When former librarian Leeann Morgan turned 40 she realised life, especially her last decade, had flown by in the blink of an eye.
Thinking about how precious life was, and not having any regrets, she asked herself what was one thing she wanted to do before she turned 50?
She decided to pen a book despite a lack of writing background — feasibility studies and management reports didn't really count.
"I wanted to write a book that mum and one other person enjoyed."
She liked the romance genre so she "just wrote" and acquired various skills along the way.
Leeann enjoyed the experience, continued to write more books, and at the end of her first year had made about $54,000 from her contemporary romance focused independent Ebooks.
"I thought 'wow how did that happen' and it was just that international marketplace.
"The next year I earned $200,000 odd.
"At that stage I thought I could do something with this and this could be a career."
With the support of her firefighting husband Tim Morgan, Leeann resigned two and a half years ago from Kāpiti Coast District Council, where she was libraries and arts manager, to become a fulltime independent writer.
Her first book was published exactly five years ago and she how has 30 books under her belt with more than $1 million in sales.
She became a USA Today bestselling author in 2016.
"I'm pleased to say that when I debuted on that list I was one ahead of Stephen King."
As an indie writer she earns between 60 and 80 per cent of the cover price of her Ebooks.
"My books sell for US$4.99 so I get about US$3.50 per book, which is about NZ$5.50 depending on the exchange rate."
She publishes a book about every three months, focusing on series instead of one-off stories, and sells about 120 Ebooks a day on average.
A friend edits each book and a colleague in the United States fine-tunes aspects for her American audience, where most of her sales are from.
It's a busy life for Leeann, who uses the name Leeanna Morgan as the book's author because her own name had already been registered by someone else.
She tries to write about 2000 words a day about various characters in a small part of Montana as well as keeping on top of branding, marketing, design and lots more.
She has been writing more because her latest book Before Today is featured in Apple Books Most Anticipated Spring Romance Collection.
"Only 27 romance authors in the world were selected for this feature.
"That promotion is worth its weight in gold especially in the American market."
Interestingly Leeann soon discovered romance novels didn't have to have sex scenes in them.
"I thought romances had to have sex but as I've gone through they don't.
"In fact the last half of my books are intimate but don't have any sex scenes which has created a whole niche of readers.
"People appreciate, men and women, reading a book that's got a good story, that's heart-warming, that has a sense of community, that has a happy ever after ending, and that they can imagine themselves being that person.
"So many ladies say to me 'I wish I had a man in my life like him'."