Local author’s history e-book hits the market running

Joe McWilliams
Lakeside Leader

“I just became a best-seller on Amazon!” says Sheila Willis of Smith.
This was less than 24 hours after her short book of short stories – Alberta History: Short Stories Volume 1 – was launched in e-book format at Amazon.com, a few days before Christmas.

Willis had spent the previous four weeks or so writing three stories on historical topics or incidents from the Lesser Slave Lake area. The publishing part of it was handled by Matthew Marcone of Liberty Multi-Media.

Willis is the developer and owner of the History Check mobile app, an aid to travel in northern Alberta (and much more). In the course of developing and promoting History Check, she ran into a newspaper reporter in Mackenzie County, who happened to have a multi-media business going on the side. That was Marcone.

Meanwhile, Willis explains, Charmaine Willier-Larsen of Sucker Creek, who owns a bed and breakfast, had asked Willis to write up a few stories based on local history. Willier-Larson wanted them to hand out to her guests. When the results ran to a bit of length, Willier-Larsen told her, “You ought to write a book about this.”

That’s where the idea came from, Willis says. It’s also why one of the stories in the new e-book is about the murder of Edward Hayward, which happened at or near Sucker Creek, in 1904. Another of the stories is about the signing of Treaty 8, which took place also near Sucker Creek, in 1899. Finally (actually coming first in the book) is a story about Mirror Landing and Smith.

The book costs $10 on Amazon, and it’s going to have some company pretty soon if Willis has her way.

“I already started writing volume two,” she says.

It will contain stories from the days of busy river traffic, from Athabasca Landing up the Lesser Slave. It will be an e-book too, but the plan is to combine the two volumes into a hard copy book, for those who like to hold a book in their hands. Willis herself is one of those.

“I’ve never read an e-book!” she admits.

Sheila Willis

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