A FORMER Mr Universe contestant is now sinking his teeth into a new career as an author following the publication of his first collection of vampire novels.
John Madderson, formerly of Malvin’s Street in Blyth but now living in Walker in Newcastle, is hoping he’s got the write stuff to impress readers after penning not one but three books – Blood Empire, Blood Lust and Blood Fury.
The self-published novels, produced by Createspace, are part of his ongoing Vampire Hunter series.
The first book starts in 1943 during the Germans’ retreat from Russia, with the second, third and upcoming fourth book following the characters right up until 2012.
The 65-year-old said: “General Joseph Beck is a German soldier, and he’s the main character throughout all the books.
“The name of my villain is Alucard, which is Dracula in reverse.”
The inspiration for the stories came from a photo the grandfather of two saw in a book about the Second World War.
“I saw a picture of a German soldier on the eastern front on the retreat from Russia, crouching in the snow during a blizzard,” he recalled. “He could not have been very old, and his face bore all the signs of impending death.
“With me being an ex-soldier, I still wonder if he ever made it back to Germany. I decided to create a character and, to make that time even worse, I put him in a situation with a vampire.”
John joined the army in 1964 and was enlisted into the Royal Northumberland Fusiliers, served for 12 years and rising to the rank of platoon sergeant.
After returning home to the north east, he set up a number of businesses and kept up his love of keeping fit and bodybuilding, going on to compete for a host of top titles, including Mr Universe, in 1991.
He was diagnosed with dyslexia shortly after leaving the Army so he has relied on the help of his wife Sylvia and their only son Lee, 44, to get his books finished.
“I can read and write, but I struggled with reading for a long time and that is why I had a lot of proofreading done on the books,” he said. “My family have been very supportive.”
John hopes that his books might one day be made into a TV show or film.
The first three books in The Vampire Hunter series cost £7 each and are available to buy at www.vampiresoldiers.com
Kindle editions are also available at www.amazon.co.uk
The fourth instalment will be out within the next few months.