AN author has penned her debut novel despite having dyslexia.

Nicky Matthews, 65, of Kirby, wrote poems in her youth but never thought she would become an author.

She struggled at school, with her mother even describing her as “ineducable” but has since overcome those issues.

Nicky said: “To be honest I didn’t think being a writer was on the cards until my late 40s when I was diagnosed with dyslexia and ADHD.

“Getting diagnosed was actually helpful because it made sense of things for me. I choose not to see it as a disability but a different way of processing things.

“Obviously computers have been introduced with spell-check which helps me as well.”

Gazette: Nicky MatthewsNicky Matthews (Image: Newsquest)

Nicky’s book Kitty Canham is about a young woman born in Thorpe to yeoman farmers in 1720.

Kitty got married aged 25, then disappeared two years later.

Two years after her disappearance a young man was apprehended on the coast near Colchester.

The suspect was taken to Hythe by officials who had searched for contraband and found a woman’s body, identified as Kitty.

Nicky detailed her life story with creative elements to produce a captivating novel.

She said: “Readers have told me the novel is an immersive experience and they really saw themselves in Kitty’s shoes.

“My hope for readers is that they would have walked with a young woman from that era and all her struggles.

“I believe it’s a very human tale - it’s more about her internal struggles.”

Nicky held two talks in Harwich and Frinton, discussing the process from conceptual ideas to writing a whole novel.

She said: “For this book, I’m glad that I had bones to put flesh on with Kitty’s story. When I started writing it I didn’t know it was going to be a novel.

“I started by placing her in the landscape here in her late teens working on a farm. As I wrote that scene everything began to unfurl.

“After some positive feedback from friends I kept going and from that point I did some research and plotting for the book.”

Nicky is already working on her second book which will involve one of Kitty’s friends.

After her diagnosis she went to Colchester Arts School to study 3D craft and design with a focus on sculpture.

Nicky said: “I made sculptures with images inscribed on them and even that was about storytelling.

“In the end unfortunately I suffered with chronic fatigue a few years after my degree and haven’t been able to get back into sculpting yet.”

Nicky ran Frinton Summer Theatre for 23 years and her brother, Clacton MP Giles Watling, headed the theatre with his friends before Nicky took over in 1984.

She added: “Our family had a very bohemian background as my father, Jack, was an actor, and my two sisters, Giles and myself all got into acting as well.

“Giles is into his sailing which a lot of people may not know, so that’s nice.”

Kitty Canham is available to purchase on Amazon.

For more information about Nicky visit