A SEMI-RETIRED teacher from Wallyford is celebrating the publication of her first novel.

Faye Stevenson’s Take Me Instead, which is based in East Lothian and Portobello, is about a mother and daughter who get knocked down at a busy Edinburgh junction.

Faye, 65, explained: “The mother sees her daughter lying lifeless on the road and pleads with God to ‘take me instead’. The mother awakens in hospital nine months after the accident and has no recollection of what she has been up to during the past nine months.

“She finds out that her daughter Ruby ‘died’ at the scene. All is revealed when her daughter’s best friend arrives with a detailed journal that Ruby has somehow written for her mother. It tells Rachel everything she had been up to for nine months.”

Faye, who lived in Wemyss Gardens, Wallyford, until she was 22, attended Wallyford Primary and Musselburgh Grammar Schools.

She met her husband, Ronnie Dick, while working at Telephone House in Edinburgh, before going on to study at Moray House Teaching College in 1979.

After marrying, she moved from Wallyford to live in Portobello and Marchmont.

East Lothian Courier: Take Me Instead is Faye Stevenson's first book to be publishedTake Me Instead is Faye Stevenson's first book to be published

But friendships she made during her schooldays have lasted and one friend, Maureen Keighren (née Haggas), who now lives in Brentwood, proofread the book.

Faye and her husband moved into the hospitality industry 30 years ago, running their first hotel in Auchtermuchty.

After a brief spell in Pencaitland, they returned to Fife and bought and restored a pub in Freuchie, before buying the hotel there and then selling it before the Covid-19 lockdown.

Faye also taught at Ladybank Primary School for 25 years and, although semi-retired like her husband, who is head tour guide at Lindores Abbey Distillery, she still teaches occasionally.

She said: “I have always been interested in writing. At school, I entered all my classes for drama competitions, writing my own scripts. When my children were young, I always made up stories for them.

“I started writing competitively 20 years ago but have been jotting ideas down since my mid-twenties. I’ve had several things published – short stories and poetry. I have dozens of short stories and children’s books that I have done nothing with, yet.”

Faye was a member of a creative writing group at Dundee University for around 10 years.

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She explained: “At first, I felt out of my depth as many there were extremely talented but I soon fitted in. I was initially interested in writing for children but found my forte lay in poetry and writing for adults. My short stories were being chosen for different anthologies and my poems were shortlisted in some prestigious poetry competitions.”

After the arrival of her grandchildren, her writing was put on the back burner and then lockdown happened.

She said: “My son urged me to make the most of it and write those novels I had been harping on about. So I did. I wrote three, all completely different. A wee cohort of avid readers pushed me into considering publishing.”

Faye has chosen to self-publish Take Me Instead first.

Faye explained: “My next book, Sleeping Partners, is set in Fife, although the main character hails from Port Seton. It’s all about the staff and punters of a fictional inn. Secrets, lies and affairs dominate.

“Three’s A Crowd is set in ‘Morton Grange’, which is actually Musselburgh. A young woman must keep her new relationship a secret as her lover’s ex-alcoholic wife aggressively stalks all his latest love interests.”

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Faye has started her fourth book, a follow-up to Sleeping Partners.

She said: “Ideas for another two are formulating. I am constantly gathering little snippets of odd, unusual information for future books or the book I am working on. I wish I had started writing novels years ago. I always wrongly assumed I was too busy.”

She added: “I have received fantastic reviews from a wide range of readers across the UK and my sales have exceeded my expectations. People who were at primary school with me have made contact. It has been very rewarding.”

The photo for the front cover of her book was taken by her photographer nephew Mark Stevenson, from Wallyford, on Portobello beach.

The book is available from Amazon in paperback or ebook.