Welcome Julie Watson
Author of Born for Life: A Midwife’s story
(Links to where the book may be found are at the end of this interview.)
Please tell us a little about yourself.
I grew up in a small, rural town in New Zealand. After leaving school at the age of sixteen, I worked at the local maternity annexe as a nurse aide. I married young and life was happy until the death of my second baby at birth. This led to depression, loneliness and despair, which lasted many years. It was during this time in my life that I became a Christian. I studied to be a nurse and midwife in my late thirties – fulfilling a lifelong dream. As a midwife, I have worked in many countries and continue to work as a midwife, which I still enjoy. I have three adult children and seven grandchildren and live in Palmerston North, New Zealand with husband, Barry.
What first inspired you to write?
I had been through quite a bit in my life and it had been challenging. I had suffered a lot from depression and self-doubt.
It was my daughter who suggested I write a book as I had a lot of time on my hands while working in rural Australia. I thought about it for a while and then decided to take up the challenge.
In what genre(s) do you prefer to write?
I only write memoirs or true-life experiences I have had.
Are you working on another book?
Yes, I am! I have written another book about my time working in Africa at Kalene Mission Hospital. The book is called ‘Born for Life: Midwife in Africa.’ It will be published in the middle of this year (2018).
If your books have required research: What do you consider the best resources?
I write from my memory and journals I have. Also the Internet if I need to. Google is great.
Do you consider your books convey messages to readers?
My first book, Born for Life: A Midwife’s story gives a message of hope, faith and love. Persevering against the odds and realizing your dreams if you don’t give up.
Born for Life: Midwife in Africa, tells stories of African women and the challenges they face when bearing children. It gives a glimpse into their life and their plight.
What advice would you give to authors who are just starting out?
I think to be aware it takes a lot of commitment, time and energy. You can do it if you put your heart and soul into it. First there is the writing, then the publishing and then the marketing. All areas need your total commitment and it is ongoing. If you have a passion for writing and don’t give up, it will all be worth the effort. Also there is a lovely, supportive community of authors online that will help you on your journey.
Biographies, autobiographies, memoirs: What advice would you give, about using real names and descriptions, to authors who write in these genre? I ask because many raise concerns about the issue.
I think to be truthful and write from your heart. I used real names except for the women I cared for. I didn’t defame anyone but I was a bit nervous about using real names. In the end I decided I was going to, no matter what the consequences.
Do you self-edit or do you think a book should only be professionally edited?
I write the first draft. As they say, just write. I have a bit of an idea of chapters and how the story is going to unfold.
I then edit multiple times until I feel I cannot improve the manuscript any further.
I then endeavor to get beta readers to read and comment on the book. I did have a manuscript assessor the first time and that worked well.
I then get a professional editor to edit the book. This is a step you cannot skip, as it is so important to have this done. (I am fortunate to have my daughter as an editor, which has been extremely valuable.)
How do you go about marketing your books?
I try and interact with others online and build up a presence on social media. About once or twice a year I do a promotion and pay one or two promotion sites to promote my book at a reduced price.
How important do you think reviews are?
I think they are very important, especially the first ten. When you get that many I think you can relax and they come slowly but surely.
If you consider reviews important, how do you go about obtaining them for your books?
With my first book, I literally asked people who bought my book. I then acted on suggestions from books I read or blog posts. It can be quite frustrating when people don’t review your book but it is common. Only a small percentage of readers review a book. You can do a Goodreads giveaway or a promotion. I have read a lot of books about all areas of writing but in the end you do what you feel comfortable with.
Do you have a preferred genre for when you read?
I enjoy reading true-life stories and read mainly in the genre I write. So I read memoirs and biographies mostly.
This is an age old question but one I consider of interest. If you were stranded on a desert island, which three books would you like to have with you?
Gone with the Wind as I loved the movie.
Naked and Marooned by Ed Stafford for suggestions on survival.
Please share with us links to where readers may obtain more information and insight into who you are.
Thank you Julie for sharing your story with us.