AN author has used her family's past to realise a lifelong dream and publish her first novel — Little Bolton.

Nora Lönn grew up in Red Lane, Breightmet, in a working class family and wanted to be a writer since the age of seven.

Her first story is based on the experiences of her ancestors, researched through her interest in genealogy.

It tells the tale of three orphans, Nell, Bill and Luke, and their struggle to survive in 1840s Bolton.

Mrs Lönn, who now lives in Stockholm in Sweden with her partner and children, said: "It is a mix of genealogy facts and fiction.

"I used fiction to illustrate how their lives may have been and to fill in the gaps between historical facts in black and white and making them real.

"I wanted it to reflect normal, every day working class families and what they went through at the time. It’s quite dark in places."

The 46-year-old moved to Sweden 16 years ago for work and currently freelances in copywriting and translations.

She was unable to find a good enough story until an idea popped into her head in 2010 when she was in Sri Lanka.

She said: "I’d been trying to track down the grave of my great, great uncle who’d died in Colombo.

"We decided to take a train from Colombo to Kandy and I guess the genealogy research was still on my mind. Suddenly, and completely out of the blue, I had an idea for a book. I scrabbled around in my bag for bits of paper and a pen and started writing.

"I didn’t stop until we got off the train. After that I felt like I was being driven to finish the story."