Exmouth author's new crime-thriller tackles tough issue of mental health in military

PUBLISHED: 11:53 05 July 2018 | UPDATED: 12:17 06 July 2018

Writer Paul Stretton-Stephens with his latest book. Ref exe 25 18TI 6035. Picture: Terry Ife

Writer Paul Stretton-Stephens with his latest book. Ref exe 25 18TI 6035. Picture: Terry Ife

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An Exmouth veteran's newly published crime novel promises high-octane thrills while raising awareness of mental health issues.

Paul Stretton Stephens, 55, from Exmouth, released new novel Shades of Loyalty, on June 21, as the sequal to The Plastic Paradigm.

The novel is the second in a series featuring charismatic ex-Royal Marine and Royal Military Policeman Jack Jago.

Paul said: “If people want an intriguing read and they like thrillers, then this is a new series for them to get into. Many people say once they start a book they can’t put it down.

“I write the book as if it’s a movie, in my head, so I can picture the scenes, pause and rewind. It helps me make a fast-paced book – there’s always something happening in the scenes.”

But as well as conveying ‘a world of duty, expectation, divided loyalties and revenge’, the book also deals with issues of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and the armed forces.

Paul said: “I want to raise awareness; people put their lives on the line and others need to appreciate it – they keep our country safe.”

Paul, of Morton Crescent, uses his own experience as an ex-Royal Marine to shine a spotlight on the challenges of transitioning from military to civilian life.

He said: “I was in the services years ago, but remember it as if it was yesterday; it never goes away. I don’t know any other occupation where it would do that.”

His sight became impaired in 2002, but Paul says it hasn’t stopped him from enjoying a range of activities, including regular overseas travel, sailing and learning to play the guitar.

He said: “If someone’s sight is taken from them, there is help out there and they need to ask.”

Paul promotes a number of relevant charities, including Blind Veterans UK, the Royal Marines Charity and the RNIB (Royal National Institute of Blind People).

He added: “People who are visually impaired can see something, but people on the street don’t understand that. People automatically assume you don’t work, but one in four visually impaired people do work – writing is work and I write with a microphone.”

Shades of Loyalty is available to buy in eBook, Paperback and Audio versions. To find out more visit http://pstretton-stephens.com/

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