JASON Cook was just 12-years-old when he began selling drugs from his bedroom.
By the age of 16, he had started using Class A drugs and was involved with gangsters in his home town of Borehamwood.
Following his third overdose, Jason was arrested and sent to prison for two years and nine months - an experience which changed his life for the better.
"I joined the education programme, taking computer studies and also volunteered for a drug free wing, where I was given help and support to kick my drug habit," remembers the 39-year-old who now works as a doorman at The Farmer's Boy in St Albans.
"As part of the rehabilitation programme we were encouraged to start writing about our experiences, which I have continued with, and it is what inspired me to write my first book - There’s No Room for Jugglers in my Circus."
A father-of-five, Jason has recently published the third in a series of four books based on his life which he hopes will warn others not to fall into the same traps he did.
A Nice Little Earner sees the lead character Cookster pulled back into an international under world ruled by cocaine where he once again finds himself embroiled in drug smuggling, dirty money and blackmail.
"The books are about my life growing up and the tribulations I faced being used as a chess piece in the London crime world," says the Borehamwood resident. "I hope the message will go out that people should learn from my experiences."
Jason, who is also an actor and producer, regularly gives talks at libraries about his work and his novels are used in drug awareness groups.
His books have been met with widespread acclaim, outselling Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code in a Borehamwood branch of WH Smiths, and he is working on the next in the quadrilogy.
He reflects: "Now people are looking at me in a different light. It has been an amazing achievement."
To celebrate the release of A Nice Little Earner, available from authorjasoncook.com, Jason is giving away signed copies of his books as part of a competition. For details visit his website or www.facebook.com/groups/1389164961401377