumbarton area.

Andrew is currently looking for a publisher, having self-published all his books so far - though he's quick to acknowledge it hasn't happened without more than a little help from members of his family.

Andrew said: “I’ve got my nephew who helps me with the editing side of things – he’s really good at English and has a Masters degree from the University of Glasgow.

“The downside of having a publisher is that they’ll provide the editing staff, and I may have less control over the book whereas at the moment I’ve got total control.

“Even though my nephew assists with editing, ultimately, it’s my final decision about what goes in and what doesn’t go into the book.”

But Andrew’s family ties don’t end with his nephew, as his name is actually a pseudonym inspired by his great-great-great grandfather – who was the first Hawthorne to settle in Scotland.

His first published work, the children's book 'Who Put That Spaceship On My School?', was written for his son and illustrated by his niece.

And while he wants to focus on crime novels for now, Andrew isn’t ruling out going back to writing children’s stories and revealed he has several that remain unpublished – if he can find a distributor.

“There are some other children’s stories that I’ve already got in the bag," he added, "so if that ever develops, and if I get a publisher, maybe we can look at those other stories.”

Andrew is also influenced by the local area, having lived in Dumbarton since 1979, when he was aged 13. 

He moved to Helensburgh in 2020, and uses his knowledge as a local government official with West Dunbartonshire Council to his advantage.

"I’ve used the premises, buildings, and all of that sort of experience and knowledge for the books," he said.

“I know the people and I know the local issues so I thought ‘what would be of interest to the people of Dumbarton and Helensburgh?’.

“I now live in Helensburgh and that has come through in the books. I finished the first book in Dumbarton and moved to Helensburgh when I was writing the second book, so I made it a Helensburgh story.

“I wanted to make it of local interest because how many other books are there set in the Dumbarton and Helensburgh area?

"There’s not a lot of writers from here who focus on this area.”

For now, Andrew is focusing on the fifth book in the DI Claire Redding series, titled ‘The Judas Tree’, which he is aiming to finish in November, with a view to having it published in February or March of next year.

“I’m 18 chapters into it at the moment," he revealed. "I don’t know where it’s going to end but I’ve got an outline of what it’s about and what the plot is.

“This book is about the death of a politician. That was the seed and I’ve basically been growing a story out from that.”

Andrew’s books are available on Amazon: www.amazon.co.uk/stores/Andrew-Hawthorne/author/B09LJPXC93.

Keep up with Andrew’s work via his social media: www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100028253245339.