Novelist Colin Bateman is publishing chapters from his latest book on Facebook to help ease the boredom of isolation for fans who are in lockdown amidst the coronavirus pandemic.
Bangor man Bateman (57) has been using the social media platform to release chapters of his unpublished novel, Bone Games, which is based on Dan Starkey, the character who launched his career as a novelist.
He first wrote about the exploits of Starkey in his 1995 debut Divorcing Jack, which won a prestigious Betty Trask Award and was adapted into a film to set him on his way to becoming a famous writer.
Bateman published the first chapter on Saturday and has released a new extract every morning since.
Writing on his Facebook page, he said: “Seeing as how we're all now in various versions of lock down and you've watched everything on Netflix, here's something to while away 10 minutes: the first chapter of my new Dan Starkey novel, Bone Games.”
The author completed what is his eleventh book featuring Starkey in April last year, but has yet to agree a publishing deal.
Fans of the Starkey series said they had missed the character and that they were “delighted” he was back.
“Been gagging for a new Bateman for a couple of years,” wrote reader Edward Marlowe.
“As only a pipe smoker (which isn't really smoking because I don't inhale...), I've never been hooked on actual nicotine, but the rush of new Starkey material is like a long-craved fix, like my first Diet Coke of the day during my caffeine years. Bravo!”
Another reader, Bonnie Datt, said she was “grateful” to have Bateman’s latest work at this time.
“Not the way I wanted to get a new Dan Starkey novel from you Colin, but grateful to have it. Looking forward to reading it,” she said.
Meanwhile, Shankill-road born writer Tony Macauley (56) has been amusing his fans with live readings of his internationally-acclaimed book, Paperboy.
Macauley, who based the book on his own story of growing up in the Ballygomartin area where he delivered copies of the Belfast Telegraph, has promised he will read a chapter of Paperboy every evening at 9pm on Facebook Live.
Speaking on his first live stream on Monday evening, he said: "I hope you're keeping well and keeping safe... I hope this brightens up your evening as we go through these times."