Author Interview – Shelia Bolt Rudesill

After exchanging many tweets on Twitter, I became acquainted with Shelia and her artisan husband Bud. Shelia is a great example of a woman shifting into writing as a new career instead of retiring and lends to her novels a great deal of real life experience. I’m pleased to feature literary fiction author Shelia Bolt Rudesill here on No Wasted Ink.

Shelia Rudesill - AuthorMy name is Shelia Bolt Rudesill. For forty-five years as a pediatric and NICU nurse I dedicated my professional life to the well being of children and acquired a tremendous empathy for those burdened with unreasonable hardships. It’s from those experiences that I piece together my stories. As a nurse I was able to touch a life every day. I’d like to think that I can still do that through my writing.

Both my artist husband, Bud Rudesill, and I became accidental writers well into our fifties. It’s amazing how much we enjoy the craft and more amazing to realize how many writer friends we have.

When and why did you begin writing?

Writing came as a surprise. After many years of nursing, I burned out and Bud and I moved from North Carolina to Wyoming for a fresh start. The Oregon Trail interested me and I got to wondering about the kids who’d trekked across the entire country until the soles of their shoes wore away. My imagination went wild and I created three frontier dolls, each with a story of their own—the first as a journal, the second as a collection of letters, and the last as a novella. With the local success of that project I came up with a second idea to weave stories of my nursing career into a full-fledged novel. When I told Bud about my idea he told me that I’d never pull it off. Months later on a seven hour road trip, I drove while Bud read my manuscript, Child of My Heart. He cried all the way. The emotional aspect of the story had caught him off guard. That night the wife of the friends we were visiting stayed up all night reading. “It was so good,” she’d said, “I couldn’t put it down.” Believe me those are the words a writer wants to hear!

Once Child was published Bud told me that my Oregon Trail children needed to grow up and that my three children’s books needed to be an historical fiction saga. So, my second novel was born: Auspicious Dreams.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

While writing my first novel, “Child of My Heart,” I attended a writer’s conference. Part of the fee included a manuscript consultation and entry into a writing contest. My heart sank when I looked at the hundreds of red ink marks on my manuscript. I quickly put it away feeling like a failure. To my great surprise I was awarded the last of the five honorable mentions. On the plane home I pulled out my manuscript. The first thing I read was the last red mark on the last page, “My biggest disdain is having to put down this manuscript. The story is powerful. Nothing short of superb.” It was at that moment I considered myself a writer.

Can you share a little about your current book with us?

Transmutare is a story of three carefree young women who get caught up in some pretty terrible experiences. The protagonist is a former Orthodox Jew, the second is a Jewish agnostic, and the third is Roman Catholic. Together they attempt to define a god who has allowed their world to spin out of control. What I like about this story is that a lot of people will identify with their struggles.

What inspired you to write this book?

I’m always inspired by people who overcome unbearable hardships.

Do you have a specific writing style?

Literary fiction

How did you come up with the title of this book?

My protagonist, Shelli, changes from an almost perfect girl to one who no one knows. She “transforms” or undergoes a “transformation” or “mutation.” Transmutare is French for transformation. I liked the sound of it.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

Definitely. Transmutare is ultimately a quest for the meaning of life, as well as a gritty struggle for physical and spiritual survival. How the characters deal with their conflicts allows each reader to interpret the spiritual directions the girls take within their own set of beliefs. In other words, the story doesn’t teach or preach.

Are experiences in this book based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

I once had an acquaintance who went away for a weekend. When she returned she was a completely different person. I never found out what happened to her so I made up something I thought could have happened.

What authors have most influenced your life?

C.S. Lewis, Maya Angelou, Sue Monk Kidd, Ann Patchett, Toni Morrison, Cynthia Rylant, David Guterson, Arundhati Roy, David Wroblewski. When I read any of these authors I’m completely pulled into the worlds they create and most times transformed by them.

If you had to choose, is there a writer would you consider a mentor?

Maya Angelou because she’s so real and timeless. Her stories and poems come straight from the heart and she tells them with honesty. I think she could teach me to become more lyrical as well as a better person.

Who designed the cover of your book? Why did you select this illustrator?

I did. The cover photo is my great-niece and was taken several years ago with her cell phone. I was attracted to the defiant expression. This is my protagonist in the depth of her transformation. The grainy resolution of the photo and the fading gray background added to the despair in the middle parts of the story.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Just write what’s in your heart. Don’t try to please anyone but yourself. Your writing is your legacy. Be true to yourself. Some of the first advice I received as an author was: Write what you know. That advice hasn’t failed me yet.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

Just thanks for the applause and the criticism. I need to hear both. I appreciate every single person who has purchased one of my novels and it warms my heart when they write a review on Amazon or their own webpage.

