A former office manager from Swanley is riding high in the world of romantic fiction.

Elaine Everest, of Oliver Road, has been shortlisted for an international award for her novel, Gracie’s War, which starts in Slade Green at the start of the Second World War and finishes in Belvedere.

The 60-year-old is up for the Romantic Novelists' Associations' Joan Hessayon Award which will be presented at a summer gala later this month.

Ms Everest enjoys weaving her memories and family’s history into her writing.

She told News Shopper: "In my novel, Gracie's War, there’s a bit where she gets rescued from the floods in Belvedere. This happened to my mother in 1953.

"A lot of my work is inspired by my family’s stories and what happened to them.

"I am also inspired by the locations of Kent - we have so much beautiful countryside in the region.

"I enjoy the research which comes with historical novels. 

"People in Kent have been so helpful - I’ve done lots of readings and signings in the area and everybody is really friendly and supportive."

News Shopper: Swanley novelist celebrated for romantic novel set in Belvedere

Ms Everest used to work in administration but left to concentrate on her passion for literature.

She said: "I used to be an office manager but I left in 1997 and decided to concentrate on writing.

"As well as writing, and having more than 60 short stories published in magazines all over the world, I also run The Write Place, a creative writing school in the Mick Jagger Centre, in Dartford.

"I've also written three non-fiction books on dogs and exhibited my dogs in Crufts."

Visit thewriteplace.org.uk or follow @ElaineEverest on Twitter.

Gracie’s War costs £1.53 and is available on Amazon.co.uk