A FORMER director of East Renfrewshire Chamber of Commerce is shining a light on high-functioning autism through the plot of his new novel.

‘There’s a Problem With Dad,’ by award-winning journalist Carlos Alba, is a family tragedy which explores how the condition affects people of all ages – a topic relatively untouched by fiction writers.

It follows the story of George Lovelace, who has always done everything by the book – a steady job, wife and children never late for an appointment.

Despite this, he has always felt out of step with those around him and, now a widower in his 70s, he stands alone against a world that feels as alien as ever, where intuition always seem more important than cold logic.

When George is charged with sexually assaulting a 17-year-old girl, his inability to communicate with others pushes him, and those around him, to the limit.

It is the third novel by dad-of-three Carlos, who was inspired by his own experience of observing, over several years, a family member with undiagnosed, high-functioning autism.

Carlos, 55, said: “I read a book by Sally Brampton, a former Sunday Times journalist, in which she talked about how her father suffered from high-functioning autism and was in his 70s before they resolved to do something about it.

“I asked the daughter of my own family member if any of it rang a bell and she recognised some of the behaviours, such as being very quiet in company, being quite obsessive about things and sometimes saying the wrong thing at the wrong time.

“There has been quite a lot of fiction written about people with Asperger’s or autism which tends to focus on young people who were born after the 1980s and were diagnosed.

“Those who were born before then just kind of learned to live with it and developed coping strategies and mechanisms.”

Carlos, who lives in Netherlee and runs public relations consultancy Carlos Alba Media, has previously worked as Scotland editor of The Sunday Times and education correspondent for The Herald.

There’s a Problem with Dad, priced £9.99, is available to pre-order here.