Sometimes it's the crazy, unpredictable things in life that push you out of your cookie-cutter life to pursue your passion.

For Sue Triggs from Raumati Beach this has well and truly been the case after being diagnosed with breast cancer three years ago.

She is now a published author under the pseudonym Rose Pascoe with proceeds from her first novel 'The Widow's Secret' going to the Cancer Society for the next month.

The diagnosis made Sue rethink her priorities in life, leading to a decision to take time out from her work as a social researcher doing quantitative research to write a novel.

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Initially going back to her normal job after time off for treatment, being a single parent meant Sue needed a reliable income.

But cancer made her reflect on her life and now she is taking a year off to try her hand at writing historical fiction novels, swapping numbers for words and following her passion.

"Fortunately, a routine mammogram picked up my breast cancer early.

"You get to the point where you want to do what your passion is and I decided it was now or never."

The final spark came at her aunt's 80th birthday after a conversation about the immigration of family members to New Zealand in the 1860s and 1870s.

Always having been a book person, with many of her fondest early memories revolving around coming back from the library with a new book to read, being a writer was a distant dream.

"I've always thought in stories, always going to places and thinking it would make a good story.

"I never really thought I'd make it happen, being a writer.

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"I did some research about it and found there was very little chance of making a career out of it.

"I guess that's why I've left it to this point in my life to do it.

"You can have positive spinoffs in your life and this is one of those."

Her first novel 'The Widow's Secret' is now available to order online and her second novel 'The Invisible Child' is in the works. She has also published the free novella 'The Daughter's Promise'.

With her day to day job as a social researcher involving a lot of numbers the switch to words has been 'wonderful'.

'The Widow's Secret' is a mystery/suspense story set aboard an immigrant sailing ship inspired by the voyages of Sue's ancestors who made the voyage from Britain to New Zealand.

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Making the voyage come to life, Sue has woven details from diaries and actual accounts of the voyage with her own enthralling story of characters experiencing seasickness, storms and doldrums, births and deaths, laughter and song, boredom and hardship, extraordinary wildlife, and an endless seascape stretching to the horizon.

"I've always loved reading and wanted to try my hand at writing.

"I gave it a try and found I really enjoyed it – it really is a passion."

"The story about how British people came to New Zealand on sailing ships, spending three or four months at sea in the middle of the ocean - it just writes itself.

"Writing a novel – it's wonderful. Just to find the right words – I love playing with words and really enjoyed plotting out a story."

Donating proceeds to the Cancer Society is Sue's way of giving back and drawing attention to getting regular mammograms.

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"The reason I shared that I'd been through breast cancer is that it's always important to get out and get a mammogram - because I had a routine mammogram it was caught early.

"I am truly grateful for the support provided by the Cancer Society and for the wonderful care given by the surgical team, oncologist, radiologists and other health professionals."

'The Widow's Secret' can be purchased as an e-book from Kindle, Kobo, Apple iBooks and other e-stores or as a paperback from Amazon.

See Sue's website under the pseudonym Rose Pascoe for more details www.rosepascoe.com and visit www.cancernz.org.nz for more details about Daffodil Day on August 28.