Transmutare Book CoverShelia Bolt Rudesill
Pittsboro, North Carolina

“I’m not retired. I’m a writer.” After a long day of writing and editing or assisting Bud with photo shoots, I admit to a weakness for dry martinis and dancing with my cats The Artful Dodger and Q.

Novels:
Transmutare
Baggage
Auspicious Dreams
Child of My Heart

WebsiteBook Trailer

Transmutare, available in paperback at Amazon.com by Create Space and as an eBook at Amazon.com by Kindle

No Wasted Ink Writer’s Links

It is Monday and once again it is time for another batch of No Wasted Ink Writer’s Links. This week I have articles ranging from pulp fictions turned into novels, routines to help your writing, and strengthening the spiritual thread of your work. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did!

Hack The Cover

13 Ways to Make Idea Generation a Daily Habit

Stephen King’s 20 Tips for Becoming a Frighteningly Good Writer

Easy Five Step Plan for Editing Your Blog Posts

Writing a screenplay in Scrivener

Fixer-Upper (Needs a little work!)

How Routines Save and Ruin Your Writing

Strengthening the Spiritual Thread of Your Novel

What’s a Reported Essay?

Follow On To “How It Works”

NEC MobilePro 900 as a Writer’s Tool

Wandererchronicles Nanowrimo Writing KitBeing a member of the Alphasmart community, I have developed an appreciation for older electronics. I’m very happy with my Alphasmart Neo for writing rough drafts and it is my go to machine for NaNoWriMo in November. However, after the writing frenzy of NaNoWriMo is over, I generally have revisions to do. The small screen of the Neo is simply not suited for this. One day I was surfing the machines that other writers were using for NaNoWriMo on Flickr and I came across a photo of a tiny Nec Mobilepro 900 as part of a writer’s collection along with a Acer Aspire 5100 and a moleskine notebook. It was the smallest “netbook” I’d ever seen. I thought it was simply adorable.

What is the NEC MobilePro 900? I was determined to find out more about this tiny mini-computer. It is such an antique machine that most people have never seen one before. When NEC first developed this machine for the business market back in the early 90’s, it was considered the top-of-the-line pocket PC, a fore-runner to today’s laptop. Jet setting executives would sport this handheld device that cost over $1000 new and would be able to stay in touch with their offices via cable modem or wifi, computing for the first time on airplanes or in their hotel rooms. They touted its speed, the state of the art connectivity via its gold Orinoco card and the Microsoft pocket office suite that came pre-loaded. The machine would turn on instantly with seconds to bootup and the keyboard, while small and portable, was still large enough to be comfortable to write on. Not only did the MobilePro 900 come with two CF ports, but it had a USB slot, one of the first portable machines to do so.

Needless to say, I was intrigued by the device. I had considered purchasing a netbook to do my revisions at the coffeehouse, but after trying them out in the retail store I concluded that they were simply too slow to use, even for simple writing. Cost was also a factor. At the time I could purchase a used NEC MobilePro 900 with a case for around $60. Today, you can find them for even less. It made the NEC cost effective and portable enough that I was willing to give it a try.

The features of the NEC MobilePro 900:

    Instant on/off
    Keyboard is 92% of normal size
    Half sized VGA screen
    Pre-loaded with Microsoft Pocket Office
    Touch screen use with stylus
    Significantly lighter in weight than a notebook
    The unit measures 9.69″ x 5.05″ x 1.19″ and weighs 1.8 lbs. Very portable.
    Has USB connection, CF slot and PCMCIA slot – perfect for networking cards
    The NEC has 64 megs of RAM available to the user.
    A 32 meg flash ROM area where you can install programs, data and backup files.
    Battery life is around 5 to 7 hours

I’ve been using my NEC MobilePro 900 for over a year and love its portability and speed of bootup. However, it was not an instant turn it on and be able to write situation. I needed to research the antique software and old accessories that were needed to make it into a productive, non-distraction, writing machine. Once all of these adjustments were done, it has become an excellent inexpensive writing device. If you are a student or a writer without much funding to buy a full-fledged computer, I recommend that you look into purchasing a NEC MobilePro 900 on eBay. It could be the writing solution that you seek.

