A FORMER nurse at Musgrove Park Hospital became a writer as she wanted to recreate the fun she had from reading under bed covers with a torch when she was a youngster.

Nicola Pryce who is the author of Pengelly’s Daughter and The Captain’s Girl, published by Corvus Books, wants to give her readers a romantic novel complete with a hero they can fall in love with as they read the book.

Nicola first started writing to show her children what was going on in her head in terms of the stories she had come up with and the different characters.

As a young reader she loved (still does) Jane Austen and wanted to get her excitement of these period novels and her love of reading into the books she wrote.

She said: “I was taught in a very strict school where things were geared towards reading and enjoying poetry.

“What I experienced was more rigid than what my children enjoyed at school and I felt they did not know me in terms of what was in my head and I wanted them to know what filled my head.

“So I wanted to give a voice to my inner child and decided to write a book for them and get it self published.

“Those who read it said they enjoyed it and said I should become a writer.

“I found myself an agent and an editor and sent them the book.

“They agreed it should be cut down from 178,000 words to 120,000 words and I have to say I agreed.

“What was good was I wrote it without thinking about becoming a writer I just did it for fun and for the kids.

“I did my research and I did it for my own enjoyment and I did not think lots of people were going to read it.”

I remember being in a book shop where there was an elderly disabled woman in a wheelchair and she was looking to chose a book.

I said I would help her by pointing to some of the books on the shelf she could not reach so she could say which one she wanted.

As I passed the book she said, read it, no good, that’s American or she didn’t like the author.

What she did say and this stuck with me was: “All I am looking for is a good old fashioned romantic novel which has good story with a beginning middle and end and has a hero I can fall in love with.

“I have never forgotten what she said and I think of her every time I am writing a novel and do not want to disappoint her.

“I want to give readers a good story not one which is all gong and no dinner.

“I want to make sure I give my readers a good strong story.

As Nicola said she wants her books to be pure escapism, they allow people to sit on the sofa and have me time for themselves by stepping off the treadmill of life.