After being left standing at the altar, a jilted bride quit her job and swapped weddings for wanderlust.
Heartbroken Katy Colins, 30, sold her house and her car and booked a one-way ticket to south east Asia after having her big day called off.
Little did she know that backpacking around Thailand, India and Nepal on her own would lead to her achieving a childhood dream of becoming a published author.
Katy, from Formby, has secured a three-book deal with Carina UK, an imprint of world-renowned publisher Harper Collins.
The former Manchester Airport public relations worker told how she was left confused and disillusioned with life after being jilted by her long-term boyfriend and sold “anything that wouldn’t fit into a large backpack” before jetting off to Thailand on her own.
Katy told the Liverpool Echo: “Everyone did think I was a little mad especially as I’d never travelled anywhere by myself before but it just felt right.
“I needed the time away from everything and everyone I knew to find myself, but it wasn’t as cheesy as that.”
With a degree in English and journalism from Salford university, Katy said she always dreamed of one day writing a novel.
She kept a travel blog, mainly to keep family and friends updated during her trip, which grew and grew in readers.
Katy said: “People who weren’t related to me started reading my blog and sending me emails, telling me how brave I was to quit it all and go.
“I received messages from other newly-single men and women who said they read my blog as an inspiration - that just because you’ve been dumped it doesn’t mean you have to listen to bad power anthems and devour ice-cream.
“You can use this as a catalyst for something much bigger and better.”
As she travelled around south-east Asia and India, Katy said the passion to start putting her experiences into words was hard to resist.
She said: “I started writing a few chapters, not fully aware that they would be the start of a novel but mostly as a way to clear my head.
“Although I was experiencing things that I would never have imagined seeing, such as the Taj Mahal and trekking through the Himalayas, I was still working through the feelings that I wouldn’t be making wedding scrapbooks or be living the married life, well not just yet at least.
“I began to think what if you were given a second chance to find yourself?’”
Former Southport College student Katy has since backpacked around South America for six months and lived in France teaching English for the past two years.
She was living in a small fishing town in northern France when she received news about the book deal.
Katy said: “Ironically, an editor called me on what would have been our third wedding anniversary.
“It is poignant to think how far I’d come through hard work, being brave and wanting to live the biggest life I could.”
Katy’s journey inspired her to write the first novel in The Lonely Hearts Travel Club series, a light-hearted romantic comedy, which has been described as “Bridget Jones goes backpacking”.