AN AYR mum who beat breast cancer and published her first novel days after receiving the all clear during the first week of lockdown has finally had her long-awaited book launch.

Yvonne Hendrie’s debut novel The Water Bailiff’s Daughter was inspired by her love of fairy tales and Scottish folklore.

Set during World War Two, the book follows the tale of a young woman Helena Hailstanes and her father Sam, and mixes fantasy with real life locations from the South West of Scotland where Yvonne lived and grew up around.

Last weekend, Yvonne was able to finally launch her book to a in-person audience as part of a two-day event in Edinburgh at the organised by her publisher, Stairwell Books.

And she told the Advertiser about how she overcame the adversity of the last two years.

Yvonne said: “The book was released in April 2020, at the height of lockdown – the official publication date was May 1 – and it was difficult.

“It was difficult because book shops were closing, it was not the best time to publish a book, but it has done fairly well with online sales.

“And it has gone places I had never imagined, I had messages from people from Canada and Dubai. It seems to have sold through the grapevine, I have been getting lovely messages from people.”

When Yvonne, who is originally from Stranraer, looked back she realised that lockdown had been a bit of a blessing in disguise to aid her recovery.

She continued: “At the time I was still recovering from the cancer treatments. They finished on March 19 and lockdown was March 25, and I was very tired.

“Looking back, I wonder if I could have coped with launching it, I was so tired. I did a video for the library services in North Ayrshire, and I look well in it, but I made myself up for it with my wig, but the radiation burns from the treatment are still there.

“Lockdown paused things, but we had a difficult 18 months from when I had cancer until last year. We lost our dog Benji as well. It was very difficult times.”

However, she sings the praises of her publisher Stairwell, who put the Scottish and Northern English authors up in Edinburgh for two nights last weekend.

She said: “They are lovely people, they don’t push. They really look after their authors. They wanted to put this on to gather us together for those of us who missed their launch.

“Now, I feel that I am part of a community, Stairwell Books community.

Yvonne has already completed her next book.