From engineering Neanderthals, black death comedy, and Tranmere Rovers players a Wirral-born author is set to release his fourth book on June 1 with a US publishing company.

John Drake was born and raised in Greasby until he moved to Dublin in 2005 when he was aged 28.

Unlike most authors, John was never interested in writing and never enjoyed English lessons at school.

He said: “I hated that it involved lots of writing.

“I never wrote a simple, cute story as a six-year-old, I never wrote one about playing football for my favourite team as a teenager, and I grew into adulthood without once picking up a pen in anger.

“The idea that one day I would write a book, let alone three historical ones, was preposterous.”

While in his twenties, John worked in a sales office in Liverpool where his colleagues would ask him to write their complaint letters to businesses they felt had wronged them.

John said: “I enjoyed weaving their situation into a coherent and infallible grievance. But that was it. I still hadn’t written a single word of fiction, despite the gently growing calls from those around me.

“They would say, ‘you should write a book’ as they often do. I would nod placatingly and ignore the well-meaning advice.”

Despite not being an avid writer John enjoyed reading and he devoured the satirical works of Terry Pratchett, Douglas Adams, P G Wodehouse, and Oscar Wilde.

“I could find nothing similar out there for people like me. As the years wore on, I began to think more and more that perhaps I could write something to combat this dearth,” he said.

Four years ago, at the age of 40, John decided to give writing a go thinking nothing would come of it.

He said: “I did not, and still don’t, consider myself to have a particularly creative mind, so when it came to thinking of a story, I drew an emphatic blank.

“Eventually I chose something unusual, something never done in novel form before to the best of my knowledge. I landed on a Neanderthal comedy.”

John began writing about a Neanderthal main character who was an engineer and started to build the story despite not knowing what the plot was.  

He said: “I was motoring along, adding no more than a few words each day, until I finally wrote The End.”

John then went on to write his second book, a satire set during the Black Death and his third book a Genghis Khan comedy.

He said: “All three were chosen because I hadn’t seen anything similar before, and the last two were also subjects I had general interest in.”

Now set to release his fourth book, Zoomers, a sci-fi comedy set on a planet called Arcadia, John tells the Globe where he gets his inspiration from.

Wirral Globe: John's fourth book Zoomers by Three Ravens PublishingJohn's fourth book Zoomers by Three Ravens Publishing

He said: “I draw from a whole range of material when it comes to finding comedy.

“Everyday life is full of humour if you look at it through the right lens.

“My second novel, Cheating Death, is set during the Black Death of 14th century Europe, which isn't exactly famous for its one-liners, but there is so much comedy that can be drawn from it.

“If you're happy to address the taboo subjects of the day, especially the role religion played in people's behaviour at the time, then anything can (and should be) funny.

“I also like to drop in the occasional Easter Egg for those in the know, particularly characters named after places or people from the Wirral. Several of my characters are named after ex-Tranmere Rovers players, for example.”

Zoomers is released on June 1 and will be published by US firm Three Ravens Publishing.

John said: “This is my fourth novel now, but this one feels different to the others.

“Terry Pratchett once said he didn't know how to write a book properly until he was on to his fourth, and that certainly rings true for me.

“I have learned so much from my first three and Zoomers is the culmination of years of hard work, experience and dedication.

“The feedback I have received from the early readers fills me with  an unfamiliar confidence.

“The greatest compliment I have received to date is when a reader told me it was as good as Douglas Adams' Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy.

“It doesn't get much better than that for me!”