Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Interview Author Dudley Mecum

Author of the new novel, A Sojourn Among the Avatars of Wisdom

1.      What inspired you to write your book? My book is a gift to my younger self. I experienced a lot of setbacks when I was young, perhaps more setbacks than most people endure. A seventeen-year stretch of stuttering as a young adult preceded chronic Lyme disease, which causes constant headaches. That tag team prevented me from experiencing much success in life. When the stars didn’t align to provide me salvation from my current state of affairs, I endeavored in a new adventure, one that required a great deal of patience.  Fifteen years passed until my idea became reality. When I turned to quote books for inspiration, the wisdom revealed was compiled author or by subject, which is very dry and lacks context. So, I felt the need to find a more cohesive, yet entertaining medium in which to impart the wisdom of the ages that gives hope for those who have endured a lot of adversity in their lives, perhaps more misfortune than their fair share.

Complementing the themes of adventure and wisdom, I included the traditional literary devices such as symbolism (such as chapters one and three), irony, and foreshadowing. Finally, my book is an homage to Thomas Cole, the founder of the Hudson River School, a mid-19th century art movement. The story depicts three out of four scenes from his Voyage of Life series of paintings, which can be viewed by clicking the web link below.

In essence, my book conveys not my wisdom, but the counsel of the world’s greatest sages, allowing my younger self to avoid common mistakes and achieve a greater success in life. Similarly, I’m hopeful that most readers will find my narrative entertaining and its underlying wisdom compelling.

I turned to writing as a productive endeavor. Given my misfortune, how would I craft something that served as beacon of hope to others? It would have to be something akin to celestial navigation.

Weather permitting, celestial navigation allowed the ancients to navigate across the unforgiving seas. Many a seafarer looked to the heavens for guidance and received it. What about us land dwellers? What guideposts are there along the “river of life”? Not the familiar constellations of stars that grace the night’s sky. What then? Quote books compile wisdom by author or by subject. Each quote is like a star in an alien sky. It is only in relationship with other stars that enables celestial navigation to take place.

Accordingly, we look to the heavens for some pattern of stars that joins wisdom across subjects.  In essence, we are searching for constellations of wisdom: a pattern in the sky that will guide us through the trials of life. What would be found inside this new compendium of wisdom? It should have the counsel from the world’s greatest sages. That would be a start.

However, the end result would be exceptionally dry, like a parent lecturing a child before that youth has a chance to get a word in edgewise. Then how would the conversation unfold? It would be a dialog between the person seeking advice and the individual giving it. Since we'd all like to have our own private conversation with our favorite sage, we'd all split up accordingly.

But such dialogs wouldn’t be effective because the end result would be too discordant: there would be too many conversations going on at the same time and the resultant wisdom would not be conveyed. Perhaps a better way to impart knowledge would revolve around the adventures of a central character, which calls for the suspension of disbelief.  Moreover, a “fish out of water” story would be even better. One that involves leaving this realm and returning to it after having his hopes and dreams dashed, one that forces him out of his comfort zone. Add external conflict and self-doubt, and we have instances in which the possibility for change exists for the protagonist, and by extension, for those who seek it.

2.      What is it about? Chris Cole enjoys aiming for the stars. After he rockets into orbit aboard the space shuttle, his mission is cut short when he is the victim of an accident aboard the International Space Station. Whisked back to earth for medical observation, Chris is eventually released. Before his return flight to Kennedy Space Center the next day, Chris decides to attend a nearby medieval fair with an acquaintance—a decision that will change the course of his life forever.

Shortly after his arrival at the festival, the king unexpectedly selects Chris to be a contestant in a tournament. As Chris’s quest to become a knight begins, he learns how to wield a sword, battle foes, and achieve greatness. Unfortunately, villainy, treachery, and a crucible await him. As enemies emerge from the shadows, others use him as a pawn to settle old scores. Guided by a cast of colorful characters who dispense timeless advice, Chris is overcome with self-doubt as he ponders whether it is really possible to change his destiny. In this gripping fantasy tale, wisdom of the world’s greatest philosophers and modern sages is brought to life as one man attempts to escape from a prison of his own making.

3. What do you hope will be the everlasting thoughts for readers who finish your book? That readers can profit from the wisdom gleaned from my narrative, if they so desire. There’s no need to repeat the mistakes of the past or stand still when the world’s greatest sages have already articulated the steps for success in life.

4. What advice do you have for writers?
Write about the subjects that are dearest to you. I found something that I was passionate about.  It takes a lot of passion to complete a book over the long haul, or in my case, about fifteen years.

5. Where do you think the book publishing industry is heading?
Originally, I thought that book stores would disappear, but there appears to be a revival.  Concerning the link below, it suggests that future authors should “integrate more multimedia into e-books.”  Still, as the story noted, “amped-up e-presentations would undermine the ostensibly separate process of reading traditional—literary—books in the traditional way.”   Regardless, it’s possible that books, like movies, might migrate toward a VR experience while leaving some remnants of its traditional form.  As a result, that would make it harder for self-publishing authors to succeed.

6. What challenges did you have in writing your book?
My book became a Rubik’s Cube of sorts because certain scenes called for specific wisdom and vice versa. In addition, I had to figure out who would impart what wisdom and in what order. The end result called for a colorful cast of characters and a multitude of scenes in which advice would be solicited.  Moreover, it took me a long time to research the space shuttle, the international space station, and Mount Everest. In addition, I needed more time to research medieval-era clothes and how to wield a long sword.

7. If people can only buy one book this month, why should it be yours?
No one has ever woven the wisdom of the world’s greatest philosophers into fiction.  In addition, my narrative contains traditional literary devices such as symbolism, irony, and foreshadowing. Finally, for those who are fans of the Hudson River School, my book is an homage to Thomas Cole. Accordingly, I consider my narrative to be the “Swiss Army knife” of books.

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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2016

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