BEST-SELLING Stourbridge novelist Miranda Dickinson is offering aspiring authors in the Black Country chance to pursue their writing dreams.

The author of Fairytale of New York, Welcome to my World, It Started With a Kiss and When I Fall in Love has launched a competition to find and mentor five new writers.

Believed to be the first initiative of its kind offered by a best-selling scribe in the UK and possibly the world - Miranda's Future Stars programme will give five writers unprecedented first-hand experience of the publishing industry and Miranda will personally mentor the lucky five throughout 2013.

Four budding novelists will be offered a place on the programme for a cost of £80 for the year and one lucky writer will be offered a free scholarship place.

Miranda, who has moved from Stourbridge to Gornal, said: "I'm looking for writers of all genres who are determined to pursue their writing dream and my five mentorees will be asked to set goals that we will work together to achieve in 2013."

The five selected wordsmiths will each receive a phone call from Miranda once a month, plenty of inspiration and one-to-one advice on their writing projects and chance to meet key figures in the publishing industry.

Miranda, who is signed to Avon (part of HarperCollins), said: "I'm so excited about creating opportunities for new writers to take steps towards being published and I know there is so much writing talent out there waiting to be discovered. I was discovered through (HarperCollins' site for unpublished writers) in 2008 so I know how important a lucky break can be for an aspiring author.

"I'm thrilled to be able to perhaps open doors for someone else to pursue their dream."

Meanwhile Miranda's very own fairytale continues.

Now one of the country's top chick lit authors - the former political copy writer has sold half a million books worldwide and her fourth offering When I Fall in Love, published in November, has become her fourth Sunday Times bestseller.

She said: "I'm amazed and thrilled."

Miranda, a self-confessed optimist and hopeless romantic, also tied the knot last year to sweetheart Jim White (aka Bob) - whom many readers will know from her online video blogs.

Application packs for the Future Stars scheme will be available to download from Miranda's website from noon today (Friday January 25) and aspiring authors have until midnight on Thursday February 14 to apply.