THIS distinctively dressed man lives in Westcliff and describes himself as a "British adventurer, dedicated day dreamer, wordsmith and observer of life and all its absurdities".

This is Julian Cundy, a published author who has just released his first novella, Into the Summerland.

The story blends elements of spirituality, self-development and adventure, "prompting readers to reflect on their own life’s journeys and behaviours".

It is set around Henry Ashton, who has led a turbulent life and now on his death bed discovers how elusive the final peace can be. Slipping into what appears to be a drug-induced dream he meets Chuttlewizz ,his spirit companion who will be accompany him on his final journey and help reconcile the events of his mortal life.

Walking his own path to absolution, Henry must open the door to six chambers which will reveal to him some of the darkest and happiest times from during his life. From revisiting his childhood and reflecting on the behaviour of his indifferent father, to the actions he undertook on the battlefields of Europe, the demons of addiction and the initial joys and laughter of his early marriage, Henry is forced to return to, and reconcile with, these vivid and often painful memories if he is ever going to walk the final step towards inner peace.

Julian said: “Into the Summerland came to me in a dream. It’s taken a couple of years to complete because the manuscript was coming in at around 20,000 words which is novella-sized.

“My previous books have all been full-novel length so I tried enhancing and expanding it, but it always felt like padding.

“So I accepted the story was the right length it needed to be and released it as my first novella.

“It’s quite a departure in style from my previous travelogue and thriller books. There is a more thoughtful, even spiritual element which is why it was released under my middle name Julian to reflect the different style and flavour of expression.”

Into the Summerland by Julian Cundy is published by Little Bang Publishing and is available from online retailers including Amazon.