AN AUTHOR from North Swindon launched her first book on Saturday.

Countless by Karen Gregory explores the struggles of a teenage girl with an eating disorder who discovers that she’s pregnant and tries to keep her disorder under control for 17 weeks until the baby is born.

Despite dealing with tough subject matter like anorexia, mental health, and body image issues, it’s been described as a story of hope and resilience.

Karen met fans and signed copies at her very first book launch at the Swindon branch of Waterstones.

She said: “I’ve come to this bookshop so many times and it’s quite surreal to see my own book on the shelf.

“It’s not something I’ll forget in a hurry.

“I inhaled books as a child and as I got older, I thought it would be good to do one of my own but didn’t start writing until after my daughter was born.

“I had a vague aspiration to do it but finding the time to write was difficult until one day I decided to get the laptop out and start it.”

Karen grew up in Purton and now lives as a single mum in North Swindon with her two children, nine-year-old Naomi and six-year-old William.

She added: “The book was partly inspired by my own experiences and by people I knew as a teenager.

“The first draft was quite easy, it all came out really fast.

“The main character Hedda was already there, I just had to bring out more of her story through editing and rewriting.”

The first draft took three months to write but the editing and revising process took an entire year.

She wrote two other Young Adult novels that didn’t make it to the publishing stage and then secured a two-book deal with a major publisher.

The 36-year-old said: “I’ve loved working with Bloomsbury, it’s been a great learning experience and really enjoyable.

“My editor was brilliant, she asked lots of difficult questions which made me think hard about all the different layers of the story.

“It’s been challenging, but in a good way.

“I write on most days, sometimes all day long and I can’t really imagine not writing now.”

Karen works as a project manager at Great Western Hospital and is currently writing the ending of her second book, which will be out next year.