CLARE Harvey has won the Exeter Novel Prize for her debut historical novel The Gunner Girl, which is published later this year.

Inspired by her mother-in-law’s time as on the anti-aircraft guns in WW2, Clare began writing the book in 2011 when her Royal Engineer husband was away on tour.

“I’m so thrilled to win the Exeter Novel Prize,” said Clare. “Starting the book was a welcome distraction from worrying about my husband, who was in Afghanistan at the time, and it’s brilliant that it’s gone on to do so well.”

The Exeter Novel Prize is open to unrepresented and unpublished authors, but in the time between entering the competition and the prize being announced Clare was lucky enough to find an agent and a publisher.

The Gunner Girl is published by Simon & Schuster on 8 October 2015, but is available for pre-order on Amazon.

Clare’s husband left the army in February 2015, but she keeps in touch with her old friends as a member of her local Military Wives Choir.

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