A RETIRED Greenock GP is unleashing the wild and dark side of medicine in her first novel.

Dr Anne Pettigrew has rediscovered her love of writing since hanging up her stethoscope after 31 years with the Ardgowan Practice.

Now at the age of 68 and with her first book she is taking a fresh look at life as it was for a young female student back in the 60s.

Not the Life Imagined features relationship disasters, disappearing bodies, a mysterious death and also confronts the commonplace sexual harassment women endured.

Anne, who was not afraid to stand on the frontline in the campaign to save local hospitals and stop cuts as as a respected family doctor, also wants to use her book to help raise awareness of a movement to educate girls across the globe.

But former GP Anne, from Skelmorlie, insists that her Not the Life Imagined is in no way autobiographical.

She said: "Absolutely not, that would just be boring.

"If you are writing about a time and situation you lived through, there may be grains of truth in some of the narrative but this is pure fiction.

"I'm glad to say I have never met any colleagues as dastardly as my two villains.

"But I do know stories of female medical students facing harassment."

After retiring ten years ago Anne used her free time to enrol in writing classes at Glasgow University.

She joined the Greenock Writers' Club and was soon inspired by those around her to pen her own novel.

Anne added: "I planned the characters, male and female, and lived with them for some months before starting to write.

"They took on a life of their own."

She was also keen to highlight to a younger audience the kind of social barriers faced by medical students back in the 60s and 70s.

Anne said: "When I started only 25 per cent of the intake were women.

"The pill wasn't freely available - most GPs wouldn't give it to you unless you were married.

"Homosexuality was illegal in Scotland.

"I have younger family members who find this unbelievable.

"We have come a long way."

During her time as a GP in Inverclyde Anne served thousands of patients and the wider community.

She moved to the area with her husband Norman, a pharmacist and they raised their family - daughter Susanna, a charity development worker, and son Paul, a medical biophysicist

Anne was never afraid to take a stand and joined the Save the Rankin campaign, fought the closure of the children's ward at IRH and spoke out at public meetings against cuts.

Anne said: "I loved being a GP in Greenock, it was a privilege.

"The bureaucracy towards the end did grind you down but I loved it all.

"My daughter says her earliest memories are on marches to Save the Rankin."

Anne, who says she devours books, was inspired to write her own by some of her favourite authors - including Christopher Brookmyre.

Not The Life Imagined is off to a great start, having won the Scottish Association of Writers Constable Silver Stag Award 2018.

It was also picked up by the non-profit making Ringwood publishers based in Glasgow, who invest in new Scottish writers.

Anne says she is also inspired by her daughter Susanna's work as development officer with Plan UK, a charity which devoted to getting girls across the globe an education.

She plans to donate money from the book to the charity.

Anne added: "We have to think about the 130 million girls world wide who are denied an education."

The author would like to thank her husband Norman, Greenock Writers' Club and Ringwood.

Her book is available for pre-order from Waterstones, Amazon and its publishers.