A GRANDMOTHER has become an author as a ‘coping strategy’ for illness.
Averil Branson from Gosport was diagnosed with cancer six years ago, but found writing books kept her going through the treatment.
The 68-year-old said: ‘Writing books kept my mind off what was going on.
‘I didn’t want to sit round feeling sorry for myself and I needed something to keep me going or I would have gone to pieces.’
Averil recently published her first children’s book entitled Living With Matilda, which is based on her son’s pet rat.
She said: ‘This book I actually wrote in the 1980s as my son Daniel had a pet rat and they used to get up to all funny antics together and I thought that it would make a nice children’s story, but then I forgot all about it.’
Averil found the original manuscript written by typewriter in the cupboard and decided to use it.
She said: ‘I found it and modernised it because I wrote it a long time ago and wanted to bring it up to date.
‘Then I drew some sketches and a graphic designer put them in the book for me. As a child I was fascinated when the little characters move so I put in a rat at the bottom which can run along the page.’
Averil’s son Daniel inspired her story and some chapters in the book are taken from real life.
Averil said: ‘There was one instance when I had all the ladies from our street round as we were organising fundraising for a street party.
‘Daniel walked in with his rat and they were all screaming and climbing over each other to get out the room.
‘It is quite funny when I think about it now, but at the time I was very cross with him.’
Over the course of the project Averil received support from her writing group, Portchester Writers.
She said: ‘I attend the group once a month and we all encourage each other and I have had a lot of help from the girls there.
‘We all help each other through the process of getting published and it is a really lovely group to be a part of.’
Averil added: ‘I am so pleased with how everything has gone and I am really happy with the book.’
Living With Matilda is available from Amazon.