Heanor mum Elspeth Hall has overcome many obstacles including autism in a bid to achieve her dream of becoming a published author.
Elspeth, 25, was diagnosed with autism at a young age and thought the condition would hinder her future, but now she is gearing up to promote her first book of a trilogy – Puss-Puss, the Splash Maker and the Rainbow.
Elspeth, of Hands Road, described writing the book as a form of therapy.
She said: “I started writing the books when I was eight months pregnant with my second child in 2011. We had already lost our first child and at first, writing the stories was therapeutic.
“I wrote them for the son I hadn’t finished grieving for, then as I healed I wrote them for the daughter I was pregnant with – Thealie.”
Her inspiration for the moggy-themed books came after an abandoned cat was left in a plastic bag outside her front door.
“At first we tried to find its owners, despite being abandoned and half-starved the cat was in good condition clean, brand new collar (with no number) and it had recently been spayed so we thought maybe it had got lost during a house move or something. When after 3 months no-one had claimed it we decided we would keep the cat.
“In the book I wanted to avoid the question of why Puss-Puss was abandoned and focus more on the new skills an abandoned cat had to learn to keep it positive and show children you can overcome difficulties.”
The book has been published with the help of independent publisher Lioness Publishing.
Elspeth, who also has hearing loss, had been supported by a volunteer from Home Start until the service closed in December.
She was left with no sense of independence due to suffering from facial and topographical agnosia – an inability to recognise places or people. She said she managed to seek refuge at the local library.
Elspeth started volunteering at Heanor Library last February, helping run the Story and Rhyme sessions.
The mother-of-one said: “The library became my anchor, and with the kindness of the staff – who did not judge me – I kept going.”
Elspeth is now donating a copy of her book the library as a thank you for the support she received. She will also host a meet the author event at the temporary site on Ray Street on June 20 from 11am.