AN author who lived in Maldon will be launching her debut novel based on her teenage years on the Blackwater.

The book, which comes out today is called MUD and explores themes of family, loss and mental health through the lens of a 14 year old girl’s diary.

Emily Thomas, born in London, spent some time on a Thames sailing barge called Beatrice Maud which was moored at the quayside next to Promenade Park.

After the death of her mother, Emily’s father quickly remarried and became bankrupt.

He decided to acquire a Thames barge in Maldon and move Emily, her siblings and step–family onto the boat.

This fictional retelling still contains real elements from her past including her father’s struggles and the fire that burned the boat down, destroying all their possessions.

Ms Thomas said: “First, I had a scene in my head - I had been thinking about my dad and suddenly all these memories of a time I hadn't wanted to think about for decades came back really strongly.

“I just needed to write down how I felt the day my life changed quite radically when my father broke the news that we were all going to live on a boat.

“The fictional elements created a better and more satisfying story.

“The fiction also protected the real life characters since it gave them a little immunity from exposure.

“When I was 18, I left Maldon for good, and shortly afterwards my dad moved with the boat to Faversham in Kent.

“My brother lives nearby in Tollesbury, so occasionally I have been back to Maldon.

Ms Thomas is currently an editor of children’s and young adult fiction and lives in Brixton, South London.

She has also worked with established writers such as Dawn O’Porter and Sally Gardner.

The book is published by Andersen Press and is being sold in paperback and eBook formats.