Like many people across the nation, former Alpena resident Leon Abbe felt the direct consequences of a bleak economy.
After 15 years spent at a job he loved, he ultimately found himself no longer employed there. Instead of stewing about the situation, he chose to use the unexpected down time to write books.
As a result of his writing efforts, Abbe recently published a Christian fictional story called "On the Trail of Life." He hopes to eventually publish two more books that he has penned.
Newly published author Leon Abbe holds up a copy of his book, “On the Trail of Life.” Abbe, the son of Ronald and Roberta Abbe of Alpena, currently resides in North Carolina.
"I worked for 15 years at Caterpillar. It was the best job I've ever had," Abbe said. "I couldn't wait to get to work in the morning and I hated leaving work at night. But when the economy soured for many of us here in America, I took the option of leaving Caterpillar. It was during this time off when I wrote my first book, and I am hoping the other two I have written will get published."
Like many writers, Abbe opted to write about what he knew. Thomas, the central character in his book, also lost his job due to the poor economy and then shortly afterward, his wife was killed in a car accident. Thomas blames God for this turn of events, withdrawls from society, and eventually learns lessons of life and love through contact with a pastor and reading his Bible.
Abbe, a 1975 graduate of Alpena High School and the son of Ronald and Roberta Abbe of Alpena, spent a lot of time traveling the country. He also built apartment complexes in Texas and Oklahoma before moving to North Carolina where he now resides.
"As I was driving through the Appalachian Mountains 20 years ago, I decided I found my new home," he said. "Shortly after that, I was introduced to the Atlantic Ocean for the first time, and I knew North Carolina was just right for me. Now I live in Four Oaks, N.C., about 20 minutes outside of Raleigh, N.C. After getting used to the humidity, the hurricanes and the deep Southern talk here in North Carolina, I really do consider this my home."
Abbe said he found the writing process to be fairly easy. He stayed up late for a couple of months working on a book and found the words came without too much effort.
"The words flowed onto pages, which turned into chapters and finally it was a book."
The first book Abbe wrote was called "the Gift." When he tried to find a publisher willing to print it, he discovered that part of the process was more difficult. He then opted to go the self-publishing route, which also proved problematic.
"When I found out how much it was going to cost me (to self-publish) I determined that I needed to do something so I could come up with the money," Abbe said. "So I wrote 'On the Trail of Life,' with the thought that I would have this book published, and then from it I would be able to get my other books published. I ended up spending four times the money having 'On the Trail of Life' published than I determined I couldn't afford to spend on 'the Gift.'"
Abbe's 'the Gift' is a self-help book that helps readers understand what the Bible is for and why people should read it. His third book, "Triple One," is another fictional Christian book about a man who escaped his life and past by getting on a train and just going wherever the train took him.
"On the Trail of Life" has been published through westbound Press, a division of Christian book publisher, Thomas Nelson. It is now available online at amazon.cm, barnesandnoble.cm and can be ordered from most bookstores. It is also available at westbowpress.cm.
The paperback list price is $11.95 and the hardcover is $28.95. The book is also available as an book for $9.99. Additionally, signed copies are available at a discounted price at www.onthetrailoflife.wristband.com.