WHEN Magdalena Ball first went on maternity leave she was glad she'd finally have time to learn French, pick up the guitar, and write a novel.
The reality was far less glamorous.
But the Martinsville author did publish her first novel - nine years after her son Dominic was born.
"Having my first child clarified things for me and I decided that I really could do this and that I wanted to write," she said.
"I think for women, pursuing a dream is firstly getting over the mental leap.
"Women are biologically the care givers and see themselves as being there to help others to do their best and to nurture. But we are also here to create.
"I had to decide that this hobby of mine was important and worth as much as everything else.
"I had to visualise it as a responsibility to use my brain and create something, not as an indulgence."
Ms Ball grew up in bustling New York, but is raising her family in rural Martinsville.
It's not surprising that her latest novel, Black Cow, explores the idea of exchanging the rat race for a simpler life.
Recently published by BeWrite Books, Ms Ball's third novel follows a dissatisfied 40-something couple who move to Tasmania to "find themselves".
"It's a pretty common story. People hit 40 and around this age they start to think, how do I become more happy?" Ms Ball said.
"The idea of moving to Tasmania and becoming self sufficient crosses many people's minds.
"I thought at one stage we could do it, and I still get brochures from real estate agents down there. It's a nice idea to de-stress and move to the country, but as my characters find out, sometimes problems follow you.
"The answer is not running away, but harnessing your creativity wherever you go."
To pay the bills, Ms Ball works as a writer in the corporate world. But she prefers to be creating stories.
She encouraged other would-be authors to chase their dreams.
"Time is an issue. You have to not be precious. There's no point waiting for a quiet, well-lit room before you write something. You've just got to snatch the moments when you can. Scribble down something while you wait at a child's sports game, take 20 minutes and develop one of your characters when they are watching television," she said.
"When the kids go to bed I pick up my computer and write. But sometimes there becomes a point when the story takes hold and you get obsessive about it and you want to figure out what is going to happen.
"That's when I start neglecting the house and letting the vacuuming slide."
¦ Black Cow is available from Amazon and Book Depository online stores.