English teacher Pete Tanton is never short of inspiration for his humorous writing.
Originally from Alabama, USA, Pete settled in the North East after meeting his Geordie wife Louise more than a decade ago.
He has worked as a travelling violin salesman, a publisher's stockroom assistant, professional musician and bicycle racer before settling down in a teaching role at St Thomas More School in Gateshead.
By pure coincidence, Pete's grandad was born in County Durham so he was familiar with the Geordie way of life.
Last year the 39-year-old was picked from 400 entries as best new novelist by UK publishers Tonto Press, based in Newcastle. As well as the kudos, part of the winning package included a publishing deal for his entry novel Johnny Lonely.
It's the story of a neurotic young musician who leaves his parochial Alabama home town in search of his estranged brother in Los Angeles. It has proved a massive success already.
In 2004, an early draft won the Fresh Fiction Prediction award at the 2004 New Writing North Fresh Fiction Festival.
"The story starts out in Alabama but I think it translates beautifully to Newcastle," the dad-of-one explains. "It's a beautiful and vibrant city but there is still a very small town feel.
"A lot of the kids I work with want to leave and 'make it', but will probably come back. They think Newcastle is small but actually there's so much here, and they'll realise that.
"My book is a comedy, really. I don't think there's a moral message in it. It has happy ending and is hopefully a good, fun read."
Johnny Lonely is available from Tonto Press now.
You can read more about Johnny Lonely and pre-order a copy here.