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Honeymoon trip inspires crime reporter’s debut novel

Michael StewardA crime reporter has published his debut novel after being inspired by his honeymoon.

Michael Steward, who works for the East Anglian Daily Times and Ipswich Star, spent six weeks in China in 2013 as part of an extended 10-month honeymoon with his wife and decided to set the book in Beijing.

The thriller, entitled Harvest, follows two private detectives on a hunt for a missing British teacher in the Chinese capital.

Michael, pictured, said writing the book has been “a labour of love”.

The 41-year-old added: “I think I started the book just after the honeymoon trip and put down the first 5,000 or 10,000 words pretty quickly.

“Then I left it alone for a long time, and life got in the way really. My wife and I had two children, I changed careers into journalism and it was one of those things I kept meaning to go back to.

“I picked it up again probably in 2017 and started chipping away, a few hundred words a night. I finished the first draft in February 2020 so this isn’t a lockdown book – it’s just taken me this long to get it up to scratch.

“I’m absolutely delighted to finally get it out there and I hope people will enjoy reading it.”

Michael described Beijing as the “perfect setting” for the book, which can be bought here as an e-book or paperback.

The father-of-two said: “We visited many countries on our trip but I have to say I loved China the most.

“It was such a different culture, and the people were incredibly welcoming and friendly.

“It was probably quite ambitious of me to set the book there, but I just felt it made such a great backdrop for the story.”