SHE is the bestselling Hampshire author who sold her wedding dress to pay for a typewriter and has never looked back.

Jessie Keane has enjoyed huge success with her tales of London's criminal underworld, selling more than a million copies worldwide.

Now she has released her 14th crime thriller The Knock, the story of a mother and daughter caught up in a world of gangsters, murderers and bent coppers.

Jessie, who lives in a small village between Wickham and Winchester, bases her tales on her own experiences after running away to Soho as a teenager.

She told the Daily Echo: "I was heartbroken. The family business had collapsed, my father had died and it was a really rough time. I just wanted to get away and I went to London and stayed with a friend. I was only 15 or 16, but there I met all the characters that later inspired me.

"I had a lot of dead end jobs, working in a bakery, slicing bacon, sweeping up in a hairdressers. I left school with no qualifications at all, apart from, ironically, my O Level in English Language.

"I was twice divorced and living in a council flat with no money and I thought I'm going to have to either get a proper job or actually get on with writing all these stories in my head. I bought that typewriter and got on with it!"

Within weeks, she had a six figure publishing deal for six books.

"I had always loved writing, even as a child I would win little awards for my stories," Jessie continues. "I had tried writing 'chick lit' but it just wasn't me. As soon as I started writing crime thrillers, that was the turning point."

In The Knock, Dora is pregnant by her gangster lover and finds herself on the streets and then in the grips of a bent copper. Growing up in the shadow of her mother’s abusive relationship, Angel is nothing like her mother, but when matters turn murderous, she is forced to grow up fast.

Of Romany heritage, Jessie was born in the 60s in a caravan on land owned by her grandparents near Winchester and has six older brothers.

As a child, she had her tea leaves read and was told success was on its way and she would become a writer.

She moved back to Hampshire more than a decade ago and fell in love with her next door neighbour Cliff. They live in a rural spot surrounded by horses grazing in paddocks and keep chickens.

Jessie is now working on her 15th novel The Manor.

The Knock, by Jessie Keane, is out now, priced £12.99.