Live updates

90-year-old North Yorkshire man publishes 23rd novel

Bill Spence from Ampleforth Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

An author who was told to adopt a female pen name in order to sell more of his romance novels is about to see his 23rd edition hit the shelves.

90 year old Bill Spence, from Ampleforth in North Yorkshire, writes under the pseudonym Jessica Blair.

In the past, authors like Charlotte Bronte used male pen names to try to get their books published.

Mr Spence was advised his readers may have more affinity with his work, if they thought it had been written by a woman.

Bill Spence from Ampleforth Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

The grandfather, who also served in the Royal Air Force during the Second World War, had books inspired by his wartime experiences.

When Bill Spence later approached publishers with his idea of romance novels set in the 18th and19th centuries, they suggested he use the name Jessica Blair.

Bill Spence says:

"The romance in them, I suppose, is that, eventually, the heroine finds happiness but that isn't always the case. I don't always agree with a happy ending."

A Tapestry of Dreams is due for release next month and tells the love story of the daughter of a landowner who falls for the eldest son of a mill owner.