Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Authors Draw on Experiences in Newcastle's West End for First Crime Tale

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Authors Draw on Experiences in Newcastle's West End for First Crime Tale

Article excerpt

Byline: Lisa Hutchinson Reporter

Nicky Doherty THEIR backgrounds working on Newcastle's riot-torn estates inspired them to move on to the next chapter of their lives.

North East novelists Julie Blackie and Nicky Doherty took their experiences from 20 years ago while working on regeneration schemes in the West End to give them the background for their first novel together.

And they hope to win Geordie hearts with their gritty crime novel, The Prodigal.

The pair, who saw first-hand the hard lives of the salt-of-the-earth northerners in some of the most deprived neighbourhoods, became friends after discovering they had a love of writing in common.

And after getting their heads together they created The Prodigal under the pen-name Nicky Black.

After working on regeneration schemes in Elswick and Scotswood in Newcastle they both went into careers in writing which took them on different paths.

Nicky, who was born in Alnwick but settled in Heaton, Newcastle, wrote for theatre, while Julie, who was brought up in Benwell, Newcastle, and worked as a community worker in Byker, wrote for television - including Hollyoaks and Casualty.

They both gave up writing for different careers, but the writing collaboration came together again, with a shared determination to ensure The Prodigal made it into print.

Nicky, 47, who now lives in London and whose day job is a director of a company helping people back into employment, said: "We met in 1995 when working at City Challenge, a regeneration programme set up after the riots.

"The characters are made from a combination of people we met. The estates had burglaries which people didn't report, we saw organised crime, drugs and domestic violence.

"The women were the strong ones who stood up to communities and the police. They made sure they were heard to help others."

The tale was born from a throwaway comment from a police friend about the different motivations of police informers in Newcastle. …

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