Bestselling author Peter James has spoken for the first time about the “stomach churning” surgery which saved his career.

The Brighton-born crime writer went under the knife in February this year after being diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) – which causes pain and numbness in the hands, fingers and arm.

Seventh months down the line he is now pain free and set to continue with his bestselling Roy Grace series.

Speaking to The Argus yesterday, he said: “Towards the end of last year, I was doing book signings and I was in agony. I was worried about the future, I didn’t know what was going to happen.

“I had shocks going from my shoulders right through to my hands - it was terrible.”

Although CTS is common among writers, it is thought his condition was a result of a horror crash while racing his 1965 BMW at Brands Hatch in May last year.

The 90mph smash saw him barrel-roll half a dozen times and left him cracked ribs and a bruised spleen.

He went to an acupuncturist in Kemp Town who temporarily relieved the pain but it was clear he would need surgery.

He booked in at a hospital in North London and was asked by the surgeon whether he would prefer local or general aesthetic.

He said: “I asked him what most people had and he said general. He said it would only take eight minutes so I decided to have local.

“I have seen a lot of gruesome things through my research and been to lots of autopsies – but never my own.

“I remember him starting to cut into my arm and there was this crunching sound. I could also feel tiny electrical currents as he was moving the nerves around. It was stomach churning.”

A screen was put up so the author could not see his arm being opened up and just minutes later he was being stitched up.

He said: “It was incredible. I went off to get my breakfast and I was sending emails an hour or so later.”

Now fully recovered he is preparing for the release of a set of short stories called A Twist of the Knife on November 6.

His first book Dead Simple will hit the stage in January and he expects to finish the 11th in the Roy Grace series later this month in time for release next year.