A BARRHEAD woman will keep a long-held promise to her late father when her children’s book is launched in major stores in the UK and US today (April 29).

Leo Sloan is the author behind ‘The Witch and The Willow’ – a rhyming tale about a witch who walks into a glen and finds a magic willow tree hiding from hunters who are trying to steal its powers.

Due to be released in paperback and e-book form, seeing it on the shelves will be a dream come true for the 38-year-old writer, who also has a full-time job as a support worker.

She told the Barrhead News: “Every time I used to walk past Waterstones, I would think ‘I’m going to be in there one day’ – and now I will be.

“I’m over the moon because I have been aiming for this for quite a while.

“My dad is one of my main inspirations. He used to sit down and listen to any story that I had to tell. He was the one who was always saying to me ‘your stories are really good.’

“One day, he asked me to his house for a serious talk and I agreed to get this story out.

“Unfortunately, he passed away in 2015, so this is the promise I made to him finally happening.

“It’s bittersweet because he can’t see the book but I’ve kept my promise to him, so I feel great.”

Leo, who writes under the name LM Sloan, has always been an avid storyteller but, after writing on and off over the years, she stopped for “a very long time.”

She then picked up her pen again when she was visiting her gran in hospital in 2011.

And it was during one of these visits, while her gran was sleeping, that she wrote The Witch and The Willow.

In the time since, she has written a number of children’s stories, including Two Unicorns, which is available as an e-book, and The Bedtime Express, which is available on Sound Cloud as part of a Scottish Book Trust collection.

Her gran also sadly passed away but Leo still thinks of her, as well as her dad’s supportive words, to get inspiration as a writer.

She also tries to impress her “toughest critics” – her six young nephews who live in Neilston and Barrhead.

“They help me along the way so, as a thank you, I’m sure they will be full of sweets and cakes when the book comes out,” she said.

“My brother and sister and their other halves have all supported me as well. I really appreciate them supporting me as I follow my dream.

“If I can get one child interested in reading, then that’s job done.”

The Witch and The Willow will be available from Waterstones, Barnes and Noble and Amazon.