A BESTSELLING author and great grandmother who penned 20 novels has died aged 98.

Elvi Rhodes, from Rottingdean, died earlier this week at Highbury Nursing Home and leaves behind four grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren.

While Rhodes always had a passion for storytelling, her rise to fame came in the mid-1980s with the publication of her novel Opal.

After raising her children she dedicated herself to writing and had 20 novels and a collection of short stories published between 1984 and 2008.

The Yorkshire-born writer was remembered by her son, Stephen Rhodes, as a “wonderful and very creative mother”.

The 72-year-old said: “She will be very much missed but I think to die of old age at 98 is something we would all welcome.

“She was a wonderful and very creative mother who was very much into storytelling.

“For me and my brother, every night she would tell us an episode of a story she called Those Three Boys, featuring two boys like my brother and myself.”

Mr Rhodes, who lives in New York, said his mother was extremely proud of what she accomplished and said her picking up the pen in her later life was a “lesson”, showing it is never too late to start being creative.

He said: “She always wrote as a young woman and did a couple of radio plays, but then her writing went into the background when she raised a family.

“Writing is a tough occupation and there is a great deal of mental and physical energy required.

She found that harder to summon after the age of 90 but before then she produced novels regularly.”

Her final book was a Brighton-based tale A House by the Sea.

On her website, elvirhodes.com, her biography reads: “I don’t write my novels to further a cause or to put forward a particular point of view.

“I just have a story in my head which I hope you’ll want to hear, one which will entertain you, perhaps take you out of yourself to some other place.”

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