There's a good tradition of poets leading second lives as novelists, and in particular as writers of what gets called 'genre fiction' (too often that term is used rather dismissively).
David Harsent and Jane Holland are two current names that immediately spring to mind, and they're now joined by Craig Sterling, better known as Edinburgh poet James Wood.
His debut novel, Stealing Fire, will be published by Leamington Books on 23rd June, and is being distributed at airports by WH Smith/BAA plc, by Blackwell Books and other high street retailers, plus, of course, online from the likes of Amazon.
You can find a website on the book here, a YouTube video on it here, and there's even four bottles of champagne on offer for the best review of Stealing Fire under 250 words submitted before 31st August 2011.
If you're actually in Edinburgh on the 23rd, Leamington Books will be giving away 50 copies at Edinburgh Airport between 8am and 10am, and the launch party will be at Blackwell Books (Edinburgh) at 6.30pm.
Now, Craig/James has said that his sole intention was to create a novel that was fun to write, and hopefully fun to read, too. And it is. I was lucky enough to see an advance copy, and it's the sort of rattling, rollicking read that you're very grateful for on a long train or plane journey. I used to be a big reader of thrillers, although I'd have to admit that I'm more familiar with Jack Higgins/Freddie Forsyth era stuff than the new giants of the genre, and Stealing Fire is a book that does exactly what you'd want it to do. It's pacy, exciting, funny in places, and above all, it grabs your attention and refuses to let go. Get hold of a copy and see what I mean...