Family life inspires Penicuik author

Catherine, with her debut novel, is a former Tyne & Esk writer of the year
Catherine, with her debut novel, is a former Tyne & Esk writer of the year

A Penicuik author is using her experiences of bringing up a child with Asperger’s syndrome as the inspirtion for her first novel.

Catherine Simpson’s debut novel “Truestory” is published on September 17.

It tells the story of a boy with autism who refuses to leave the isolated farm where he was born and interacts with the world through his computer.

“I have raised a child with Asperger’s and she is now 20. She didn’t refuse to leave the holuse but she used to go to school and I would sit in the house waiting for the phone to ring. I was constantly firefighting,” explained Catherine (51), who lives in West Street.

It was when Catherine took an Open University creative writing course she began to explore the subject matter as part of her MA qualification.

The opening chapters of Truestory won her a Scottish Book Trust New Writers Award in 2013 and working alongside a mentor Catherine set about rewriting the book.

The ink has barely dried on her debut novel and Catherine is already working on her second. “I have got a new book in the pipeline. One of the questions it asks is what do we owe our children. It explores family relationships. I have written about a quarter but I am doing it slightly different. I have a vague idea where I am going bu don’t have staging posts,” said Catherine who is working for Artlink as it assists Midlothian Council with its autism strategy.

Born in Lancashire, Catherine is married to Marcello. They have two daughters Nina and Lara.