My name is Nathan Parker, a 32-year-old father of one from Blackpool, Lancashire. I’m recently married to my beautiful wife, Nadina, so beautiful in fact, let’s just say it’s a good job I have my sense of humour to rely on. Family has always been central to my universe, but since becoming a dad I feel as though life makes far more sense than it used to. I thoroughly enjoy spending time with Sonny, my son who is 18 months old – watching him develop and learn brings me a joy I never thought was possible. With any luck, one child may become two – or more – as the years go by.
I’m proud of the fact I was born and raised, schooled and now live and work in sunny Blackpool. Despite its perception as a town with challenges – a perception which is accurate on many fronts – in my thirty-two years I have seen and experienced community, resilience, strength and good times in this town.
I am a Youth Worker by trade, graduating from Canterbury Christ Church University with a first-class BA honours degree in Youth Work and Community Learning and Development. For ten plus years I have worked alongside young people experiencing some of life’s toughest challenges and, although now working at a strategic level, I work hard to support and empower the young people of Blackpool and the Fylde Coast to create their own stories; with informed choices, broadening horizons and challenging inequality within the systems young people are bound.
My journey into writing began officially in 2017 when I was tasked with making a creative pledge to myself, to write it down and tell the workshop within which the task was set -which I’ve since learned meant I was 90% more likely to see it through… sneaky devils!
The pledge I set myself was to write a short story. Fast forward 12 months and I self-published my first novel; The Disappearance of Timothy Dawson, The First Book in the Granville Series. A fictional ‘anytown’ but certainly shaped from my knowledge of Blackpool.
The book enabled me to tell a story which was burning inside me; a tale inspired by personal and professional experiences told with realism through a world of fiction. My writing style is to take real life adversity, emotion and grit and weave it into stories filled with twists and turns, relatable characters and places which feel familiar to most.
I would say I’ve always loved to read, which wouldn’t be too far from the truth. I began my childhood as an avid reader, although it wasn’t the classics which hooked me in – ten year old Nathan was more of a Goosebumps fan. And I still read now; with a common, nightly routine of a few chapters before bed. My current read is Michael Connelly’s The Poet.
However, there was a huge void in my teens. A black hole within which books, reading and writing didn’t feature. School, Sports, Friendships, Hormones, whatever it was, I stopped reading and it wasn’t until my dad encouraged me to read again in my early twenties to help address a sleeping problem that I picked up To Kill a Mockingbird and fell in love with books all over again.
Truth is, I believe if the stories I write were available to fifteen-year-old me, I never would have stopped reading. I needed real life, I needed danger and I needed topical issues which explained life to me – adversity, relationships, risk and reward. This is what I strive for in my writing. I have been privileged in many ways in my life, but I have also seen and experienced challenges which I seek to harness and weave into my writing, so that one day a young reader may pick up my book and find connection, comfort or hope.
My debut novel The Disappearance of Timothy Dawson was shortlisted for Lancashire Book of the Year 2019, a feat which I am so very proud of.
The best part? The book prompted young people – young men in particular – to become passionate about reading. Am I the most qualified, technical writer in the world? Certainly not. But I believe my stories are raw, relatable and real and there is a gap in the young adult fiction market, which needs filling.
I’m currently working on the second book in the series and am enjoying working alongside schools, delivering talks and workshops to students looking at motivating the next generation to pick up a pen, or a book and allow their minds to wander.