Midland author makes Costa Short Story Award shortlist.
Kit de Waal, who now lives in Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, was picked for her 2,000-word piece, The Old Man and The Suit, and is one of six writers competing for the prize.
The mother-of-two left her job of 15 years working in criminal and family law in Handsworth to concentrate on her writing.
She said it took her just two days to write the story and then a month perfecting it.
"I'm massively chuffed. At some point you just have to put it down.
"But, even now, I'd still change some things if I could."
The 53-year-old former Waverley Grammar School pupil has previously seen her work published in anthologies - Fish Prize 2011 & 2012; The Sea in Birmingham 2013; Final Chapters 2013 - and works as an editor of non-fiction.
She is currently writing her debut novel, The Scarlet Emperor.
Her short story focuses on a master tailor and his apprentice who sit in the basement of their workshop and struggle with the mysteries of love, life and the power of the perfect suit.
It was chosen by a panel of judges - Richard Beard, Fanny Blake, Victoria Hislop and Simon Trewin - and then made available on the Costa Book Awards website for the public to download and read, and then vote for their favourite.
Mrs de Waal has had to keep her nomination secret since November.
"It's been really hard not telling anyone," she explained. "I didn't even tell my brother-in-law Edmund de Waal, who's a well known potter and author.
"Compared to him (a professor with an OBE), I'm just trying to scratch my little mark in the sand, but when he knew I was trying to write he did say to me: 'Believe in yourself and keep going'."
Moseley-born author Kit de Waal, whose story The Old Man and The Suit is shortlisted >