Hi, my name is Mae Leveson, and I’m an author.
This still sounds strange to my ears, as I’ve never actually introduced myself to anyone as a writer but, now that I’m a published author, I can no longer pretend that I’m writing just for myself – that I don’t care if anyone reads my work or not – or what they think of it.
I never considered myself to be a writer. I hadn’t composed anything since I was at school, though English was my favourite subject at that time. I’ve always been an avid reader of other peoples’ books and wondered what it would be like to be an author.
I had various jobs before settling on nursing. I went through nurse training and then midwifery training and all of my writing was academic. Over the years, I took courses and attended conferences for professional development, where any writing continued to be quite dry and formal.
I first dabbled in self-publishing via a blog when I had a small business a few years ago; before the recession hit and I had to close it down. The blog was created at the suggestion of my web designer as a way of promoting my business. An unexpected bonus of this was forming friendships that stood the test of time long after the business closed and finding that I actually enjoyed writing a blog.
On a trip to Nova Scotia in 2005 my writing became more personal. I kept a journal of our adventures and published it via my blog and got positive feedback from my readers, which encouraged me to continue blogging.
It was only after a period of ill-health in 2016 that I picked up a pen and started writing. We moved to Prince Edward Island the following year and I found my voice through what initially started as a journal account of our move. After I started writing, an idea formed in my head that I could turn this journal into a book. I had read books written by others who had relocated to a new place and shared their experiences, so maybe I should try writing my own. This way, I could capture the place whilst still viewing it through fresh eyes, and describe what it is like to move to what is a popular tourist destination in summer, but has a very different character once summer is over.
In many ways, the writing of my book was the easy part. I carried a notebook with me whenever we went out anywhere different and wrote down my observations at the time. At other times when I didn’t have a notebook with me, I would rush to write down anything relevant before I forgot about it, once I returned home. I also spent time researching the history of the places that we visited and made an effort to find out about events in our local community as well as the bigger picture of life in Canada’s smallest province.
It seemed logical to me to follow the seasons, so the book evolved as a journal of each month during our first year, beginning in September and continuing through the following summer.
I suppose that I would be considered old-fashioned in my approach to writing. I prefer a pen and paper and almost my entire book was written in long-hand before being typed up on my computer afterwards.
Writing also inspired me to try my hand at fiction and I wrote a short story which I submitted to a couple of competitions here in Canada – one of which is a national short story competition through the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.
Self-publishing has been quite an experience. Not realising exactly how much work is involved, I optimistically thought, when I finished writing last September, that I would publish my book by early December. It proved to be a much more time-consuming process, especially as I was learning as I went along, and doing everything from cover design to e-book formatting for the first time.
However, I am delighted to say that my book, Cradle on the Waves, was self-published in January and I have achieved my ambition of being a self-published author.
I have been inspired to continue writing and have some ideas brewing for further stories. I have met some amazing people along the way and forged some new friendships. I’m looking forward to being part of the indie author community and I would like to thank Chris for the opportunity to introduce myself on his blog