First novel is just the ticket for Richard Taunton’s bus driver

School bus driver Sarah Davis is en route to the bestsellers list after publishing her first novel at 62.

The minibus driver is the author of When The First Conker Falls, an adventure mystery set mainly at the end of the First World War and in the 1960s.

She said it has been a life-long ambition to get into print. “My entire life I’ve always loved writing stories and I’ve always wanted to write a book,” she said. “I started this about four years ago and finished writing it last year.”

The book, set in rural Hampshire, tells the story of two animal-loving boys who rescue a dog but make an enemy in the process. The tale unfolds to reveal a family secret that leads to revenge and danger for the heroes.

The retired civil servant said although the story is fictional it does draw on her own childhood growing up near Farnborough. “There’s lots of things in there from my childhood, I just wanted to recall those more carefree childhoods that are not so common these days,” she said.

“It tried to capture what it was like back then living somewhere rural. Where I was brought up, the woods and the fields have all gone now.”

Miss Davis, who has worked at Richard Taunton for a year, has published the book on Amazon. “I’ve done everything myself,” she said. “I designed the cover and did all the formatting. I managed to self-teach myself online.”

She had support from friends and some fellow writers. “I belong to a small writing group in Romsey and we critique each other’s work and a couple of friends helped me proof read,” she said. Although this is her debut novel, she published a book of short stories, called Twists and Churns, a few years ago.

Her role at Richard Taunton involves picking up students in the morning. “I really enjoy it,” she said. “The pupils are all very good.”

The author, who is now working on a second novel set in the 1970s, will be at Richard Taunton’s Winter Festival on Saturday, December 3 selling copies and answering questions about writing and publishing.