A WOMAN from Newport has decided to call time on her career as a banker in order to pursue her dream of becoming a published author.

Sarah Hayden-Woods, 36, of Rogerstone, had previously worked for a banking firm based in Cardiff and Newport for 14 years.

“I drifted into banking while in university studying business,” she explained.

However, after a number of years in the financial sector, Mrs Hayden-Woods started to wonder if she would enjoy a career in something a bit more creative.

She said: “I have four children and my job provided me much-needed stability, but as I approached my 35th birthday, I began to feel that I had to give writing a go.

“I’d always loved creative writing as a child and it was always something at the back of my mind that I thought I would go back to.”

Mrs Hayden-Woods decided to set herself a deadline of on year to write what she wanted to, setting up a cleaning company in the meantime to help with the financial side of things.

When it came to publish her work, there were a multitude of options.

“We’re in an age where something like one in three eBooks sold on Amazon is self-published,” she explained.

“I wanted to maintain control of my platform, which is why we set up Hayden Woods Creative, our own publishing label.”

Mrs Hayden-Woods, who operates under the pseudonyms Lily Hayden and S.J. Woods, cites her influences as “classics like Wuthering Heights and Rebecca to Lee Child and James Patterson to the cheesiest chick-lit”.

She has published four of her own books to date. They range in genre from The Village Online (a modern murder mystery based on a village social media group) to Project Terra (young adult dystopian) and Butterflies (an LBGT love story).

Mrs Hayden-Woods’ ultimate aim is to reach as many people as she can but for now, she says that receiving reviews from as far afield as the US is reward enough for her hard work.

“I would love my books to reach as many readers as possible and we’ll be working hard to get into the larger book selling chains over the next 12 months,” she said.

“I would love to see one of my books adapted into a film one day.”