A former Reporter Series journalist is publishing a book with a major fiction publisher, about two best friends in love.
Author Jimmy Rice, 33, worked on the newsdesk at the Spenborough Guardian for three years before moving to London to co-author The Best Thing That Never Happened To Me.
Mr Rice, who reported in Scholes, Hunsworth and Cleckheaton, said it was at the Reporter Series where he first developed his writing skills.
He said: “It was the best grounding I could have had as a journalist and a writer. I was really sad to leave and I’ll always have a soft spot for my patch.”
The romantic comedy, written with fellow journalist and author Laura Tait, follows the lives of two friends and would-be lovers who get back in touch after both moving to London.
Described by Mr Rice as “a story of the one that got away”, the book focuses on second chances as the two friends give perspective on why they lost touch after first meeting at Sheffield University.
Mr Rice, of Grimsby, writes the character of Alex, a boy from a fictional northern town who moves to London after becoming tired of small-town gossip and everyone knowing his business.
“Having both a male and female perspective hopefully sets us apart from the competition. We take it in turns to write chapters,” he said. “It’s a hopefully edgy romantic comedy.”
Mr Rice also runs a dating blog, plentymorefishoutofwater.com, which he set up while working at the Reporter Series. It details his unsuccessful dating experience and life as a single man after splitting up with his girlfriend.
“I’d like to say I was single because I was so dedicated to my patch, but it was because all my dates seemed to be disasters.
“In the end I thought, I write for a living, so why not write about them?” he said.
The novel, described by publishers Transworld as a book for fans of Notting Hill director Richard Curtis, is released as an ebook April 10 and later as a paperback July 3.
Transworld, part of the Random House Group, has published authors Dan Brown, Terry Pratchett and Sophie Kinsella.