Crime novelist Peter James got real-life inspiration for his new book when he was pestered by a stalker.

The best-selling writer was emailed a 10,000-word rant from a woman claiming she was his biggest fan after he did not recognise her at a book-signing.

He drew on the experience for his latest book, Not Dead Yet, the eighth in the Roy Grace detective series.

The book features a woman who decides to murder an actress in Brighton after the star ignores her at The Grand.

Mr James said he has been followed by a woman over the last ten years.

He said: “I constantly do events. I’d be in Edinburgh or Ipswich and she’d be there.

“If she couldn’t come she’d email saying: ‘I’m not going to be able to make your talk in Coventry.

“‘I hope you’ll be OK without me in the audience.’”

Mr James said matters came to a head when he did not recognise her at a book-signing in Leicester.

He said: “I went blank. I said: ‘I can’t remember your name.’ “She stormed off. Then she wrote me a 10,000-word email.”

He then did not hear from her for two years, until he |saw her at a book-signing in Bristol.

He said: “She slammed down my book on the desk and said: ‘I’ve decided to forgive you’.”

Mr James said he told police about the woman and officers made background checks on her.

She also sent him photographs of her library of his work.

The experience unsettled him but provided the germ of an idea.

He said: “I found it very creepy.

“The night when I got that 10,000-word email I really thought ‘Maybe she’s going to get revenge on me because I didn’t recognise her’.

“It really gave me the idea for the book.”