A FORTH VALLEY woman revisited her youth for her new novel about a single-parent family in Fife.

Moira McPartlin recently released Before Now: Memoir of a Toerag – on sale in Alva – and is written entirely in the Fife tongue.

Set in the 1990s, the story is told in a small village and features a single-parent family struggling to adapt to the effects brought on by Fife's mass pit closures.

Sam and Gavin Smart’s worlds shatter when their mum rips them from the family home on Mother’s Day 1990.

Six years later, Gavin is confined to a room in his granny’s house after breaking a leg.

All he wants is to pass his driving theory test and escape the room, but instead he writes his memoir of the last six turbulent years.

As the memoir progresses more than one person’s story emerges and Gavin realises things have to change.

This coming-of-age story is filled with comedy, high pranks and a heavy dose of unintended pathos.

Moira said: "I'm both an adult and children's writer, and it was when I was reading some young adult fiction as part of a critique group that I realised I was really bored with these characters I was constantly reading about.

"They were all boring, white, middle-class characters whose main worry was exam grades.

"As a single mother who had two boys, they were constantly causing all sorts of palavers and scrapes; far funnier than what I was reading about.

"That's why I started writing some short stories and it was only after I let the group read them that one member came back to me and said how brilliant she thought one was and that the mother's voice is really coming out in it That's when I decided to write a novel, instead."

Gavin is 17 years old, dyslexic and writes down the last few years of his life and experiences with his mum and dad.

Moira wrote the self-published novel in a Fife dialect and it is mainly why a sequel will never surface.

"Editing this novel was an absolute nightmare," she laughed. "I found it really easy to write it, but the amount of editing was too much. Every time I looked I would find something that needed changed.

"I got a professional editor to look at it and even he struggled a bit, although he said he loved doing it.

"I would never go through that again."

Moira lived in Oakley before moving to Carnock at the age of seven.

"I went through the pit closures and the villages around really were devastated by it," she said. "It was no fault of their own, either.

"I'm still very passionate about Fife and it is a great place."

Alva book shop Guid Reads has picked up copies of the book and upon visiting the shop, Moira met a man buying three copies.

Moira said: "He told me that he had never read before until buying a book on how to read books properly.

"This novel is in short chapters and there's a lot of dialogue, so there's a lot of white space and that really appealed to him.

"It was so touching and it really inspired me."

Before Now: Memoir of a Toerag is available online via Amazon.