AN author whose book started out as a school composition when she was 11 has finally published her work – aged 70.

Louisa Adams wrote the first draft of The Island of Departed Spirits as a homework project at her school in Sydenham, south London.

“I still have the original exercise book I wrote the story in, with the headmistress’s comment that it was ‘well thought out’, and giving it nine out of 10,” said Mrs Adams, who lives with her husband at Holly Green, near Upton.

The book opens with a family becoming stranded on a Caribbean island and meeting the enigmatic Padma, an encounter that leads to adventures.

“I’ve obviously expanded the text over the years, but the basic plot is the same and although the illustrations are new, they’re based on the ones I drew as a child,” she said.

“I’m not claiming to be the next J K Rowling, but I hope it is a book that children will enjoy reading."

The book is published by Aspect Design of Malvern, and is available from Aspect at 89 Newtown Road, priced £8.