A TRAUMATIC event set an aspiring author "back on course" as it provided the creative push she needed to put pen to paper.

Despite an early passion for the written word, ex-Marlwood School student Sarah Tranter was sidetracked and ended up pursuing a career in politics before moving on to public relations.

But being involved in a car accident four years ago sent her back on her initial path and in fact became the inspiration for her first novel No Such Thing as Immortality.

The mother-of-two boys, Arun, nine, and Max, six, originally from Olveston, told the Gazette: "I was involved in a car accident four years ago and in the months after, found myself playing around with a scene in my head about a car accident.

"I sat down at the computer and wrote it and that became the opening scene of the book. Twenty years on, I was back on course."

No Such Thing as Immortality is the first volume of fantasy trilogy narrated by 200-year-old Nathaniel Gray, an old-fashioned English gentleman reminiscent of Jane Austen’s Mr Darcy. Weaving romance within a supernatural plot, the novel, which was released on Monday (Jan 7), has been hailed by plaudits as the new Twilight.

After putting the finishing touches to her manuscript she sent it to publishing house Choc Lit. Seven months later, she was offered a contract for the book and its two sequels.

"I didn’t for one moment think they would ever accept it for publication," the 40-year-old added. "Even when I knew it had passed the reader panels, performing really well, and was with the editorial team for a decision I couldn't allow myself to hope."

The day she received the news from Choc Lit will remain firmly engraved in her memory.

"I remember screaming for my husband," she said. "I couldn't stop shaking and bawling and had to keep re-reading the email because I still couldn't believe it. I don't think there will ever be another moment like it."

Mrs Tranter, a romantic at heart, married her high school sweetheart Jamie, whom she met at Marlwood School when she was 15 years old. She now lives in Wiltshire with her family.