David Honeywell

My recent book signing event at York’s Waterstones, where I was signing copies of my new autobiography, Never Ending Circles, gave me some time to reflect.

Writing your life story really does bring about psychological and emotional changes inside you but little did I expect the life changes that would follow after becoming a ‘respected author’.

Being respected in York is something I never expected to be because almost 30 years ago I walked into a store just on the outskirts of the City and held it up wielding a 7-inch dagger. Then 27 years later, I was made a Freeman of the City through birthright and now I am being greeted by the Lord Mayor for my work.

York has deeply routed ancestry for me on my mother’s side of the family dating back centuries where 24 members were Freeman. And I feel I now owe it to their memory, victims of crime, myself and my own family to try and put right my wrongdoings.

I started doing this by writing my memoirs in the hope to inspire others that lives can be turned around. Delving into my innermost has forced me to change my life – so much that I have moved back to the City where my criminal life began all those years ago.

It’s as though I have been catapulted back in time but now I am a much wiser person. As I continued to write my memoirs, things inside me started to change. I developed a burning desire to revisit old haunts and track down old friends I had lost contact with over 20 years ago then to go back and start all over again.

It has made me see where things had gone wrong – not just by thinking back – but by standing in the actual places I used to frequent and soaking in the ambience mixed with sadness and relief that they are now distant memories.

I now have a new lease of life and passion for revisiting the past to put things right. York is where it all began and as I plan for tomorrow I feel so humbled that the Lord Mayor is coming along especially to see me in all his regalia. This I hope will be the start of us working together within communities.

Before it all starts though I will be in BBC Radio York talking about the contents of the book. Radio and TV have been a great source of publicity ranging from commentating on recent news headlines to discussing where I’m coming from with my book.

The book signings have been a great way of networking and being able to cut my teeth in the publishing world. I have to say though I am pleasantly surprised by the level of interest from local people who just want to read about real life which is very encouraging. I think a lot of people have a story to tell and publishing their book could a lot easier than they think.

This is why I have now set up my own publishing house name, Nocton Publishing, with a view to publishing inspirational stories.

I think there should always be a theme. Mine was to show that I could relate to every aspect of life from alcohol abuse, depression, incarceration to relationship problems and employment issues. It worked because I have as many people asking for my book who have experienced mental health issues and depression as I have from ex-cons and universities.

It has been the most humbling experience personally, but the most rewarding thing for me will be the lives it helps to change. Even if it’s just making someone who is suffering realise they are not alone, to showing that with determination, you can turn your life around.

You can buy David’s book ‘Never Ending Circles’, here.

Taken from Issue 15

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