A FORMER midwife has published her second sci-fi novel.

Mum-of-three Sheila Mughal, of Heath Lane, Lowton, began writing her first book The Lines of Tamar a few years ago when she stopped working for three months due to redundancy.

The 55-year-old's second novel is called The Unbeknown. She is now writing her third book entitled Clarah and has also started her own publishing company.

Sheila said: “When I was made redundant a few years ago I had a few months off and that gave me the impetus to start writing.

"I plan to devote more time to it after I retire.”

Now working full-time supplying software to the NHS, Sheila grabs time to write when she can and tries to do around a page each day.

She says she has wanted to be an author ever since developing a love for Enid Blyton stories at the age of six.

“I am very interested in genealogy, history and science," Sheila said.

“I like to take a true story from the past – a bit of a myth or legend even – and bring it up to the 21st century.”

Her inspiration for The Unbeknown came from the network of underground caves in Crank, St Helens.

The tale sees an alien civilisation which has survived on Earth for millennia hiding in underground warrens and communicating using symbols and discreet inscriptions.

A stage magician becomes interwoven with the plight of the missing aliens and he becomes involved in a world of ancient Celtic legends and mystical beings.

Sheila said: “It is proper sci-fi stuff.

“There is a lot of mythology about the caves which go for miles and miles underground.

“There is a gravestone in nearby St Asaph Church dated 1720 and it is one of a small number of gravestones in the country to have listed status.

"There are no records of who is buried there and it has an unusual symbol on it, so I have woven that into the story too.”

The action takes the reader from St Helens to Sudan.

Sheila, who grew up in Newton-le-Willows, said: “There is a travel aspect and the novel also touches on the ancient astronaut theory and a solar eclipse in 2034.”

For more information about Sheila's second novel visit sheilamughal.com/the-unbeknown.