CARLSBAD — Carlsbad resident Ryan Woldt has been writing for years. He recalled his time at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire where he spent his days writing short stories, non-fiction and poetry.
An early lover of literature, Woldt said he indulged in classics such as “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.” But it wasn’t until recently that Woldt decided to share his writing with the world.
Woldt is the author of the recently published novella “Eli and Jane,” a page-turning story about two people finding new paths in their lives and also finding each other.
Woldt, the columnist behind The Coast News’ “Cheers! North County,” said the novella took him five months to write.
“This began as a writing project with a great travel writer, Robyn Pfeifer,” Woldt said. “We each wrote a chapter a day for 15 days. The idea was that both of our characters were on their own journey, and we would write the chapter our characters meet together.”
The end result of that writing project is “Eli and Jane.”
“My greatest hope would be that after reading it, people feel appreciative of the more awkward phases of their life that led them to where they are,” Woldt said. “However, that depends on what stage of life the reader is at. The reactions I’ve gotten from people have varied widely depending on where they are at and what they’ve experienced in their own lives.”
Woldt — and online reviewers — said readers will appreciate “Eli and Jane” because of the personalities of the characters.
“More than they are unique, they are relatable,” Woldt said. “Eli and Jane are both, independently, at a point in their lives where they’ve gotten off the track they were at. I think most people can relate to a moment in their life where things were off and weren’t sure what to do or direction to take next. This story is about that point where they are in the middle of the pause, and beginning to work their way out.”
But, the book isn’t just another story about a character who hits a crossroads. Woldt delves deep into developing his cast — so much so that he felt passionate enough to publish his work for the first time.
“By writing each character in their entirety separately, I was able to really focus on their individual experiences, and feelings to give them a unique voice,” Woldt said. “The reader may identify more with Eli or Jane, but it is likely that someone in their life reminds them of the other.”
Woldt adds that real locations are added throughout the plot to give readers a more personal connection to the plot.
“All of the locations in the book are real places which allow the reader to really experience a great swath of America,” Woldt said. “I’ve made similar travels quite a few times, and I only realized while writing how connected our emotional memories are to the places they occurred be it a beautiful national park, coffee shop or a rest stop on the side of the highway.”
Although it took years for Woldt to find the courage to share his writing, the Carlsbad Village resident who lives in the beachside city with his wife, Trina, said he won’t stop sharing anytime soon.
“I think there may be more to Eli and Jane’s story still to come,” Woldt said. “I am currently laying out a book of poetry and photography that I’ve been amassing for about 20 years, and just finished a full-length revenge novel set in a San Diego-like locale.”
Woldt, who works as a food and beverage consultant, said he’s also working on projects surrounding the hospitality industry.
For now, he hopes the public will pick up his book and find joy in his characters. He’s also thankful for those who helped him along his writing journey.
“If I didn’t have some smart people, like my wife, telling me it was time I would probably still be editing,” Woldt said. “Despite my fears, sharing this book with people has been really rewarding, and knowing that people are invested in Eli and Jane gives me great joy.”
“Eli and Jane” can be purchased on Amazon.com.
Hoa Quach has 15 years of experience in journalism, garnering multiple awards ranging from investigative reporting to feature writing. She’s been named a “Woman Who Means Business” by the San Diego Business Journal, featured in BuzzFeed during International Women’s Day and recognized by the California Legislature for her work. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.