IT had always been a fam-ily joke that Antonia Abbott should write a book – but no one thought it would take 60 years.
Yesterday, her first book was launched at Coles Bookshop in her home town of Bicester.
The 60-year-old, who is an independent financial adviser by day, wrote Mixed Emotions: An Oxfordshire Affair, after a chance meeting with a book coach at a networking party two years ago.
Mrs Abbott said: “My mum always told me I should write a book because I have such a vivid imagination. She always encouraged me to read a lot as a child.
“Then when I married my husband three years ago he started saying the same thing.”
Now her first novel, about a fictional family living in Oxfordshire, has spun itself into a trilogy, published by Raven Crest Books, which will see the second and third books released next year.
Mrs Abbott said: “The plot centres on the Rowlands family, and the heroine is their daughter Susie.
“She has a very bad time – men, money and jobs – she is a complete mess. But I don’t want to give too much away.”
Speaking about the writing process she said: “I Just loved it.
“I started sitting down in the evenings and weekends and writing and I just let my imagination go.
“I also had lots of meetings with the book coach I met who gave me lots of advice. She also helped me to get published.
“I have only been stuck once over the nine months it took me to write my book, and I went and sat in the garden and my husband was trimming the lawn , and I just said ‘I’m stuck’.
“He started reeling off suggestions – despite not knowing anything about my book – and I just said ‘thanks’ and got up and went back to writing again.
“They [the characters] are still very much with me, they are almost real to me.”
Her mother Joan Gamble passed away in 2010 before Mrs Abbott’s book was published, but her retired husband Karl Hook-Pattison, 61, has been full of praise.
She has also gained five-star reviews on Amazon after releasing her Kindle edition last month.
Mrs Abbott said: “I never sat down to write because I never assumed I could. But now I see it on my desk, all these books to send to people, and I can’t quite believe it.”