14/08/2014 12:58 BST | Updated 20/05/2015 06:12 BST

Mum Wrote Best-Selling Novel While Collecting Kids On The School Run


If you find the school run a bit of a waste of time when you could be doing other things, why not take a leaf out of mum Jo Thomas's book?

As she was waiting for her kids to come out of school, she'd park up in a lay-by, open her laptop – and write a novel!

And now the mum-of-three is celebrating after her romantic fiction book The Oyster Catcher reached number three in the Amazon chart.

Jo said: "I'd drop the eldest at school, the next one in nursery and then the baby would fall asleep in the car. So I'd stop wherever I was, park up, pull out my laptop and start writing.

"I got some very funny looks from passers-by – but it was worth it.

Jo signed a deal with independent publisher Accent Press to publish her contemporary novel as an ebook two months ago. Within weeks it had shot up the Kindle best-seller charts alongside '12 Years A Slave', source of the Bafta-winning film.

Jo, a member of the Romantic Novelists Association said: "It was a thrill to have my book accepted by a publisher. I've spent years trying to write and learning how to do it.

"Bringing up three children meant I didn't have a lot of 'me time'.

"I spent a lot of years trying to get over the finish line so to watch my first book climb higher and higher up the charts has been unbelievable."

Jo turned to writing after giving up her job as a BBC radio producer to start her family.

She said: "Writing in my car was ideal. I could go to that place in my head and make it as lovely and special as I wanted it to be. I knew there were toys to be tidied, piles of clothes to wash and play dates to organise at home so writing in the car gave me some peace and quiet."

The Oyster Catcher tells the story of Fiona Clutterbuck who runs away after being jilted at the altar and eventually finds love while working on an oyster farm in the west of Ireland.

Jo, who lives with husband Gert in Cowbridge, Vale of Glamorgan, is now working on her next novel The Olive Branch – and is still writing in the car.