A STOURBRIDGE teacher hit with a devastating brain tumour diagnosis shortly after marrying has realised her dream of seeing her debut book in print - and could be on her way to becoming the next Enid Blyton or Roald Dahl.

Katie Smith, who lives in the Old Quarter, was crowned winner of children's book writing competition Lorraine's Top Tales live on TV in May and her debut story The Pumpkin Project hits book stores nationwide tomorrow (Thursday).

But the success is bittersweet for 31-year-old Katie who entered the competition on Lorraine Kelly's ITV show after being told her condition is incurable and she has a 50/50 chance of making it to 40.

She told the News holding a copy of her book for the first time was "unbelievable" but she added: "As much as it's wonderful - I'd give everything up to know that I'm healthy and could just live a normal life."

Katie's husband Luke, aged 32, who has been trying to come to terms with the shock diagnosis which came last autumn just weeks after the couple returned from a dream honeymoon in the United States, said the competition win had come just "at the right time" and he added: "With everything that's happened it's a little bit of light at the end of the tunnel."

He said a number of friends and family members have already snapped up pre-ordered copies of the book, about little girl Lottie who grows an enormous pumpkin for a school project, which has been described as "a lively, heartwarming adventure" with "definite hints of Roald Dahl in the story" on the lovereading4kids website.

Katie, a big fan of the legendary children's author, said: "Just to be mentioned in the same line as Roald Dahl is amazing. I’ve just written something I’m really proud of which I hope children will fall in love with."

She said she knew her story would have to be weird and wonderful to have a chance of selection and added: "I had a character and a couple of chapters and I knew it needed to grip children from page 1."

Providing perfect inspiration for lead character Lottie was Katie's young niece Lottie Parsons - a pupil at Brockmoor Primary School in Brierley Hill.

Katie, who studied English and drama at the University of Wolverhampton, said: "The whole image of Lottie is based on her, she's absolutely delighted."

Meanwhile - Katie is hoping for her own little one to read to, despite her bleak prognosis.

She said: "We would like to have children and we have kind of agreed nobody knows what's around the corner. You have to try and live your life as if you don't know this is happening."

Since undergoing brain surgery last November to remove the large tumour, Katie - whose mum has also been battling cancer - faces a lifetime of six-monthly scans and taking anti-seizure medication.

The condition has also robbed her of her driving licence and she is currently on sick leave from her job as head of English at Wyre Forest School, Kidderminster, which she had only taken up shortly before she started suffering terrible headaches.

Katie, who previously worked in the English department at Dudley's Holly Hall Academy, said: "It's always there in the back of your mind as surgery can never eradicate it and we know it's going to come back at some point - we just hope it won't be for a good few years."

Not keen on dwelling on her fate, she's hoping to raise the profile and possibly funds for Brain Tumour Research.

According to the charity more people under 40 die of a brain tumour than any other cancer and brain tumours are the biggest cancer killer of UK children.

And Hugh Adams, head of external affairs at Brain Tumour Research, said: “Sadly this devastating disease affects many young people, like Katie, and yet it has been allocated just one per cent of the national spend on cancer research.

“By speaking out about her experience Katie is helping many other families who find themselves in the same situation. For her to have achieved the publication of her first book during such an awful time is very inspiring."

Anne McNeil, publisher at Hodder Children’s Books part of Hachette Children's Group, said Katie's story was "accomplished in its overall polish" and it was chosen by the judges - after being whittled down from 3,000 entries - because it had a "perfect mix of strong characterisation, a great story arc and a lovely moral".

The Pumpkin Project - published by the team behind How To Train Your Dragon author Cressida Cowell - is available from High Street and online book sellers, priced £6.99.

To keep up-to-date with Katie Smith news follow her on Twitter @katiecake13 and for more information about Brain Tumour Research or to make a donation go to www.braintumourresearch.org