Book Review: 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea

Book Name: 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea
Author: Jules Verne
First Published: 1870

Jules Verne was born the son of an French attorney in Nantes, France. As a boy, Verne developed a great love for travel and exploration, which was reflected in his science fiction writings. His interest in storytelling often cost him progress in other school subjects. It is rumored that the child Verne was so enthralled with adventure that he stowed away on a vessel going to the West Indies, but his voyage of discovery was cut short when he found his father waiting for him at the next port of call.

As Verne grew to adulthood, he began to write libretti for operettas even as he was studying in law school. When his father discovered that he was not attending to his law studies, his educational funds were cut off. Jules Verne turned to being a stockbroker to make his living, a profession that he hated. Around this time, he met and married Honorine de Viane Morel, a widow with two daughters. Honorine encouraged her husband to do what he loved, to write.

Verne’s writing career improved when he met Pierre-Jules Hetzel, an important French publisher, after being rejected by many other publishers. Verne and Hetzel formed a successful writer-publisher team until Hetzel’s death. Verne was prone to be overly scientific and melancholy in his writing, Hetzel forced the author to be more upbeat and to add in more adventure and less science. The combination proved to be gold. Verne began publishing his novels two years after the birth of his son and generally published two books a year after that point. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea was one of his more famous works and one of the earlier novels that he published.

The novel begins in 1866 when a mysterious sea monster is sighted by ships of several countries. In New York City, an expedition to track down and kill the menace is formed by the US government. Professor Pierre Aronnax, a renoun french marine biologist, is invited to join the expedition at the last minute. Aronnax, his assistant Conseil and harpoon master Ned Land set sail from Brooklyn aboard the naval ship Abraham Lincoln and travel around Cape Horn and entering the Pacific Ocean.

The monster is discovered and the ship enters into battle. During the fight, the three men are thrown overboard and find themselves stranded on the “hide” of the monster. Much to their surprise, they find that the animal is a metal ship. The men are captured and brought on board the strange vessel where they meet its creator and commander, Captain Nemo. The vessel is an electrically powered submarine known as the Nautilus which roams the oceans to carry out marine biology research and to serve as an instrument of revenge for her captain. Nemo and Aronnax form a friendship as Aronnax is enthralled by the undersea views, despite the fact that Nemo has forbidden the three passengers to leave the vessel. Only Ned Land continues to plan their escape.

The title of 20,000 leagues under the sea does not refer to the depth that the electrical submarine dives, but rather the distance that the vessel travels in the ocean during the story. The passengers of the Nautilus see the coral reefs of the Red Sea, the shipwrecks of the battle of Vigo Bay, the Antarctic ice shelves and the fictional sunken nation of Atlantis. The crew does battle with sharks and other marine life and the ship itself is attacked by a giant octopus.

In the end, Nemo’s vessel is attacked by a ship from Nemo’s home nation. The battle pushes Nemo into an emotional depression and in his grief, he allows the Nautilus to enter a whirlpool off the coast of Norway. During this distraction, Aronnax, Conseil and Land manage to escape the submarine and return to land. However, the fate of Captain Nemo and the Nautilus remains a mystery.

I can’t remember a time when I did not know of and love the stories of Jules Verne. So many of his stories have been adapted into movies, his characters have been adopted into other novels, and there was once a ride in Disneyland based on the book. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea was the first of his novels that I read, prompted by seeing the Disney movie by the same name starring Kirk Douglas (who sings!) produced in 1954. This movie is likely the most famous of numerous films based upon this book. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea is considered one of his “Voyages Extraordinaires” novels which also include Around the World in 80 Days, Journey to the Center of the Earth, Mysterious Island, and From the Earth to the Moon. Many of the inventions that Verne wrote about are now real technology that we see everyday. Verne paid attention to the state of the art scientific information of his time and embellished upon it with his vivid imagination to create his fantastic worlds of the future. If you have not read Jules Verne, I urge you to look into his novels. You’ll see long ago dreams that now have become the shape of life as we know it.

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea is considered in the public domain and is available for free download at Project Gutenberg or at your local public library.

No Wasted Ink Writer’s Links

Article on world building, fountain pens and general writing tips await your perusal. Enjoy, here on No Wasted Ink!



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Coping with Quotations

What I Learned About Writing from My Lunch With a Dead Woman

Why I Learned To Love KDP Select and Ignore Falling Sales

Writers Worth Two: Freelance Writer’s Dictionary

Who Are the Big Six? What Does “Indie” Really Mean? Answers to Not-So-Dumb Questions You Were Afraid to Ask

A Simple Plan for Writing One Powerful Piece of Online Content per Week

Author Interviews * Book Reviews * Essays * Writer's Links * Scifaiku

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