LOCKDOWNS during the Covid-19 pandemic brought very little joy to very few people, but for Mark Sippings, it did at least give him the chance to pursue writing his second novel.

The 63-year-old, who has lived in Colchester since the 1960s, had already written his first book back in 2018, Cold Sunflowers, which sold thousands of copies in both the UK and the USA.

Now, he is hoping his second novel, Ordinary Angels, will enjoy similar acclaim.

Mr Sippings said the novel was partly inspired by some of the need for positivity, something which was lacking in the Covid-19 pandemic.

He said: “It was written mainly during lockdown – I had been looking at a few ideas and lockdown was so bloomin’ boring because we were all stuck indoors.

“I just needed something to escape and get away from things.

“I was kind of thinking about charisma and why some people have it and some people don’t; but maybe it’s not that they have charisma – maybe they’ve got a lot of fairies helping them and that’s what gives them a certain glow.

“All these people in the book may not have charisma but they are all in their own way doing something good – there is a bit of an angel in all of us, so that was the premise behind it.”

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Writing his second novel did not come without challenges, however.

The term ‘second album syndrome’ is a well-known and much feared term amongst musicians, but there is possibly a similar fear which grips writers too when they publish their second novel after a successful début.

He added: “It was harder writing the second book – I had the idea for my first book, Cold Sunflowers, since my early twenties.

“You feel a bit of pressure writing another book because you think ‘what are readers going to think about this book?’”

“I didn’t want Ordinary Angels to be another Cold Sunflowers book – I wanted it to have a happier ending.”

Ordinary Angels has already sold about 3,000 copies since it was released earlier this year, though Mr Sippings has said himself it could do with a something of a push.

“Sales have been a bit up and down,” he admitted.

“I kind of expected it to fly off the shelves.”

Anybody interested in exploring the novel further can visit Mark Sippings website via coldsunflowers.co.uk/ordinary-angels.