Best-selling Grimsby author Dean Williams returns to roots with book-signing
THE latest chapter in the life of a Grimsby football hooligan-turned best-selling author unfolded this weekend, as fans queued to meet him.
As reported, Grimsby Telegraph readers have been gripped by extracts of The Tearaway, which were serialised in the paper last week, ahead of author Dean – "Deano" – Williams' book signing at Waterstones, Grimsby.
The self-confessed thug – who was known as "The Spike Thrower" after being arrested for throwing part of a bike – based the book on his life growing up on Grimsby's Bradley Park estate.
The novel recounts the abusive upbringing Mr Williams had, which he admits led him onto the slippery slope as a football hooligan following Grimsby Town, and the violence he encountered and took part in on Grimsby's streets.
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Since signing a publishing deal with Simon & Schuster, the book has shot into the UK top ten charts, received interest from a TV documentary maker – and even piqued the interest of Hollywood, with the chance of a film starring Gary Oldman.
And on Saturday, friends and book buffs gathered to have their pictures taken and their books signed by the former Hereford School pupil.
Mr Williams, who now lives in Kent after leaving Grimsby at the age of 21, said: "It's good to be back home and I have had such an amazing response from people in Grimsby.
"Most are afraid to reveal touchy subjects, but I think people learn from it and it's like opening a treasure chest of surprises.
"I would have been happy selling one copy, and with selling 13,000, I am overwhelmed.
"It certainly wasn't what I expected, and I was surprised and proud to be published by such an established company as Simon & Schuster.
"I am working on my next novel Ram Raid, which will be out next year, and I will be featuring as a main character in a film called Shades Of Darkness."
One of the first people to get their book signed was Steve Drinkell, of Grimsby, who grew who up with Dean.
"I have known him since I was about 11 years old, and we used to live around the corner from each other," said Steve.
"We used to play a lot of football together and I think it's brilliant the way he has turned his life around. It's great to see him in his home town, and I can't wait to read the book – I have even got one signed for my partner Katy."
Julie, who features in the book as Dean's former girlfriend, was at the signing with her father, who is also mentioned in the book as "Julie's dad."
Despite saying she wouldn't recognise him now – adding she hasn't seen him for over 20 years – she said: "I can tell it's Dean from the way he talks."
She added: "I have read the book and I think it is down to his honesty why people enjoy reading it.
"We met when we were 17 years old and I think I was let off lightly in the book – there wasn't too much about me. It made me remember the past which I had forgotten about.
"I'm proud of his success and the way he has turned his life around."
Ellie Marchant-Williams, event organiser at Waterstones, said it's important to support local authors.
"This is a very popular book signing, and a lot of people have been asking when he was arriving," she said.
"Fans have even left books to be signed by him and I think it's great that he has made it.
Get a copy
Readers of the Grimsby Telegraph can buy a copy of The Tearaway (RRP £6.99) at the discounted price of £5.99 (including p&p). To do so, please call Reader Offers on 01872 562327 and quote TEARAWAY.
Alternatively visit Waterstones in Freshney Place, or visit www.efcbookshop.com
The next book signing to take place at the store will be on Wednesday, September 26, when best-selling author Gervase Phinn will be touring with his latest work, The Little Village School.
Visit Waterstones online at www.waterstones.com/waterstonesweb