Former Albertville resident and attorney Teresa Cannady has self-published her first novel, “The Triangle,” and has hopes of completing her second by next year.
Cannady was born and grew up in Albertville before she decided she wanted Vero Beach, Florida to be her new home.
“I lived here, I was born here and I grew up here,” Cannady said. “I was the student council president as a senior.
“I went to Snead (State) for a couple of years, and then Jacksonville State. After that I went to law school at Alabama.
“I moved back here and had a practice here until around ’97. After that, I was in Mobile for a year, and then I went abroad after that.”
Cannady said she has always had an interest in writing.
“Even as a child I would write poems, and then in high school I would write poems and short stories. If they still have the literary magazine at the high school, you can find some of my poems in there.”
Cannady is currently doing international legal work for the U.S. Agency for International Development. She has traveled to more than 60 countries, revamping each country’s court system in the process.
“What we do is work for the U.S. Agency for International Development,” she said. “It’s part of the state department.
“We help countries develop their legal systems, so we go in and train judges, we renovate courthouses, we do work with law schools, start moot court competitions, those kind of things. It just depends on the country and their specific needs and where they are.”
Cannady has spent the last two years in the West Bank working on the Palestinian courts, so finishing the book was something she often had to put to the side.
“I started the book probably 10 years ago,” she said. “I did part of it. I worked on it on and off. I guess I was busy working, you know, and wasn’t able to spend a lot of time on it.
“Most recently, I was working in the West Bank. I lived in Ramallah, not far from Jerusalem. We were working with the Palestinian courts. We worked on both family and regular courts, but mainly family. They don’t have any support from anyone.
“We did a lot of great work with them. A lot of the courts were in apartment buildings, you know, not at all appropriate for judges or the public. We designed the buildings, redesigned and renovated them.”
Although this is Cannady’s first novel, she is currently working on another novel, which will focus on some of the people she has met while working abroad. She said it should be completed by next year.
“So, this book is an international thriller,” she said. “It’s about the development of a chemical weapon, and ‘The Triangle’ is that there are three countries involved — China, the U.S. and Taiwan.
“There are interesting espionage things going on.
“There is a marine biologist on a remote island who starts noticing deformed marine life washing up on shore. He calls a woman from the EPA to come down, and together, they find out what is going on.”
Cannady said her career and experience in other countries has influenced the idea behind her next book.
“I am writing one more about the work, not necessarily the work I am doing, but because I’ve been in more than 60 countries, it’s going to be stories about the people in these countries and how they live their lives,” she said. “I want people to see that we are really all the same, we just have different ways of doing things.
“I want to show people’s lives in those countries and the situation they are in from a more colorful point of view than just a travel log.”
As for Cannady’s work, she said the travel and seeing that she is able to make a difference is what makes it worth it.
“I’m just working part time with consulting, and still doing the international work,” she said. “I’ve been in the West Bank for two years, and I always say I won’t go back long term, but then something interesting comes along.
“It’s fun work, but in some ways it can be frustrating.
“Depending on where you are in politics, the things that go on there (the West Bank) can be frustrating. I mean, the three major religions are all there and they are all acting poorly. It kind of wears on you after a time.”
As for the travel, she said being able to go to Jerusalem and Nazareth has made it all worthwhile.
“The nice part is that I’ve been to Nazareth and Jerusalem,” she said. “It’s very magical to be in all these places.
“All of us that do this work, say, ‘This is why we do this.’
“When we do have success, it’s really rewarding.”
Cannady’s book can be purchased on Amazon, Create Space and Kindle.