An author who never gave up on her dream to write a book, has returned to her roots to base her first novel in her home town of South Shields.
Shirley Dickson has used her memories of the place she once called home to set the scene in her book ‘The Orphan Sisters’.
It is the first time the former nurse - who now lives in Hexham - has had work published despite turning to writing whilst still at school. She says she was first bitten by the written word at the age of 10.
Mrs Dickson, who is in her 70s, said: “When I was told they were going to publish my book, I think I cried.
“After a lot of years, I was finally having my work published. It was such an amazing feeling that somebody had read my work and was willing to publish it.
“I have written all my life, when I was at school I started to write poetry and short stories, but I never had anything published.”
After a lot of years, I was finally having my work published.Mrs Dickson
Mrs Dickson, who moved from South Shields to Hexham to work as an auxiliary nurse, put her writing to one side while she was working.
It wasn’t until she retired that she decided to take it up again.
Mrs Dickson added: “I had written the Orphan Sisters many years ago and put it to one side while I did other things.
“Two years ago I took part in a playwright course and it inspired me to start writing again and I re-wrote the whole book.”
Published by Bookouture, it became available, last month, and has already received a number of five star reviews on Amazon.
The novel has been described as a “heartbreaking” story of two young children who were abandoned by their mother at an orphanage.
The story, set in the Westoe area of South Shields, starts in 1929 when the sisters Etty, four, and Dorothy, eight, are left at the orphanage known as Blakely Hall.
Move on to 1940 and the sisters leave the home in the grip of World War Two .
The pair are desperate to move on with their lives and to put their broken childhood behind them.
However, trouble lies in store for the sisters as Dorothy is forced to say goodbye to her husband who is being sent away to war and Etty falls in love with a man she can never be with.
Then a shocking secret from their childhood comes to light which could leave the sisters never feeling the same again.
The Orphan Sisters is available both on kindle and paperback via Amazon.