In 1988, I was twelve. A man from my village church read a story I’d written at school and told me I should pursue writing as a career. I ignored his advice, as I had already decided to be a vet.

I am not a vet.

There are times I’m not even sure I’m a writer.

And, although I ignored that guy’s advice back when I was twelve, I did have a few stabs at writing before I got into it seriously.

My job as a youth worker involved a fair amount of writing – mostly panto-style dramas and school assemblies, but by 2007 I was also preaching fairly regularly. Crafting sermons was intense. It was hard work that often took me late into the night. And it wasn’t just the content that took the time, but the style as well, and most Saturday evenings would find me preaching through a sermon to an empty room in an effort to get just the right inflections and turns of phrase.

Eventually this lead to the Christian publishing company, CWR, asking me to write a couple of Bible study books, shortly followed by a four-part series on spiritual discipline, called VITAL.

When I left church work in 2012 and was wondering what I was going to do next, writing seemed the obvious choice. At first I settled for ghostwriting other people’s books, both fiction and the other sort. Then, in July 2013, I decided to write a novel in my own name. The result was Montgomery’s Trouble in the Underworld – a novel aimed at 9-12 year olds, though to date it is mostly adults who have actually read it!

And if the books happen to pay any bills or even buy me a meal out with my wife, I’m unlikely to complain much.

All this goes to show that it’s worth listening to old guys in church, because sometimes they just might know what they’re talking about.

Phin lives in Hampshire, UK, with his wife, Marie, and their children David, Jonathan, Josiah and Elisha. Their home on a residential housing estate also doubles up as a microholding, which is basically a shrunk down version of a smallholding.
  • JoinedMay 27, 2014


Stories by Phin Hall
Let's Make It A Good One by PhinHall
Let's Make It A Good One
A short story based on Jack the Ripper's last victim, Mary Jane Kelly. I'm not suggesting this is actually wh...
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Despite its prime location in the heart of Luke’s Gospel, the parable of the Shrewd Manager is not popular –...
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The Winner by PhinHall
The Winner
Short story about a nervous guy who wins the lottery