Author refuses to allow his dyslexia to get in the way of romance - The Leamington Observer

Author refuses to allow his dyslexia to get in the way of romance

A DYSLEXIC Warwickshire  author labelled ‘thick’ at school has published a second novel.

John Crawshaw has battled with the effects of dyslexia throughout his life, admitting the condition took him to the brink of despair while growing up..

The Alcester resident told The Observer he had never even read a novel before writing his first book last year..

The 53 year-old’s debut novel was titled ‘The Swing’ and follows the journey of lovers Charlotte and Peter – unlikely kindred spirits who embark on a passionate love affair, before facing the inevitable obstacles of falling in love across the class divide.

And the sequel ‘The View Beyond’ has just been published.

John said: ‘’At school I was often referred to as being thick or useless. Reading and writing didn’t come naturally to me like all of the other children in the class.

“I didn’t receive any support from my teachers, I was just assumed to be of a lower intelligence level than everyone else. It was only later in my life that I was diagnosed as dyslexic and really began to understand the challenges that I faced my whole life.’

‘’Even though I’ve written two novels now, I still get nervous when I’m asked to write something with a pen on paper. I feel much more comfortable using a laptop and seeing my ideas transform in to life on the screen.’’

Despite struggling with reading and writing, John’s journey to becoming an author has not only been hindered by his personal battle with dyslexia, but he is also frequently challenged about his eligibility to write romance as a man.

“The quip I often get when meeting new people and talking about my books is ‘what can a man possibly know about romance? I actually realised that some people seemed less interested in my writing because I was a man and therefore adopted the writing name of J A Crawshaw so that my gender was not immediately obvious and didn’t put anybody off from picking up my book.’

“I remember when I first came up with the idea for my first novel, The Swing, I realised that I had never actually read a book in my life and I definitely hadn’t ever written anything of any real substance. I took a trip to a local Waterstones to try and ‘suss out’ how other romance novels were being written. I was so nervous, that when anybody else came near to the romance section, I quickly scurried over to the maps and travel section which felt like the place society would expect me to be.’’

‘’My writing is inspired my beloved grandparents who after 70 years of marriage died within a couple of days each other. Their fondness for each other continues to inspire me every day and having been witness to their love for a substantial part of my life, I feel more than qualified to tell stories of romance and chivalry.’’

John also runs his own successful tree surgery business.

‘’I have a real connection with trees and the natural world, whenever I need to clear my mind, I head outside and surround myself with beautiful countryside and natural surroundings. There is a genuine energy in trees that inspires me and readers of my books will notice my passion for trees within my works.

“Thankfully, as the owner of a business, my writing was initially a side hustle which has since become my overwhelming passion, but I am in a position where a proportion of the profits from the sales of my books are donated to tree planting and conservation projects.’’


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