A FORMER Basingstoke Carnival Queen, who has since carved out a career as a Hollywood screenwriter, will be returning to her home town next week to promote the UK publication of her mystery novels.

Laura Dennison, who writes as Hannah Dennison, was made Carnival Queen of the town in 1974 and won a kiss from Rick Parfitt of Status Quo, some Elizabeth Arden cosmetics and a holiday to Marjorca.

After many adventures, including a five-day stint in the navy, a career as an obituary newspaper reporter, a flight attendant and a Hollywood studio executive, she now live in Los Angeles writing mysteries set in England.

Laura, 54, who grew up in Old Basing, said: “It’s been a long time since I was Carnival Queen. I moved in 1977 but still have very strong ties with school friends.”

The writer will to return to Waterstones, in Festival Place, for a signing on Tuesday, at 11am as part of a UK book tour promoting The Vicky Hill Mysteries published by Penguin in the USA.

The two books, entitled A Vicky Hill Exclusive! and Scoop!, which chronicle the adventures of aspiring investigative journalist Vicky Hill, will be published in the UK by Constable & Robinson this year.

Laura said she had drawn from her own experience as a reporter when penning the books. She was the obituary writer on the Tiverton Gazette in Devon in 1977 before she began screenwriting in 1990. She moved to Los Angeles in 1993 to become a screenwriter in Hollywood, and had her first novel published in 2008 in America.

Laura said she is looking forward to the visit, adding: “I can’t wait to return to Basingstoke.”