Thursday, January 8, 2015

Interview with Indie Author ~ William LeMaire

When did you first start writing? 

As the book will tell, I had a rather unconventional and varied career as an obstetrician and gynecologist, first in academia at the University of Miami and after age 55 living and working in many different cultural settings in the USA and abroad. This gave me a wide crosscultural experience resulting in a wealth of medical and non medical experiences. Hearing about these experiences, my family, friends and colleagues would invariably tell me: "Wim, you should write a book about these wonderful adventures." That, I resisted for a long time as I felt that no one would be interested in reading about it. Everyone kept telling me how wrong I was, so finally I gave in and started writing, but without any previous literary experience, even though I had published a considerable number of scientific/medical papers, published in our medical journals. Once I started writing it kept "flowing". And "voila!" here it is. 
What's the story behind your latest book? 
My one and only book (so far) is a non-fiction book, kind of an auto biography. It begins by describing my rather conventional academic career on the beaten path until something happened that shook us (my wife and I) out of our complacency. There was certainly more to life than work and career success. The untimely death of my best friend was this trigger. So at age 55 I resigned from my successful career and started off the beaten path. I started working for relatively short times ( six months to two years) in many different cultural settings, including Africa, Japan, Pakistan, Alaska, Australia, Tasmania, New Zealand, St Lucia and Chiapas, Mexico. This work was interspersed with long periods of travel in the US and abroad. 

The book describes these incredible rich experiences and the satisfaction that came from this career change and early "retirement." Although a bit scary at first, when we jumped off the beaten path, we have never looked back. 
What are you working on next? 
I have no immediate plans but am toying with the idea to write about my youth, growing up in Belgium under the nazi occupation. I would write from the perspective of a pre teenage boy. 
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing? 
I grew up in Belgium during world war two and the nazi occupation. I received all my grade and high school education from the Jesuits. My parents would have liked to see me join that religious order. However at age 17 I rebelled and went to medical school in Louvain. After medical school at age 24, I rebelled even more and married Anne. I ended up immigrating to the USA and finished my medical education there as an obstetrician and gynecologist. I had never thought about writing at all until many years later. 
What motivated you to become an indie author? 
Once I started writing I began to contemplate how to get "a book" out there. I explored many possibilities. I did my research and concluded that doing it myself was the way to go. Once that decision made, Smashwords was the obvious way to go. I wanted my book to be available for free (more about that later) and thus was not interested in investing a lot of money in getting my book published and promoted. While having a hard (or soft) copy in hand to read, certainly has advantages but having my book on line for free downloading would make it easier available to a larger audience, without having to jump through so many promotional hoops. 
How has Smashwords contributed to your success? 
While I have been very happy with Smashwords, I certainly have not reached "success" yet, if ever. I have to make more people aware of my book. This new initiative by Smashwords certainly will help doing so. 
What is the greatest joy of writing for you? 
Reliving all the wonderful experiences we have had in so many different cultural settings and thereby realizing that the decision we made at a relatively early age to leave a conventional career behind and do the unconventional, was the very right decision for us. This joy would be enhanced many fold if the book were to inspire others, medical or non medical readers, to do like wise and dare making the jump off the beaten path. It might even motivate other with similar experiences to write about it. 
Why did you decide to make your e book available for free down loading? 
I am very glad to answer that question.

At one time I was volunteering as an obstetrician and gynecologist in a small hospital in Altamirano in the Chiapas province of Mexico. The hospital was run by nuns. These nuns did an incredible job under very difficult circumstances and with minimal resources for the very poor Mayan population of that region. I was very impressed with their work and their love for the people. I decided to dedicate the book to that Hospital San Carlos and their nuns. Instead of making money from the book myself, I suggest to the reader to make a donation to that hospital if they so desire (no obligation of course).

As a foot note I would like to add, that while Smashwords made it possible for me to make the book a free e book, Amazon, which also published it, insisted on the minimum fee of 99 cents. 
 
Do you have a web site? 
Yes I do, and in it you can find out more about me and the book and also find photos of the people who have influenced my career so much. Th link is:
 
I also have a blog at:
.

Anyone wanting to contact me can do so by e mail at: wimsbook@hotmail.com
 
Originally Published 2013-09-01 @ SMASHWORDS