A GREENOCK author told how a young girl she met whilst working as a mental health support worker inspired her to put pen to paper.

Shona Mckenzie Peers, who is originally from Rankin Street, said she came up with a story to help a young patient on an adolescent psychiatric ward where she was working

The girl had shut herself off from the world and refused to communicate but started to speak after bonding with Shona and made her promise that she would turn the tale into a book.

Shona kept her promise and has now released 'A Witch Called Lela' with part of the sales being donated to Young Minds - a UK charity championing young people's mental health.

Shona said: "This girl wouldn't talk but I soon realised that she was an avid reader.

"When I was on night shift, I thought I would try and get a response.

"She was sitting down and I told her I had a story in mind for a book. At that point, I didn't, it was ad hoc to prompt a response.

"I told her my idea and she raised her head and spoke for the first time. It was a major turning point in her recovery and a few months later, she asked me what I was going to do with the story.

"I was honest and said that I had made it up to try to get her to speak but she said it deserved to be a book and she asked me to do it for her."

But after beginning to pen the novel, Shona was diagnosed with generalised dystonia - a rare incurable condition that causes abnormal movement.

She said: "I wasn't allowed to work at the hospital anymore because my illness had progressed.

"It sends my body into spasms and cramps - at its worst, I can't walk and talk. t's quite a nasty illness."

But Shona was determined not to let the girl down and worked to complete the book.

She said: "It's about the young girl I looked after. Sadly she moved to different hospitals and passed away.

"I had to complete it for her."

Shona hopes the book will help other young people who are suffering from mental illness.

She said: "I don't want young adolescents to feel as if they are so alone and that they don't have anybody.

"I have such a passion to try and help these kids. I want them to know that time will pass and things will change."

The 53-year-old, who is a former Port Glasgow High School pupil, says her wife Helen and daughter Maggie have been a huge support and she now plans to donate a copy to Greenock Central Library.

She has already started work on a follow up and hopes to continue writing. The book is available to order online at Amazon.