Poulshot author Jane Lark is celebrating after her debut novel, The Illicit Love of a Courtesan, reached number one in the historical romance chart in America this week.

The story is also number 23 in the overall Kindle store chart in the USA.

Mrs Lark, 47, who survived a serious car accident 23 years ago and has a debilitating rheumatic disease works full time as a civil servant with the Ministry of Defence

She was signed up by Harper Impulse, a new range of romantic fiction from HarperCollins, last year.

“I am so excited. I can’t believe I am now officially a bestselling author in the USA, I feel like I’m dreaming," she said.

“Romance is the top selling genre in America and, of course, many Americans have a real passion for history, so I can understand why people would be drawn to my historical series, The Marlow Intrigues, and the Illicit Love of a Courtesan particularly, which was inspired by a real courtesan's, Harriette Wilson's, memoirs.

"But there is a whole raft of authors work to choose from, so I am sure that publishing through Harper Impulse, part of Harper Collins, has added significant profile to my story, along with all the amazing reviews that my historical books receive."

Mrs Lark had been writing for ten years and received almost 70 rejections from publishers before her career as a novelist took off.

She had been signed up by US publishers Sapphire Star but two weeks after her first book was published early last year they decided not to publish any new books for the foreseeable future and offered Mrs Lark the rights to her book back.

Fortunately for Mrs Lark an editor at HarperCollins had read the book and, after sending them this and other books she had written, Harper Impulse signed her up to write six books.