An author is celebrating after publishing her debut novel inspired following a cycle ride past a remote house in north Norfolk.

It has been a lifelong dream of Jane Markland, of Marlborough Road, Norwich, to see her words in print – and now that wish has come true.

The 63-year-old explained where the inspiration behind her book Cielo first came from.

“I began writing Cielo, after seeing this old county house," she said.

“I cycled past the building in the north Norfolk countryside and it was one of those ‘wow’ moments.

“My immediate thought was who would live there? What would they be like? And then the story idea came.”

Putting two men at the centre of the novel, Ms Markland has written a story about the owner of the house, Max Harrison, and another who would come to work there; Nathan.

Following his release from prison, Nathan arrives at Mr Harrison’s home determined to change his life forever as its gardener there. Only there is something sinister underneath the surface and the seductive surroundings of the property.

She added: “The title came fast. I usually have a title before I’ve finished the first draft, even a working title.

“Cielo is the name of the house where the whole story is set. It means sky in Spanish, but is also widely depicted as meaning heaven. To my characters, it meant a utopia, somewhere safe and idyllic where they could find peace.

“I wrote a quick scene, and I knew I wanted to write about addiction and loss. Slowly the outline and plot came, but the characters were first.”

Ms Markland, a medical secretary at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, knew she wanted to write about issues including life after therapy and drug and alcohol rehabilitation. A major focus of the book is what happens when someone is given a second chance.

“I wanted to explore how friendship and understanding can make the difference, and this is the major part of the book,” she explained.

“I needed another source of conflict so I introduced other factors, and let it all play out. Believe me, there have been many versions of Cielo.”

Previously, the grandmother-of-two had taken part in an online writing course but began writing seriously once the idea for Cielo was born – although she had been inspired to write from an early age.

“I started reading adult fiction aged 11 or 12, and I would sit in my local library just reading. All genres, particularly at that time horror and Stephen King.

“I’ve also taken part in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) where I met my first published writers such as Elizabeth Haynes and Hayley Webster, who writes under the name Hayley Scott.

"I also joined Jericho Writers and spent hours watching their massive library of videos about writing, publishing, and everything books."

Describing getting published as “the hardest thing ever”, she said the process is not for the faint-hearted but it is worth it.

“I think most people who write want to see their book read by other people who love stories – I always wanted that, long before I knew how to achieve my dream.

“I would say to anyone who wanted to pursue this dream themselves to read widely in every genre which interests you, and then write the book you want to read yourself.

“Also find a writing group if that’s possible, if not in person there are lots of companies online. Keep a notebook for ideas, about how you see, hear, and feel things which you can transfer into stories later down the line.

“Most importantly though, don’t give up.”

  • Cielo is published by SpellBound Books. Jane Markland is on Twitter and you can follow her at @markland_jane. Cielo can be purchased from Amazon UK and Waterstones.