She’s used to writing prescriptions and patient notes, but now a Dorset doctor has become a published children’s author after she penned her first book.

Dr Alison Gardiner, a GP at Nuffield Health Bournemouth Hospital and a mother of four, dreamed up the fantasy fiction The Serpent of Eridor to keep her children entertained during the school run. The story follows 14-year-old Alex Weston who finds himself shipwrecked on the enchanted Island of Eridor with only his hamster Skoodle for help. On his journey Alex befriends a warrior bear, battles vengeful wizards, is engulfed by a man-eating mud swamp and pursued by murderous crocodiles.

But all of these encounters feel like a mere warm-up in comparison to his final challenge.

Alison has been a GP for more than 20 years and started the private GP practice at Nuffield Health Bournemouth 17 years ago with her colleague Dr Steven Kidman.

From penning prescriptions to fantasy fiction, Alison explains her inspiration for bringing writing into her already extremely busy life: “If you want to be healthy you need to look at your lifestyle.

“We all go about our busy lives, but it’s important to take a step back sometimes and find a way to relax. Fun, laughter and writing are my tonics.

“Every writing day is an adventure; it’s like living with a slowly evolving motion picture inside my head.

“It is fascinating writing fantasy, as I can toss in anything, from the strange to the spectacular. It’s more fun than other genres and I love having fun so this is important. Where else can you invent a Catherine Wheel table?!”

When asked about her fellow colleagues’ reactions to her alter ego, Alison reveals: “I am delighted to say the staff at Nuffield Health have all been fabulous and extremely supportive of my writing.”

Aimed at ages eight to 12, The Serpent of Eridor, published by Matador, is a weird and wonderful, fast-paced tale, threaded with humour and available now online or in Waterstones.