Eccentric Gwynedd author Mike Leaver has revealed ambitious plans for 2024!

Single pensioner Mike, who lives totally off-grid in a self-converted lorry on a Porthmadog business park, aims to build on his recent book-writing successes by achieving four key tasks this year.

Over the next six months, Mike, 71, who has no mod cons nor communications whatsoever, will publish his fifth book in five years, feature in an international TV documentary about his unconventional life, develop an author website, and compete regularly in a Gwynedd chess league team!

Vegetarian Mike says he is slowly adjusting to being called a ‘local celebrity’ after the Cambrian News and then UK media highlighted how he’s lived cheaply on just £40 a week of his state pension and sustainably (all his heating, power, and lighting are very low impact) in a now-immobile truck for the last 30 years!

Mike says: “My friend and publicist Ian Spindley has definitely made sure my name, face, and sensible lifestyle are promoted to help sell my four books to date. Most readers like to start with my general-life autobiography Yeti Seeks Mate, then try my three saga novels (Nork From Nowhere; The Ice Cream Terrorist; and Newspaper Curtains) mainly written for mature ladies.

“We have recently signed a deal with my publishers The Book Guild Ltd for my fifth book to be printed this summer! It’s a companion volume to Yeti, but focuses specifically on my travel troubles and many outdoor misadventures home and abroad over 65 years.

“It has an equally bizarre title - yet to be revealed - but this time with some climbing and mountaineering photos to illustrate a few hair-raising situations!”

Mike’s second task is to handle the extra public interest an international TV documentary – filmed in Porthmadog in January by a former BBC World Service producer – might generate when released globally this spring.

The London-based freelance discovered Mike via the Cambrian News online. A reel and YouTube video produced by Mike’s friend and business neighbour, Pete Barton at BabiPur, last year got 1.5 million hits!

Thirdly, Mike agrees now’s the time to develop his first website with his publishers. Though he vows never to have internet-based technology, and lets Ian handle his email, digital, and social media, Mike accepts a website will better promote his books and make it easier for his growing band of almost 500 friends/followers to get in touch, if they wish.

“I only have an old, battery-powered laptop to write my manuscripts. No phone, television, computer or even a fridge – and I’m perfectly happy! I do have a letter-box in my lorry door, and occasionally readers from up to 250 miles away write a lovely letter to me!” he says.

Mike’s final task is to secure a regular place on the Caernarfon team in the Gwynedd chess league.

He played a couple of times at Gwynedd level last year, but has since studied, practised, and improved enough to become a regular this season!

He has also started to visit a new, monthly, community chess club in Machynlleth, and still plays both chess and table tennis as a member of Porthmadog University of the Third Age (U3A).

“Last autumn I did my first-ever public speaking engagement, at Porthmadog U3A. I was really nervous but spoke unscripted for nearly an hour. They said it was great and gave me a standing ovation.

“As a result, Ian tells me we’ve already got at least six book-promotion events planned this year – in Porthmadog, at a new book club in Harlech, and as far as Worcester – along with the four tasks and my busy-enough social life. Still, it’s good to keep active when you retire,” Mike adds.