UNCANNY and unsettling tales are the forte of new writer Joan Pritchard, who has only started publishing books since she retired.

Joan, 71, who moved to Chippenham 23 years ago, had a successful career in the civil service and worked in various executive positions, as well as raising a family.

But when her husband Jim died suddenly five years ago, Joan decided she needed a creative outlet to distract her from the loss.

First she turned her hand to painting - and created over a dozen vivid paintings inspired by the Cornish landscape. Then the talented Joan decided to give writing a try.

She started in July 2017 and the stories poured out. She already has a collection of short stories published by Austin Macauley, with more on the way.

Her first book is called Is There Anybody There?, and this will be followed by Tales from the Twilight Zone and Macabre Moments.

"They are stories of the weird, of fantasy, with mystery, and ghosts," she explained. "When one of my neighbours read them, he said to me, you are a very disturbed woman, and I said, I know I am!"

The stories often concern a ghostly figure who appears in someone's life, and she likes her tales to have a twist at the end.

Joan designed the covers of her books, and as well as contemporary settings, she likes to write stories set in different historical periods.

She does not write every day, but writing has become a time consuming occupation and she is never short of ideas.

The mother of three, who also has four grandchildren, said her family were supportive of her new venture.

"They think it's great," she said. "When you are at your lowest ebb, writing can really take you out of it.

"I was married for 50 years, and my husband died so suddenly. But I want people to know, you can pick yourself up again."

The story collection is available from amazon.