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Last Updated: Tuesday, 21 November 2006, 10:51 GMT
Aide helps top author write again
Novelist Katie Flynn
Katie Flynn also writes under the name Judith Saxton
A best-selling author left unable to write after suffering the debilitating condition ME is celebrating the publication of her 75th novel.

Katie Flynn, from Wrexham, was diagnosed with the condition 11 years ago which became worse when she was in a car crash in 1999.

Since then she has dictated her novels to her personal assistant Jo Prince, who types every word into the computer.

Ms Flynn, 70, said: "She's fantastic. I don't know where I'd be without her."

Since being diagnosed with ME - a condition which still baffles many doctors - she has suffered symptoms including severe pain and tiredness.

Many a time I've had a heroine on page one with green eyes, and they've turned to grey and then brown in the course of the book
Writer Katie Flynn

During a car crash six-and-a-half years ago, she suffered whiplash which made it physically difficult for her to write.

She placed a job in her local job centre, and Jo has been typing out her novels ever since.

Katie said: "I can't read, I can't focus on print. I flake out after about three-and-a-half hours.

"I'm prone to burning hot pins and needles in my hands and arms, and once that starts, you've got to stop, you can't keep on.

"It's slowed me down - you wouldn't think so because I'm doing two books a year.

Jo Prince
Jo Prince is now an integral part of Katie Flynn's novels

"You get what they call 'brain fog,' you forget words. Many a time I've had a heroine on page one with green eyes, and they've turned to grey and then brown in the course of the book.

"Somebody's got to look out for you, and that's why Jo is so essential."

She added: "Jo has got so into my mind that she can tell when I lose track completely, and she can tell me the word that I want

"I think it's quite interesting, for both of us."

The author, who also writes as Judith Saxton, is best known for her novels set in early 20th Century Liverpool.

With the help of her assistant, she writes two books each year, selling up to 170,000 copies of each.

The latest book, Little Girl Lost, is released this week, and the pair are already working on the next title.

Jo, a secretary by profession, said: "She's a wonderful lady and we've become good friends.

"I love the books - it would be awful if I didn't.

"I'm always fascinated by them - just as I think the plot's going one way, she surprises me."

Jo added: "When she's writing she's in a totally different world really.

"It's escapism and I think it has a good effect on her illness. It makes her positive and it takes her out of herself."


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