BY DAY Sophie Tallis is a teacher at Beaudesert School in Minchinhampton.

By night she is the chronicler of an archaic and hidden world of tradition, sorcery and magic.

"It’s been like this for the past 11 years - I've been a full-time Year 1 teacher, and have also been writing and illustrating my epic fantasy adventure,” she said.

“I tend to do most of my writing and drawing in the evenings and weekends and often in bed when I should be sleeping. For some inexplicable reason I seem to get most creative in the twilight hours.

“I write in longhand and so I constantly have to have an army of notepads which I take with me everywhere. You never know where and when your next idea is going to come from, if I don't write it down immediately, it's lost! So, I have notepads in coat pockets, handbags, school bags, in the car, in my desk and cupboard at school, in virtually every room of the house and even in the bathroom!

“Since I was a child I have always written poetry and short stories and have been profoundly inspired by the natural landscapes around me, particularly those of the Cotswolds, Dartmoor and New Zealand, where I spent a magical four month odyssey lost amongst the towering mountains and volcanoes of that country. It was there that White Mountain was born.”

White Mountain is the name of Sophie’s debut novel, which was published at the end of last month. The book is part one of The Darkling Chronicles, aimed at readers from age 10 upwards.

“The Darkling Chronicles are set now, within our modern world.  The general premise of my book is that there is an ancient hidden civilisation that pre-dates that of humans and which still survives.

“Although I adore teaching, becoming a published author has always been a life-long dream of mine, which is finally coming true.

“As I say to the children in my care, the only limit is your imagination.”

White Mountain is published by Safkhet Publishing LLP and is available from Stroud Children’s Bookshop, the Yellow Lighted Bookshops in Nailsworth and Tetbury, and online from Amazon.