IT WAS the most bizarre phonecall.

“My neighbour called to tell me a little boy was licking my front door,” Angela Proctor laughs out loud.

“That was very odd. It made me realise how popular my little witch had become.”

Angela’s little witch is Thumble Tumble, star of her own series of magical tales set on the enchanted isle of Arran. (She lives in a cottage with a door made of liquorice, based on the Proctors’ own holiday house in Lamlash which has a black - but decidedly inedible - front door.)

The fantasy adventure series, which has prompted some reviewers to call Angela the “next JK Rowling”, is a huge hit with younger children and the Glasgow author is in great demand at book festivals and signings.

She has recently donated a novel study pack to Scottish schools, in a bid to help boost literacy and support teachers with limited budgets, and she uses the profits from her books to support the Beatson in Glasgow. She has now raised more than £30,000 for the cancer charity.

All of it – the fame, the joy of engaging with her young readers through schools, the ‘second life’ as a successful children’s author – exists because around four years ago, Angela found an unexpected way out of one of the darkest periods of her life.

“My mum died of cancer, and I was very depressed,” she explains. “I was struggling to deal with it all. My husband Scott suggested I should write down the made-up stories I told our kids at bedtime.”

She pauses. “He told me later, he was desperate, and was just trying to think of something, anything that might help me,” she says. “But it worked. I started writing, and I didn’t feel so sad.”

Thumble Tumble was born, and the stories kept coming.

“I can’t start anything and not finish it, so I wrote them up and sent them to a publisher,” says Angela.

“On Christmas Eve that year, I got a phonecall. Someone wanted to publish my book. I was a director of a financial services company, the mother of two children, with no spare time at all, and it was terrifying. Awesome, but terrifying.”

The book – Thumble Tumble and the Ollpheist – was a hit, and Angela is now working on the fourth tale in a series of eight.

“My kids, Skye who is 10 and eight-year-old Kyle, know how it ends of course, but I have sworn them to secrecy,” smiles Angela.

“It’s been lovely to go in to schools and meet children and teachers who love the books. I have run competitions, to design a character for the books, to write a blog – it’s been amazing.”

Angela grew up in the east end with her brother Daniel and mum and dad, Jessie and Daniel senior.

“I loved to read,” she explains. “Every Saturday morning, I’d be in Parkhead Library. I loved fairy stories. We had a wonderful childhood, but we had nothing. Fairy stories gave me a way to escape into other worlds for a while.”

Jessie was diagnosed with lung cancer at Christmas 2013.

“I knew nothing about it, had no idea what to expect, and we were given lots of positives to focus on,” she says. “They said mum’s life expectancy - she was 60 at the time - would be reduced, so in my head, I’m thinking - maybe 70?”

Her voice falters. “So when she died eight months later, I was shellshocked. We were so close, she always supported me..”

Angela is happy to be able to support the Beatson, she says, in memory of her mum.

“My mum had lots of treatments in lots of hospitals, and it’s horrible,” she says. “But the Beatson was different. It has a lovely cafe, she could get her hair done or her nails done - that was where she was happiest.”