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Horror fall provides inspiration for book
ALEX Wyndham Baker’s frequent career moves have taken him all over the world, and provided lots of colourful material for his first novel.
The former graphic designer from Fyfield, near Abingdon, thought he had hit rock bottom when he fell off a rock face in northern Kenya in 2005.
But as he was recovering from the fall, Mr Wyndham Baker took the opportunity to write Cursive, a novel based on his travels around the globe.
The debut book was initially self-published online, but has now been picked up by Cutting Edge Press.
After working as a barman in Los Angeles, a TV reporter in Bangkok, a mojito vendor on a beach in Barcelona and a hotel inspector in India, the 43-year-old now has another career option as a novelist.
Mr Wyndham Baker said: “I was trying to climb a tricky overhang and fell 40ft, shattering my pelvis, two vertebrae and both my ankles. I was lucky I wasn’t paralysed.
“When I was recovering, my father Mark, a retired civil servant, asked me what I had been doing on my travels for the past 15 years and I said ‘research for a novel’.
“After that I thought it was time to have a go at writing it and started to put the story together, which is partly based on my own experiences.
“I had a false start when I accidentally deleted about 50,000 words, but I was pleased with the novel when I finished it and I’m now working on a second.
“The story has been described as an indie sleeper hit and is now on sale in places like Blackwell’s book shop in Broad Street, Oxford and on Amazon.
“It is also being sold at the Albion Beatnik bookshop in Walton Street where I am planning to give a talk in the near future.”
After studying graphic design at Reading University from 1987 to 1991, Mr Wyndham Baker embarked on his travels and worked in a variety of roles in India, Thailand, and Spain.
On one occasion he motorbiked from Southern India to China, and this episode helped to provide the inspiration for the novel’s main character Ralph Talbot, who voyages around the globe in the 1930s.
Mr Wyndham Baker added: “At some point I had the epiphany that you can work anywhere in the world and if you work on a voluntary basis you can get your bed and board for free.
“At the moment I’m considering a voluntary teaching post in Sri Lanka.
“Travelling has its own momentum and the more of the world you see, the more you want to see.”
Mr Wyndham Baker is currently single and says settling down with a family would be a different kind of adventure.
“Perhaps I haven’t met the right woman yet or I have lost her along the way,” he added.
Cursive by Alex Wyndham Baker is published by Cutting Edge Press, priced at £14.99.
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