A FORMER teacher who lost her job for writing steamy vampire fiction has won an award for her first book.
Samantha Goldstone walked away from her job teaching English and drama at St Christ-opher’s C of E High School in Accrington after bosses launched an investigation into her erotic gothic literature and websites, which warned of "adult content with vampire eroticism, violence and bloodlust".
But now the mother-of-one says she has proved her critics wrong by winning a top American literacy award.
Reviewers from Foreword Magazine’s Book of the Year awards presented her with a silver award in their horror category after choosing her novel from 1,500 entrants.
Samantha said: "I am thrilled to have won this award. The acknowledgement alo- ne is fantastic. I was entered into this award by my publisher and when I found out I had been shortlisted to one of four in the horror/romance category I was gobsmacked."
Her novel, entitled Gabriele Caccini, is about a 17th century vampire who lusts after a Manch-ester University student when drugged with Ecstasy, and is written under her pen name Paigan Stone.
Formerly nicknamed Miss Vampira by her students, Saman-tha said: "I wrote this novel years ago for my Masters Degree dissertation. Its success has been the fulfilment of a lifelong dream."
The furore surrounding her position arose in February 2007 when two parents complained about her website and Myspace page.
The websites contained photographs of Samantha and videos of her reading out "sexy’’gothic poetry.
When she left the school by mutual agreement after being asked to stay at home during the investigation, she was inundated with messages of support from her pupils, who thought her "an excellent teacher".
Samantha, who now lives in Wales, said: "I don't hold any grudges towards the school. After all it acted in the only way it could.
"I am just glad that my writing has been so well received and I have been able to move on.
"I will keep my hand in at teaching but I don’t think I will ever go back full-time after what happened."
Samantha has now been given a three-book deal with Murky Depths and is re-launching her first novel under her own name.
She is currently working on her second book, provisionally entitled Futile Flame, as well as working part-time as a supply teacher.