UNABLE to sleep in his hospital bed and disabled by a stroke, a Biggin Hill man wrote a novel on his iPad using the one finger on his left hand that he could still move.

Former commercial artist Howard Russell, 59, had no intention of becoming an author until he started writing his present day mystery A True History of a Big Hill Near Cudham to pass the time at the Princess Royal University Hospital in Orpington in 2011.

At one stage, he inadvertently wiped 30,000 words and had to restart.

Howard - who had to give up work four years ago because the Multiple Sclerosis he has suffering from since 1992 had worsened - and his wife of more than 30 years Pam, 57, both feature in fictionalised form in the tale of intrigue.

Pam, a former air hostess and administrator who is now Howard’s full-time carer, said: “Some of the plot is true, but it is intermingled with historic facts and fantasy, all rolled up together for a jolly good read.”

Fifteen months after he started typing, Howard’s book was finished and the couple had two publishers to choose from.

Howard said: “We are both thrilled that my book has finally been published, though Pam has to do all the jumps for joy for the two of us.”

A True History of a Big Hill Near Cudham by Howard Russell is published by Austin Macauley and costs £7.99.