A former Graeme High School pupil has been released from a high security prison in America.
However, Sean Black (41), who was brought up in Falkirk, is not an ex-con.
If he is guilty of a crime, it is of giving the readers of his novels sleepless nights as they turn page after page to find out what will happen to bodyguard Ryan Lock.
Sean’s first book ‘Lockdown’ (2009) was named as a Daily Telegraph Thriller of the Year and he was only ‘doing time’ in California’s Pelican Bay supermax prison to research his new novel, ‘Deadlock’.
He said: “Pelican Bay Supermax is a very frightening and depressing place. It holds 3500 inmates, 75 per cent of whom are serving life sentences with no possibility of parole.
“Before I was allowed in I was told they have a ‘no hostages’ policy so, if I was taken hostage, they would not negotiate for my release.”
Sean, who now lives in Dublin with his wife and 10-year-old daughter, left Falkirk when he was 18, but his early experiences in the area have stayed with him.
“I still go back to Polmont, which is where my parents live, and, wherever I am in the world, I always keep an eye out for the Falkirk score,’’ he said.
“Where you grow up will always have a big influence on who you are as a person. While Ryan Lock, my main character, is American, he embodies a lot of good Scottish values.”
His novels feature high octane entertainment, but Sean admitted he did not exactly set the English department on fire when he was at Graeme High.
“I wasn’t the best at English to be honest – I don’t think anyone would have picked me out as a future novelist. What I have become quite good at though is telling a fast-paced story with lots of twists and turns.”
It’s been a long slog to literary success for Sean.
He said: “I taught at an FE college in Newcastle, but I was writing screenplays and short stories during that time.
“It only took me 20 years to be an overnight success.”
A portion of Sean’s royalties from his book are being donated to The Mark Wright Project, a Scotland-based charity which offers support to ex-servicemen and women.