Children get taste of debut novel

Malvins Close nursery pupil Charlie, author Chris Callaghan and Paige discover chocolate is about to run out.

Malvins Close nursery pupil Charlie, author Chris Callaghan and Paige discover chocolate is about to run out.

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Pupils have been given a taste of an author’s first book and left in a nightmare world where chocolate is about to run out.

Children at Malvin’s Close Primary School, in Blyth, heard snippets of The Great Chocoplot, written by Chris Callaghan.

Chris, of Wallsend, spent two days at the school talking about his first book, written for his daughter as a substitute Christmas present because the stay-at-home dad and his wife were hard up.

The 47-year-old former RAF mechanic said: “I have always scribbled down stories for my own pleasure but I never thought I would get anything published.

“In the same way, when I go for a run I don’t think I’ll end up Olympic champion.”

However, the first publisher he approached liked the story which begins with the revelation that an ancient chocolate-worshipping tribe’s prophecy of a Chocopocalypse will come true in six days’ time.

Headteacher Alison Nicholson said: “Chris had the children in the palm of his hand. We are so grateful he spent so much time with us.

“He certainly fired up their imaginations – but we all hope the Chocopocalypse remains a story.”

The Great Chocoplot was published in March and ever since Chris has been busy visiting schools and book festivals across the UK.

“I’m still in a bit of daze,” said Chris, who was an aircraft mechanic for seven years and served with an operational squadron – as part of the NATO peacekeeping force in Bosnia.

After leaving the RAF he was employed by an environmental testing company but when his work looked set to take him away from the north east – and his new-born baby – he decided to become a house husband while his wife, a deputy headteacher, went back to school.

Chris said: “That was ten years ago and I’ve been writing all the time. I was on the brink of going back to work when the publisher showed an interest.”

He has never attended a creative writing class and admitted that he struggled to explain nouns and verbs to his daughter as he helped her prepare for her SATS.

“I’m so lucky to have this. It really is a dream come true,” he said.