Today I’m glad to present Julie Watson whose book “Born for Life : A Midwife’s Story” I’ve attached my review at the end of this feature.
Hello Julie, and welcome to my blog. Please tell my readers, how did you come to writing?
I had gone through a lot of challenges in my life and my daughter suggested that I write a book. I had thought about it periodically and she encouraged me to actually put my thoughts and events that had happened in my life down. It was a work that took three years in the end. I wrote and re wrote until I was happy with the book. I found writing very creative and enjoyable and found writing my story down emotionally healing.
How did you come up with your stories?
My stories come from my life experience; so have written with the emotions that I went through during those times. Some experiences were tragic and some joyful. My book includes all aspects of life, which is true for most of us.
My book is about my journey to become a midwife but it is also about my whole life so is more than just birth or midwifery stories.
Is there a message in your novels you would like your readers to grasp?
To never give up and no matter how hard life becomes there is always hope that life will get better and your dreams will be realized. I became a Christian after my baby died and faith has given me hope that all things can work together for good for those who love God.
What is your main reason for writing?
My reason for writing was to get my story told and others who had been through similar experiences may find hope through my story.
What are the best and the worst aspects of writing?
I love the creative side of writing, which evolves as you write. A big part of the creating is the writing and re writing until your book is as good as it can be. Then there is getting your work professionally edited, which is trying, as it may mean re writing a lot of the book that you were happy with. It is amazing how a professional editor picks up the typos and grammatical errors that you do not see. It is a journey and I try not to put pressure on myself and enjoy the steps along the way. The worst part for me has been the marketing side. I have had to learn everything from scratch. It has been a steep learning curve but have come a long way although I have heaps more to learn.
Please share a little of your current work in progress or ideas for your next novel?
I am currently writing a book called ‘Born for Life: Midwife in Africa.’ It tells of my time working in Zambia, Africa at Kalene Mission Hospital as a midwife. It is a sequel to my first book ‘Born for Life: A Midwife’s Story.’
How do you balance marketing one book and writing the next?
I find this very challenging as you need to keep promoting your published book and spend time on social media but also you need time to write the book you are working on. Balancing the two is not easy plus fitting in family commitments and I also work as well. I find you need to be very disciplined which is not one of my strengths. I try and keep going with the writing but I find I only write for an hour or two when I do as I like to keep writing when I am fresh. I either write early in the morning or in the evening and through the day I do marketing.
What do you do when you don’t write?
I am still working as a midwife, mainly in Australia doing contracts for an agency. When home I love spending time with my husband and family. We have three adult children plus seven grand children. I also enjoy gardening, doing tapestry and going for bush walks.
In recent years my husband and I have done a bit of travelling, which we enjoy.
How have you found the experience of self-publishing? What were your highs and lows?
You have a sense of achievement when you self publish your writing. The hard part is the marketing side and getting your book noticed, as there are so many books out there. It is easy to get discouraged and at times you feel like giving up. You sometimes think it would be lovely if someone would just take over. Writing and publishing is just the start. It takes a lot of persistence to keep going and that can come in waves. I think it’s ok to sometimes ease off a bit and have a rest. If you don’t keep going though your book will sink. The best thing I have found is meeting like-minded authors online and supporting each other. There are very supportive authors and author groups out there.
What is your advice to new indie writers?
When you have written your book and you are happy with it, you need to get your book professionally edited. You need your book to be professionally presented. Get a great book cover; connect with other self-published authors and most importantly, never give up. Another helpful thing to do is to read and review others books. By reading you will become a better writer. Not only books of your genre but also books about self publishing and marketing. Get as much knowledge as you can.
What books or authors have influenced you the most? Is there a writer that you consider a mentor? Do you have a favorite?
I like reading memoirs and that is what I mostly read. I especially like reading books where the author has turned her life around from a difficult past and triumphed. I have learnt a lot about writing by reading books in the genre I write. That has been very helpful. I wouldn’t say I have a favourite author though.
What book are you currently reading and in what format (e-book/paperback/hardcover)?
I am currently reading ‘Watery Ways’ by Valerie Poore. I mostly read ebooks as I buy them from Amazon. I haven’t bought a hard cover or paperback for a while now.
Do you work with an outline or do you just write?
I start writing and when I have got so far I put the book into chapters and work from there. I have a plan of how the book will end up but it does evolve as I write. When I start writing I have a start, middle and an end. I fill it in as I go along.
What makes you laugh?
A good time with family and friends. Humour comes when you enjoy each other’s company.
Who would you like to invite for dinner?
Prince William and Kate. (Me too, Julie).
What would your friends say are your best and your oddest quality?
I asked my husband this question. He says that I am friendly, caring, compassionate and good company. A good friend, intuitive and tenacious. I don’t give up easily.
How do you handle criticism of your work?
I haven’t had any criticism to my face although I have had bookshops that didn’t want to know. When I have doubts about my book or my ability to write, I read my reviews and that always helps. I have learnt to shake negative thinking off and try and remain positive. I think constructive criticism is good as you can learn from it, so it is helpful to listen if you receive advice, which I have at times from my daughters.
I grew up in a small, rural town in New Zealand and started work in the local maternity annexe on leaving school at the age of sixteen. I met Barry and was happily married until the unexpected death of our second baby at birth. This tragic event in my life led to depression, loneliness and despair.
Life was full of challenges and it was during this time that I became a Christian.
I began studying and became a nurse and midwife in my late thirties fulfilling a life long dream. ‘Born for life: A Midwife’s Story’ tells my story and I hope it will encourage others to follow their dreams even with life’s difficulties.
I have worked in several countries around the world, caring for women of different cultures and nationalities. Midwifery continues to be my passion and love.
I have just finished reading this book and my review will follow the author’s Amazon blurb below.
“A nurse aide position in the local maternity annexe at the age of sixteen gave Julie a love for being with women during labour and birth and caring for mothers and their babies.
Life could not have been happier until the tragic death of her own baby in the first hour of life, led to depression, loneliness and despair.
This true story tells of Julie’s struggle to triumph over adversity and follows her journey to fulfill her dream and become the midwife she was born to be.”
There are those books that a reader wants to simply allow all the nuances of said book into their soul. It is rare, indeed, to elicit this kind of response in me and this book does just that! Age 16 is young to start working as a nurse aide in a local hospital, let alone a maternity ward, and the entire birthing process. Watson fell in love with pregnant mothers, and assisting the nurses, and mothers, in bring a new life into this world. As a registered, I fully understood this. Marrying at age 17 doesn’t always work, and there were additional stresses in Watson’s life, but still, finding faith once again and persistence by both husband and wife made this marriage tough but full of love. Their first child was a boy and full of energy; then came heartache from a miscarriage and a baby girl born but didn’t live. The knot in this baby’s umbilical cord was loose, unlike my first born son’s whose knot was tight, yet this baby girl died. Watson wasn’t allowed to see this child, nor attend its funeral. I saw my son for a few seconds before burial. I know what this author felt and how it affected and changed her life and the lives around her. Deep depression and losing a child is truly the King of Loss. I want readers to know that this book is much more than what I have just written. This substance includes more children, health issues, and sheer love and happiness. In time, Watson became a midwife in her own right, and reading about the emotional and tender moments is beautiful. She writes of about a few of her cases, describing the beauty, miracles, the wonder, achievements, and God’s love. I highly recommend this wonderful book.
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