The outbreak of coronavirus has provided a slightly ironic set off difficulties for a writer who was preparing to launch a new novel – because it is about the Great Plague.

Academic Sarah Burton, who was the director of a Cambridge University creative writing course, got the idea for The Strange Adventures Of H a decade ago.

The 56-year-old aimed to launch the novel, which is published by Legend Press and tells the story of an orphan sent to live with an aunt in London during the mid-1660s, next month.

But those plans have had to be abandoned and she is now trying to find ways of publicising the book, her first novel, online.

"The irony of that fact that I'm trying to launch a novel set in the time of the plague while living in the time of a pandemic isn't lost on me," said Dr Burton, who lives near Llandrindod Wells.

"There are similarities between now and the mid-1660s. There have been concerns about people moving out of London to second homes.

"In 1665, London became increasingly isolated as fear of the plague spreading grew in the surrounding countryside, and both goods and people coming from the city were viewed with suspicion," she said.

"In Chelmsford, Essex, there was an incident where a number of refugees from London were discovered and incarcerated."