A NEW author who took up writing at university has launched his own publishing house.

Crescent Swan Publishing was created “on a whim” by Maldon resident Joseph Chadwick, who taught himself everything about the trade.

Rather than waiting for publishers to pick him up, the ambitious 25-year-old has now released his debut novel The Briarmen.

The story revolves around Hamish Beasly, who is is evacuated to the quiet countryside village of Brombury and taken in by Mrs Platts and her daughter Penny.

At first Penny is far from happy with her new house guest, but after she and Hamish discover and befriend the Briarmen – four fantastical creatures living in the forbidden Woods Beyond The Railway – they are bound together through a shared secret.

Then comes the Blitz, and with it rumours of a German plane crashing into the woods.

This sparks concern from the village and puts Hamish and Penny’s secret at risk, a secret they soon find out is no longer their own.

Copies of The Briarmen, by Joseph Chadwick

Copies of The Briarmen, by Joseph Chadwick

Joseph said: “When I was at university, I ended up taking some creative writing classes to fill out my timetable.

“I enjoyed it a lot, so since then it has been something I knew I’d like to pursue.

“I actually had the initial idea for this story whilst out for a run down at Beeleigh a couple of years ago.

“A plane flew overhead and that is when I thought up the concept, although I can’t say too much more about that without giving the plot away.

“It is just me running the publishing house at the moment.

“However I enlisted the help of some trusted freelancers with this project, and probably will do the same for future projects, at least whilst it’s early days.

“I set it up on a bit of a whim in all honesty. I had sent the manuscript off to a few agents and it didn’t get picked up, so I thought I could either keep trying or just start my own publishing house.

“I had to teach myself how to do everything that comes along with that, of course, but it has been enjoyable.”

MAN OF LETTERS: Author Joseph Chadwick set up his own publishing house

MAN OF LETTERS: Author Joseph Chadwick set up his own publishing house

Joseph said he hopes to have more books in the pipeline but is focusing on promoting the publishing house.

“I am actually in the early stages of working with two new authors with some very exciting books, which will be the next books we publish,” he added.

The Briarmen has been well-received and is available at Maldon Books and online at crescentswan.com for £8.99.