AUTHOR Rachel Edwards is celebrating after her debut novel - a Brexit thriller - was optioned for a new TV drama.

Darling, first published last year by 4th Estate, is now out in paperback.

Ms Edwards lives near Wallingford with her husband Peter and her stepchildren Emma and Charlie and worked as a freelance writer for 13 years before becoming a novelist.

Darling is the tale of a black British stepmother and her white English stepdaughter and the author was prompted to write the novel after being subjected to racist abuse from a builder days after the EU referendum in 2016.

The Oxford Times:

The novel has now been optioned for TV by Artists Studio, the makers of BBC2’s The Fall.

Ms Edwards, 45, said: “It’s exciting that Darling has been optioned for TV - you never know what’s going to happen.

“The novel has been called a Brexit thriller but it’s not primarily about Brexit.

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“It has interchanging chapters and is quite dark and twisty - the family is a microcosm of the country being pulled apart.

“Darling has been very well received and I’m now working on my second novel which will be a standalone - pacy, domestic, psychological literature.”

Ms Edwards said writing novels had been her dream since she was about seven.

She added that when her stepchildren Emma and Charles, reached 18 she decided to focus on writing fiction.

The author added: “I got my book deal, then within weeks the TV rights were optioned by Artists Studio, who are the people behind the BBC2 hit drama series The Fall, which starred Jamie Dornan and Gillian Anderson.

“Darling the character came to me in early 2016.

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“I wanted to write about a black woman who was British born and of Jamaican descent - I myself have a Jamaican mother and Nigerian father and was born in Truro.

“I wanted to reflect upon some realities of living with that black British identity, being a second-generation immigrant. Darling started to take shape as a character in my mind and started to speak to me but for a few weeks I was not sure exactly what her story was. Then came the Brexit vote, which I watched unfold all night with a sense of horror and foreboding. I actually emailed my agent, Joanna, at 5am to write ‘Holy hell and No!’

“By 7am Britain already looked different to me, the daughter of immigrants and I knew what Darling’s story had to be.”

In her acknowledgements Ms Edwards thanked her stepchildren, saying: “To Emma and Charlie thank you for forgiving this bizarre business of mine that is writing.

“The many hours in my writing room and other stranger locations; the half-burnt dinners and half-baked eccentricities.

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“Thank you for your faith and for allowing me, your stepmum, to love you.”

She also paid tribute to her husband Peter for always saying ‘follow your dream’ and ‘following it up with every kind of support imaginable’.

Darling by Rachel Edwards is published by 4th Estate, price £8.99.