A small tea shop by the seaside has enabled author  Nicola May to give up her job and concentrate fulltime on her writing.

Nicola, 52, who lives in Ascot High Street, is a self-published writer whose romantic stories have been catching the public's fancy since she published her first book Working It Out in 2011.

It was successful enough to get her a deal with publishers - but she found she preferred 'doing it herself' and went back to the lonely business of self publishing.

Her new book The Corner Shop in Cockleberry Bay - her ninth - has changed everything. It has reached number one in the bestselling Amazon Chart out of the 3.5 million books on sale.

Nicola said: "I think it was the seaside setting that did it. There have been a lot of books about tea shops recently and I decided to go with the market, rather than taking my usual maverick approach."

She came up with a story of a girl brought up by foster parents who inherits a corner shop from a mystery benefactor.

She said: "There is mystery as well as romance - and that includes a 'hit and run' incident."

Nicola says she writes 'chick lit with kick'.

"I'm not fluffy. The mystery is an important element in the new book. Everybody loves crime."

The newest book's success has enabled Nicola to give up her job as an events manager and to concentrate full time on her writing.

She said: "I am so delighted that my books has reached number 1 in the Amazon bestseller chart and also Number 1 in both Romantic Comedy and Romance. Being self-published makes it harder to accomplish this and I am proud to now call myself a full time author."

She has just signed with the Lorella Belli foreign rights agency and Lightning Books, who are now distributing all her paperbacks. She is also in talks with a production company about turning the book into a film.

Visit https://www.amazon.co.uk/Corner-Shop-Cockleberry-Bay-ebook/dp/B07B8KML35 for more details about the book.