SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – Today, she is known by some as a woman that Savannah is very proud of. Wife to John, a river pilot, mother to seven children, grandmother and now a publisher and author of two books, Leigh Ebberwein’s forward-thinking drive is a force to be reckoned with.

“I never was a writer. I never did well in English, but I’m an avid reader. I can’t read fast enough.” she said.

Publisher and author Leigh Ebberwein and her family.

One day, while sitting in church with John, she was listening to an Irish priest who was speaking about life in Ireland. That was the day her life changed.

“Listening to his stories always enthralled me. A little Irish town, the farmers, and the people in the village, I always loved when he talked about Ireland. He talked about it that day. I was sitting there thinking about an American such as me going and experiencing it. So many of us here have Irish heritage and have never experienced Ireland. So it just morphed.”

She began writing “The Blessing of the Celtic Curse”, the story of six friends who grew up in Savannah together, and details their stories.

However, while still in its draft stage, Ebberwein to another step, she traveled to Ireland to see the country that she heard so much about and wrote about.

“I wrote the book based on how I kind of thought Ireland would be. Then I had the pleasure of being able to travel to Ireland with two of my college roommates and experienced it. We just jumped right into Ireland and the little towns and the pubs and it was amazing.”

Upon her return from Ireland and a recommendation from John, she wrote for two weeks straight as she made changes to the book, from an even more accurate viewpoint.

Publisher and author Leigh Ebberwein holds her 2nd book.

Not only did the book become publishable by Ebberwein herself, but she also started her own publishing company called Old Fort Press, named after the Old Fort District in Savannah to keep it a locally based company.

“There’s so many writers who write and they wind up putting that book in a drawer because it’s so much to learn to take it to the next step. That’s when I decided, okay, if I open a publishing company I can help other people. I really would love to help southern writers and people in our area get their works into books.”

Her second book called “The Savannah Gondolier” was released on June 15th and both books are part of what will be a 6 book series called The Saints of Savannah.

Both books can be purchased locally at E. Shavers Bookstore located at 326 Bull Street or Saints & Shamrocks located at 309 Bull Street. They can also be purchased online and it’s available in the Kindle version.

Called an “inspiration to women” by local restaurant owner and cookbook author Paula Deen during a recent interview, Ebberwein has a word of encouragement for those who may have a dream but not the courage or lack support.

“So many people think that things are too overwhelming that they can’t succeed and they just don’t even try, they think, okay, I’m comfortable, I’m complacent, I’m going to stay here. but those people with those strong spirits who just keep trying to better themselves and do more and meet more people.”

She continued, “I think the Savannah community is so beautiful. They are very loving and they want to see other people succeed and soar. There are so many people that would mentor.”