A FORMER journalist and headteacher from Leigh has been celebrating the release of his debut novel 'Pushing Cotton'.

Former deputy editor of the Leigh Reporter and headteacher of Gilded Hollins Primary in Lowton, Darran Nash released 'Pushing Cotton' with Book Guild Publications late last year.

Described as a "modern fairy tale for adults", the gothic fantasy follows two story threads with one set in 1903 and the other one hundred years later.

The protagonist, Nelson Hitchcock, is convinced his ancestors have left him clues to unmask a killer after his father mysteriously disappeared three years previously. However, Nelson is unaware he is about to unleash a blood feud that has crossed a century; a supernatural vendetta where past and present collide with terrifying results.

Darran, who now runs a day nursery with his wife Claire, said: "I have always been fascinated by fairy tales, and with good reason. The struggle between good and evil, the granting of wishes, magic spells, and heroic quests form part of our storytelling DNA.

WNowadays, fairy tales are child-friendly; they are animated, or even musical. But the original narratives of the Brothers Grimm and Charles Perrault were stories for adults, and they were much darker: scratch the surface and the worst of humanity is revealed.

"I began to consider how these traditional motifs might appear if they were re-orientated to modern times. Would 21st century readers invest in the granting of a wish for a bargain struck?".

Pushing Cotton is published by The Book Guild priced £8.99 and is available in bookstores as well as on Amazon and Kindle.