A multi-million copy bestselling author from Lowestoft will launch his debut children’s book next week with his beloved east coast the centre of attention.

Popular crime author Mark Dawson has called on his seaside roots with the unveiling of a new series of mysterious and exciting adventures centring around the After-School Detective Club.

Renowned for thrillers for adults - including the John Milton, Beatrix Rose and Isabella Rose series - Mr Dawson's books have sold more than four million copies.

Hailing from Lowestoft, Mr Dawson recalled his time in the most easterly town along with "fun memories of crabbing at Walberswick and playing on Southwold beach" ahead of the first book in the new series - The Case of the Smuggler’s Curse - being published next Thursday, January 20.

Eastern Daily Press: The Case of the Smuggler's Curse front cover.The Case of the Smuggler's Curse front cover. (Image: Mark Dawson)

With the After-School Detective Club series set in Southwold, Mr Dawson - who now lives in Wiltshire - still returns to his hometown to see family and has a holiday home in Southwold.

Mr Dawson said: "The After-School Detective Club features a gang of children who find themselves involved in a series of mysterious and exciting adventures on the East Coast.

"The first book in the series, The Case of the Smuggler’s Curse, is set in Southwold and involves the ghost of a ‘wrecker’ - someone who lures ships to crash on the rocks so that the cargo can be stolen."

Having grown up in Lowestoft, Mr Dawson has fond memories of the town.

He said: "I lived in Lowestoft until I went to university when I was 18.

"I was schooled there – including Benjamin Britten High School – and still come back often to see my parents.

Eastern Daily Press: Lowestoft beach.Lowestoft beach. (Image: Mick Howes)

"It will always have fond memories for me, and, although it's not difficult to find people who moan about it these days, there is still a lot going for it – the beach, for example, is tough to beat anywhere in the country."

With time spent in Southwold having a major influence on the series of books, Mr Dawson said: "I've always loved the area, and have fun memories of crabbing at Walberswick and playing on Southwold beach and the pier.

Eastern Daily Press: Families crabbing on the River Blyth at Walberswick.Families crabbing on the River Blyth at Walberswick. (Image: Cathy Shelbourne)

"Southwold is such a beautiful town, and almost seems preserved from 60 or 70 years ago.

"We are lucky enough to have a house there and I try and visit as much as possible."

Mr Dawson has co-written the latest series of books with children’s author Allan Boroughs, which are illustrated by award-winning illustrator of children’s books, Ben Mantle, and published by Welbeck Flame.

Having read and loved stories by Enid Blyton as a child, the After-School Detective Club has been described as being "like a contemporary Famous Five".

Having started his career as a successful self-published author before turning to traditional publishing, Mr Dawson's latest challenge was to write a book for his own children – 10-year-old Freya and seven-year-old Samuel.

Describing the importance of this series for his family, and for keeping young people reading and engaged in books, Mr Dawson said: "I've been a full-time writer for nearly a decade, and I wanted to show my kids how the process works and what is possible.

"And, of course, it's so important to encourage reading in children.

"We are lucky that both of our kids enjoy losing themselves in books, and my daughter is often found writing stories of her own.

"I want to encourage that as much as possible."

With the new book suitable for readers aged eight plus, The Case of the Smuggler’s Curse by Mark Dawson and Allan Boroughs, illustrated by Ben Mantle, is published on January 20 by Welbeck Flame costing £6.99 in paperback original.

Eastern Daily Press: The Secret of Ragnar's Gold front cover, which will be published in June.The Secret of Ragnar's Gold front cover, which will be published in June. (Image: Mark Dawson)

The After-School Detective Club returns with the second book in the series, The Secret of Ragnar’s Gold, publishing on June 23.