A BARRHEAD chef who only took up reading five years ago has had his first book published.

Fantasy adventure 'Dream Theatre,' by John Bracken, has attracted a lot of interest since it went on sale at the end of March.

John is hoping his success will encourage more people from a working class background to discover the power of the pen.

He also admits he wasted his years at Barrhead High School and only left with basic qualifications.

For 18 years, he worked at the Uplawmoor Hotel and, for the last six years, has been based at Glasgow University, where he is a sous chef.

When he first took up his role at the university, he showed teaching staff a draft of Dream Theatre and was told it needed more work.

John said: "They liked the idea but said they could tell it had been written by someone who had never read a book.

"I then made the decision to take up reading and my first book was Trainspotting, because I had liked the movie.

"From there, I read Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter and then went on to the classics like Frankenstein and Dracula. Since then, I have read about 40 books.

"When I was growing up, there was a stigma attached to reading if you were someone from my background but, in fact, it should be encouraged."

John first came up with the idea for Dream Theatre a decade ago but couldn't find a publisher.

As he began to read more and more books, he was able to make the necessary improvements and found a firm willing to print it.

He added: "I am hoping that my experience will encourage others from my background to take up writing.

"There seems to be a school of thought that you have to be well educated to write but that is not the case.

"It doesn't matter where you're from, we all have stories to share.

"I was never motivated by money, my dream was just to have my story published and have people read it."

John, who is married with two young children, said copies of Dream Theatre have been sold as far afield as Canada and Australia.

Encouraged by this early success, he is planning three more books but still regrets not knuckling down at school.

John, who is originally from Barrhead but now lives in Neilston, added: "It would have made a big difference to me if I had.

"School was a waste of time because I didn't stick in.

"It is one of my biggest regrets and I wish I could go back and do it all again."

Dream Theatre is published by AuthorHouse UK and can be bought online for £16.95 at www.authorhouse.com/en-GB/bookstore/bookdetails/848500-dream-theatre.