Joe Craig never set out to be a writer of children's adventure books.

But with one book recently published Jimmy Coates: Killer, released by Harper Collins, a significant part of which is set in Finchley and a sequel on the way, the 25-year-old Cambridge philosophy graduate may be becoming more successful than he could have imagined.

"I always wanted to be a musician and I found myself writing almost by accident since I was 13, when my dad got a new computer and gave me his old one," he said.

"I felt I had to justify having it."

Feeling there were things he needed to get off his chest, he carried on writing and even took a year off before university, during which time he produced two-and-a-half books which he claims are wacky' and unreadable'.

It was only after he had finished university where Joe, of Woodside Lane, North Finchley, wrote his first musical that he felt he had produced something worth reading.

The result was a spy thriller aimed at readers of nine years and older.

But he remained a reluctant author. "I hadn't considered it as an option," he admitted. "It seemed very intellectual to me and my family are into books. If anyone in my family was going to be a writer, it wasn't going to be me. I was the one to give up English after GCSE.

"The stories I come up with seem to be suited to the younger market, possibly because my brain hasn't grown up yet and I'm closer to being 11 myself."

Joe's novel may also appeal to locals, with many references to distinct areas of the borough.

"It's going to add an extra level of authenticity. The main character doesn't live in Finchley, but he is sent to investigate a mysterious man whose headquarters are there," he said.

"It's a combination of knowing Finchley very well and of laziness I think there will be references to Finchley and Barnet in every book I write."

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