A pensioner who has battled dyslexia and cancer to write her first novel, is delighted her work has been published.
Denise Lunt’s writing debut Goodnight Mr Stone was snapped up by Grosvenor House Publishing after they were made aware of it through Denise’s appeal in the Post for volunteers to proofread her manuscript.
The 73-year-old has now had her story put into print, and has dedicated the book to the “phenomenal” staff at The Christie, who helped her on her long road to recovery through cancer. She will also be donating a portion of any royalties to the famous charity too.
Goodnight Mr Stone tells the tale of a family of lawyers, the Stones, taking place over four years between Harvard University and California.
Denise, who is currently in remission, said: “It is a beautiful story. It’s a love story. But there’s also a bit of murder, and a bit of blackmail.”
The aspiring writer drummed up enthusiasm for the story while in hospital, giving out new drafts to doctors and patients.
“People at the hospital would come and read little paragraphs and chapters and say: wow, we would love to read the book, we can’t wait for it to be finished.”
Denise’s literary venture may well have come a lot sooner, had fate not intervened. She described herself as “quite clever” as a schoolgirl until she was knocked down by a bus.
“I could still read, and speak English beautifully. But I was always regarded as a dummy because I couldn’t spell anymore, “ she said.
And then, two years ago, Denise received the awful news that she had cancer.
She said: “I collapsed in the garden and fractured my pelvis, and they found a tumour during my scans. It was inoperable, so I was sent to The Christie. I suffered with pneumonia, and even blood clots.”
Denise said completing the novel in such a dark time of her life, made the moment even sweeter. “I’ve worked so hard on this book.
“It’s so sad to battle dyslexia. And with having cancer too, my lifelong achievement of wanting to write was a huge battle, but one I now feel I’ve won. It goes to show, don’t ever give in.”
A spokesperson for The Christie said: “We’re delighted that Denise has had her first book published and wish her the best of luck. It’s a lovely and very welcome gesture for her to dedicate it to the staff here, and also to offer to donate a share of the proceeds to The Christie charity.
“Every donation is valued and they all go towards helping our patients and their families and to working towards a future free from cancer.”
Denise also revealed plans for her next novel, a romantic story focusing on two older lovers aboard the Queen Mary.
The interest in her unstarted second work has already generated so much anticipation that Cunard, the company which owns the famous ship that is permanently docked in Long Beach, California, has invited her to tour the ship.
Denise said: “Cunard have helped me a lot. They have said I can go anywhere in the ship and get as much information as I need. I am so thrilled!”
Goodnight Mr Stone is available to buy now on Amazon.