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Her first novel at 79 and now Norah McMullan is turning them out in droves

By Nevin Farrell

She waited until her 80th year to publish her first novel - but now an amazing great-grandmother has released her third book in the space of 18 months.

Norah McMullan, who writes under her maiden name Norah Humphreys, has finalised a trilogy but shows no sign of stopping - even though she turns 81 in a few weeks.

She revealed yesterday she has plans for a fourth novel as her amazing late-in-life literary career continues at speed.

Norah, from Lisburn, believes her age is a bonus when it comes to writing because she can draw on a lifetime of experiences.

And she is enjoying her new found career, backed by a family circle who help her out, as she admits she has not the greatest computer skills.

Norah launched her third book on Sunday night at the Merchant Hotel, Belfast with around 70 guests.

Her first book was published in April 2014 and Norah told the Belfast Telegraph last night her third - They've Taken Lewis - is the last in the trilogy.

She said: "It is a continuation of a family saga and this one is when a detective inspector's grandson is kidnapped. That is only part of the story, there is a lot more going on. The inspector's father was murdered in the first book and then the man that abetted it gets out of prison, so there is a bit about his story as well."

The book is set in Northern Ireland, mostly in Belfast and Lisburn, and Norah will be doing book signings in Waterstones in the two cities.

The busy pensioner worked as a nurse and an Aids co-ordinator and retired at the age of 68. She always fancied being an author but was unable to fit it in until she turned 79.

She said: "Since I was in school I always wanted to write and I thought when I got to 80 if I don't do it now it will be too late.

"I would recommend people do it much earlier if they want to do it."

Norah was born in Banbridge in 1935 near Bronte Country - where the father of novelists Emily, Charlotte and Anne once lived.

Her ancestors owned Belmont House, now a hotel, where her mother's grandfather was brought up.

Norah said her first book, No Greater Love, went well but she thought the second, The House On Waring Street, published in December last year was better.

She said she had a wonderful reaction from her family to becoming a novelist.

"They have been very supportive. They help all they can, because I have very little in the way of computer skills. They have been very helpful in encouraging me."

Norah said she does not get out and about so much to do research.

"I would do it more through books, although I do watch people and from those experiences I would find it easy to write.

"It is all about experiences, and maybe had I started young I wouldn't have the same level of experience, so there is that to it," added Norah.

Belfast Telegraph


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