A FLEDGLING author was 'absolutely stunned' after discovering that his first novel has been nominated for a prestigious award.

Winsford dad Chris Throsby said 'it was beyond his wildest dreams' that his book Admonition is up for the Walter Scott prize for historical fiction.

Publishers Austin Macauley entered his 18th/19th century story set in the Cheshire salt industry for the award.

Chris was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis when he was only 31, just as he was about to become a teacher.

His wife Leslie said: "The illness has slowly progressed to the point where he is now wheelchair-bound and can only type with one finger.

"The whole book has taken him eight years. When he started he could use a couple of fingers and a thumb, stand and walk a couple of steps. But his health has now deteriorated."

Chris, 61, took redundancy from the civil service in 1998 and used to sell concrete ornaments in Winsford Market.

After studying at Manchester Metropolitan University, he graduated with a first class honours degree in English and American studies.

"He started teaching training," said Leslie. "But his MS got worse as he was doing classroom experience."

Chris was inspired to write a book after hearing tales about smuggling, while tracing his ancestors.

"Smuggling was the inevitable consequence of the exorbitant tax levied on salt on the cusp of the 18th/19th century," said Chris, who has one son, Sam, 27.

"Whilst I was researching my family history, I came across my four times great grandmother Admonition. She was the third child to bear the name, the first two having died.

Winsford Guardian:

Admonition tells the story of a girl who thinks her name is cursed

"This set me wondering why they were given such a name and what effect did it have?"

Admonition tells the story of a girl who thinks her name is cursed. She gets embroiled in salt smuggling and is transported across the world until she eventually finds peace.

Chris wants to thank his wife Leslie for all her help supporting his drive to become an author.

Leslie said: "It was a major achievement for him to finish the book. He has a couple of ideas for more books but it is getting harder and harder to type and he has difficulty speaking."

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Chris will find out if he has made the long list for the award in February/March next year with the shortlist being announced in April.

The prize will be awarded in June.

Admonition is available from Waterstones, WH Smith and Amazon.