Belfast Telegraph

Ulrika wrote novel standing up

Ulrika Jonsson has revealed she had to write much of her debut novel standing up, because of an agonising back condition.

The Shooting Stars panellist has just written a novel called The Importance Of Being Myrtle, but said that a degenerative disc disease means she can't run or sit down for long periods.

She also put down how thin she is to depression caused by the four-year battle with the chronic condition.

She said: "There was talk about whether I had anorexia, which I have never had and will never have because I love food too much. I've had a debilitating problem and the past year was particularly bad, when I became depressed and didn't eat.

"My condition won't be cured but it's better than it was because I've started swimming and that strengthens the muscles in my back."

She added that epidural and cortisone injections have given her some respite.

"I just have to live with it. I try to get on with life as much as possible. The days when I was immobile have made me more determined to enjoy the days when I'm mobile," she said.

The novel is about a dowdy 58-year-old woman whose life is thrown into turmoil when her husband dies suddenly.

She said: "People would be expecting me to write about the world of television or showbiz with lots of sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll. That would be too predictable. I wanted to stretch myself."

:: The Importance Of Being Myrtle by Ulrika Jonsson is published by Michael Joseph, priced £6.99. Available September 1.

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