A FORMER editor of the Free Press has published five books in the last year.

Multi award-winning editor and writer Nic Outterside – who was editor at the Free Press between 2006 and 2013 - quit his 28 year career in newspaper and magazine journalism following a nervous breakdown in June that year.

He began the slow road to recovery under the watchful eyes of his doctor and part of the suggested therapy was writing about the life experiences which led to his breakdown. He did a lot of this through poetry.

His first paperback book The Hill - Songs and Poems of Darkness and Light, was published in November 2014. It was met with international orders and the first edition has almost sold out.

Nic then spent the next three years writing for personal pleasure, doing PR and editing work for online clients.

Then a chance meeting with a young Indian author from the Himalayas set in train an express of book publishing.

“In November 2017 I was approached by a 25-year-old writer from Almora in Northern India, who asked if I could edit her first novel,” he explains.

“I agreed, but the problem was she wanted it ready to publish in just five weeks… and she hadn’t even written the first word!

“It was at times hectic – communicating endlessly through emails and Skype calls – but we managed to publish Gauri – A Sin Between My Legs on time, on 9 January last year.”

The publication set in motion a chain of more contacts and other book projects from Nic’s small office in Wolverhampton.

Over the next 12 months Nic edited and published in paperback and Kindle e-book Luminance – Words for a World Gone Wrong, an anthology of international poetry by 14 writers from as far afield as Australia, Japan, Palestine and the USA. He also published Asian Voices, another anthology of essays, letters and poetry by 20 writers from India, Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Nic also found time to write, edit and publish his second book of songs and poems called Another Hill, plus a homage to his musical hero Bob Dylan entitled Blood in the Cracks.

Nic, whose partner is a "superb" proof reader, is currently working on a seventh book, with a working title of Death in Grimsby, a collection of short stories about following his home town football club Brighton and Hove Albion over 50 years. It is set for publication in May this year.

Further titles are scheduled for later in 2019 and 2020.

“I enjoyed a fabulous career in newspaper and magazine journalism,” says Nic. “And along the way also edited all kinds of publications, including leaflets, brochures and football programmes.

“But book publishing was a whole other world and I had to teach myself as I went along; especially with things like pagination and measuring the correct size margins and gutters for large format paperbacks.

“Now I am getting as much fun out of books as I did with newspapers and magazines.”