Man writes novel during oil career break after battling cancer

St Combs man Steven-John Tait, author of fiction novel Vagabundo
St Combs man Steven-John Tait, author of fiction novel Vagabundo

A north-east man has written a novel after facing the twin travails of a cancer battle and losing his job in the oil and gas downturn.

Steven-John Tait had just been given the all-clear after recovering from testicular cancer when his contract with BP was terminated in 2014.

But his problems persuaded the St Combs man to commit to writing the novel which he had always dreamed of bringing to fruition.

The 37-year-old, who was in the bottom class for English during his time at Fraserburgh Academy, only began enjoying books at the age of 16 when he read the Charles Dickens novel Great Expectations.

Leaving school to take up an apprenticeship was the catalyst for a career in oil and gas, which sent him travelling across the globe.

It was during that time he began writing after being inspired by stories passed on to him by his relatives.

Then, in 2013, Mr Tait was diagnosed with testicular cancer which made him question what he was doing with his future.

So, as a contractor, when he was told BP was facing financial difficulty and was cutting costs, he decided it was his chance to focus on writing.

Mr Tait said: “I was 32 and I didn’t want to look back thinking ‘I wish I had done that’, so I figured if, I don’t commit myself and write this now, I never will.

“I always did the sensible thing growing up – when my friends were taking a gap year I was buying a house – but I always wanted to travel and do something that left life open.

“When the cancer appeared, it was scary and made me realise that no one dies on their own terms, so after the treatment for that, I dedicated all my time to writing the novel.

“I was a hermit working on it, finishing it in St Combs in 2015.”

After meeting other people in the creative industry and attending a few seminars, Mr Tait was inspired to fine-tune his work after a tutor gave him a positive review.

Vagabundo, his coming-of-age novel, has now been published and Mr Tait has also found employment once again in oil and gas.

His book focuses on the life of Bruno in northern Brazil as he travels to a remote town and encounters challenges that forced him from his city years before.

Vagabundo is available in Books and Beans in Aberdeen and in Fraserburgh newsagents.

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