A Sussex author who aimed to secure a publishing deal by racking up 250 pre-orders before July 4 has beaten her deadline.

The target was reached a month early after a Sussex secondary school put in an order of 60 copies of Inflicted by Ria Frances, a former primary school teacher who lives in Ashington, West Sussex, with her husband and four sons aged between 14 and four.

The school plans to use the novel, the story of a close and therapeutic friendship between two survivors of the Nazis, as part of its National Curriculum English Literature course for its Year 8 pupils.

“As a teacher, the compliment does not really get any higher than that,” said Ria, who wrote Inflicted during bouts of insomnia following the birth of her premature twin sons.

“To think your book is going to be used to help children with their literature is amazing.”

As Women Actually reported in April, Ria took the unconventional route to a publishing deal by signing up to Britain's Next Bestseller, which hopes to shake up the book publishing industry by giving readers the power to launch an author’s career.

Inflicted will now be published in September, but pre-orders are still being taken before the deadline of July 4.

To pre-order Inflicted, for £8.99, visit www.britainsnextbestseller.co.uk/book/index/Inflicted<&eh>.">www.britainsnextbestseller.co.uk/book/index/Inflicted.