Two former journalists who both began their careers on the Falmouth Packet are celebrating the launch of their first novel produced together.

Lottery Loveboat is an expanded adaptation of a book originally written and self-published as a limited edition for charity four years ago, by Mike Truscott.

Francesca Hanikova, who trained under Mike in the early 1980s, has acted as agent and editor in securing a contract with mainstream publisher, Whisper Publishing.

The story, written under the pen name Mel Penrose, tells of shy, middle-aged Harold Pettigrew whose life-changing lottery win sees him on a cruise with six women with various motives for being there.

Mike and Francesca have already written a second novel, a Cornwall-based intrigue, with more in the pipeline. While the books are stand-alone titles, all are set in in the fictional town of Porthcoombe, which is loosely based on Falmouth.

Francesca and Mike work on the manuscript together

Francesca and Mike work on the manuscript together

“Although our careers went off in different directions, we kept in touch and finally met up again in 2016,” said Mike, who did his own Packet training in the late 1960s.

“Francesca later persuaded me to dust off the original story with a view to wider distribution and the Mel Penrose collaboration was born.”

Francesca added: “Working together again has been good fun and we’ve not had any major issues in writing as a duo. We bring different skills to the keyboard that have made the partnership a winner and helped us secure a publisher in the highly-competitive fiction market.”

The cover of Lottery Loveboat

The cover of Lottery Loveboat

Following his newspaper career, Cornish-born Mike ran his own PR company for 25 years before retiring and taking up writing local history books, then fiction.

Married with two adult daughters, he lives in Falmouth and, as well as writing, enjoys painting, walking, swimming and blogging.

After working on local papers and radio, Francesca moved into PR, working in the UK and abroad. A keen walker, cyclist and circuit-training fan, she is married with five adult children and lives near Hayle.

  • Lottery Loveboat is now available in both Kindle and paperback, price £1.99 and £6.99 respectively, on Amazon.