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Freshwater chief executive’s debut novel follows Welsh athlete into deadly culture of steroid abuse

The debut novel from Freshwater founder and chief executive, Steve Howell, is to be published on 1 March 2015.

Over The Line explores the rise in steroid abuse for image-enhancing body-building and its potentially deadly consequences for teenage boys caught up in it.

A former journalist with BBC Wales, Radio Wales and the South Wales Argus, Steve has had a life-long involvement in sport, including competing in track and field. He was moved to write by high-profile sporting drug scandals and a parallel, less-publicised issue of the worrying growth steroid use outside sport.

Over The Line follows Welsh athlete Megan Edwards in the lead up to the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. 21 years old and popular with fans, sponsors and the media, Megan is the favourite to win Gold in the sprint hurdles. However, her ambitions are threatened when the police reopen an investigation into the death of a school friend, Matt Davies, from steroid addiction – and it emerges that Megan has been less than truthful.

The novel is primarily set in Newport and London, and told through the eyes of Liam, Megan’s coach.

Steve said: “While Over The Line is, I hope, an entertaining read, steroid abuse is a serious and growing problem, both in sport and among vulnerable teenagers looking to boost their self-esteem.

“Whatever motivates teenage boys to start body-building – girl troubles, bullying, problems at home, pressure to look like Action Man – the temptation to speed up the process of developing muscle bulk by taking anabolic steroids is immense.

“In Over The Line, Matt is infatuated with childhood friend Megan, but he isn’t sporty and sees her slipping away from him as she achieves more and more success as an athlete. To compete with Will Driscoll, a talented rugby player, for Megan’s affections he starts body-building and becomes addicted to anabolic steroids.

“Recent cases such as the exposure of Lance Armstrong and Marion Jones have led many to think of steroid abuse as only an issue for elite sport, but steroids are readily available in gyms and online, and the consequences of using them can be deadly. I hope the novel will shine a line on this dangerous culture and encourage young sportsmen to seek the support they may need.”

Over The Line (314p, £7.99) will be published by Quaero in paperback and via Amazon on Kindle on 1 March 2015. A limited number of signed preview editions are available now on a first come, first served basis. Further information can be found at www.steve-howell.com.

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