Surviving cancer inspired dad-of-three Philip Gould to write new novel

Philip Gould, of Ipswich, has just self-published the first book in a trilogy.

Philip Gould, of Ipswich, has just self-published the first book in a trilogy. - Credit: Su Anderson

A cancer survivor from Ipswich has said battling the deadly disease inspired him to write his first fiction novel.

Dad-of-three Philip Gould, 41, will launch young adult thriller The Girl in the Mirror tomorrow.

The action-packed tale, the first in a trilogy, tracks the perils of 16-year-old heroine Sophie Jennings, a genetically enhanced soldier with the ability to turn invisible.

He said: “It took a while for me to rehabilitate, but beating cancer made me appreciate how lucky I am to be alive. It certainly puts things into perspective.

“The disease can take over your life, but I was determined not to let it.”

Just days after being made redundant in 2003, Philip, who is dad to Rebecca, nine, Sophie, seven, and Matthew, four, developed Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

With the help and support of wife Beth, 32, he endured six months of chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

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And although his Guinness-inspired non-fiction book, The Book of Alternative Records, was published during his cancer battle in 2004, Philip admits he hit a wall and felt he could not carry on.

“Writing The Book of Alternative Records really took it out of me, and because I was so tired from the treatment I didn’t feel like doing anything, let alone writing any more books,” he added.

But when he suffered a bout of unrelated testicular cancer in 2009, Philip left his job in insurance to pursue a lifelong ambition of becoming a fiction writer.

“I had to rethink my whole life plan. I realised life is so short and you have to make the most of it. Ever since I was about 13 or 14 I’ve wanted to do this.

“By writing I can do something I have always wanted to do and spend more time with my family,” the novelist said.

The second instalment of the trilogy, The Sons of Gyges, is already written and has a release date of Easter 2016.

The Girl in the Mirror is released for public sale on Tuesday and is avaliable for pre-order on Amazon now.