A Lisburn woman has signed a publishing deal for her first novel - at the age of 79.
Norah Humphreys launched her fictional book “No Greater Love” at the Lisburn Civic Centre with over 100 guests, including MP Jeffrey Donaldson and actor Dan Gordon.
Norah who lives on the Saintfield Road has worked as a book-keeper, typist, staff nurse and nursing tutor and was the lead trainer in the eastern and southern health boards in training medical staff about AIDS. She also ran a successful guest house with her husband Ian.
The book is about a nine-year-old boy, Rob Hampton, who suffers a bereavement and it traces how it affects him as a child and in adulthood.
Set against the backdrop of the Troubles, as an adult his daughter marries a dark character who brings confusion and pain into the family circle.
“Terrorism is a significant theme in the novel,” said Norah.
Asked if there is a happy ending, she said: “You will have to read it to find out.”
Norah signed her deal with Canary Wharf publisher Austin Macauley.
“I was given a book on getting published and went down the list,” she said. “The first publisher said it was not really their style while the second said they were just going bankrupt.
“Maybe I was just lucky,” she said. “Maybe they liked the idea of a first-time author who is almost 80.”
Asked what her secret for writing was she replied: “I was always an avid reader of fiction as a child, we always got classics like Dickens for presents.
“But you are never too old to start writing. I was surprised how few changes the publisher made to my final draft.” Her sequel also promises to be another real page turner.
“It is called ‘The house on Waring Street’ and features murder and prostitution,” she added.
No Greater Love is available from Waterstones, WH Smith and Amazon.co.uk
Ivan Davis a family friend was asked to speak at the launch he paid tribute to his friend Derek Humphreys, brother of Norah, to whom she dedicated her book.