A FORMER headteacher turned author has spoken about how the loss of her beloved dad inspired her to start writing stories.

Caron McKinlay has signed with Bloodhound Books and is releasing her debut novel The Storytellers in May next year.

The 57-year-old grew up on John Crescent in Tranent, where her dad Cash Kerr would return from working as a miner at Smeaton colliery and share all of his tales, encouraging her to tell her own.

Despite this, she never thought about a career in writing, as she said “that was what posh people did, not someone from a working-class council estate”.

Caron left Tranent in the 1980s aged 25 for Sicily.

She lived in Italy for a year and gave birth to her two daughters, Francesca and Paola, on her return to the UK.

Caron then became a teacher and taught in various secondary schools before becoming headteacher at St Helens College 14-16 Academy in St Helens, Merseyside.

Sadly, her father passed away in 2016 from pancreatic cancer.

A deep period of introspection and reflection followed for Caron, resulting in her publishing her first short story.

Called Cash and inspired by her dad, it was published in the Scottish Book Trust’s anthology, Blether.

A second chance at love spurred her to take early retirement and move to Edinburgh, where she now lives with husband Andy.

She has signed to Bloodhound Books, based in Cambridge, and is counting down the weeks until the release of her first full novel.

The Storytellers, which Caron wrote during lockdown, explores feminist themes as three women trapped between life and death revisit toxic past relationships and unravel a haunting truth.

Caron, who is grandmother to Lyle and Noah, also has her own book blog, called Desert Island Reads, where established authors discuss their must-have books.

She said: “I am delighted to have signed with Bloodhound Books.

“They have such a strong reputation and at the same time a real personal touch.

“Seeing them go from strength to strength with Open Road Media is wonderful and exciting.

“I can’t wait for The Storytellers – a tale of three women who are trapped somewhere between life and death – to be shared with the world. I am grateful to Clare Coombes, my agent from the Liverpool Literary Agency, for falling in love with it and I hope other people enjoy it too.”

She added: “I can’t believe it. I don’t think I’ll believe it until I see the book.

“I am quite nervous and just wonder if people will like it and if they will buy it.

“My dad loved books and loved reading and loved telling stories.

“He would be delighted and over the moon to see that I am finally going to be a published author; he gave me my love for reading and stories.”