WORD ALIVE PRESS AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT:
In addition to holding down a full-time job, Ted Nellis is a licensed minister, author, speaker, and ministry leader. He is also a husband, father, and grandfather with a past as colourful as a fall landscape.
Possessing only a grade eight education, Ted stands in stark contrast with today’s multi-degreed, formally trained church and ministry leaders, yet he has an ability to engage, connect, and relate to people of all ages and backgrounds in a way that is very real and refreshing.
Ted’s passion for reading, studying, obeying, and living out God’s word in practical and tangible ways is both inspiring and contagious.
Over the years, Ted has been invited to share his testimony dozens of times in churches, on the radio, and most recently in a high school, and he always welcomes the opportunity to do so. Whether speaking to a general audience, youth, or to a men’s group, Ted can easily engage and relate to everyone, young and old, saved and unsaved, faith and non-faith based, due in part to his wide and varied life experiences. Ted has lived life on both sides of the track, so to speak, and brings a lot to the table when sharing about his life.
Ted owned and operated a successful janitorial business for twenty-five years. He is also a convicted bank robber, poolroom hustler, and street kid. Ted knows the struggle of living life with a hangover and did so for two decades. He quit drinking cold turkey when he accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Saviour and has been wonderfully sober and serving the Lord in various ministries for the past fourteen years.
AN INTERVIEW WITH TED:
When did you know, with certainty, that you were going to write this book?
About three years ago. I had put off doing so for a long time, primarily because I simply didn’t want to revisit a period of my life that I had tried for decades to forget. When someone suggested that my past could be an encouragement to others, as well as bring tremendous glory to God in His capacity to forgive and restore, well, the seed was planted and I knew I would soon begin the writing process.
This is a very revealing book. Were you uncomfortable—embarrassed, perhaps—about your past at any time while you were working on the manuscript?
My past has never been an embarrassment to me. I am who I am and I’m neither ashamed nor uncomfortable about who I was or what I’ve done. I have regrets, certainly, but I’m not embarrassed.
What will a person get out of this book? What can someone take from the book and apply to his or her own life?
We all have stuff in our past that we’re not proud of—spare baggage, regrettable moments, etc. I believe people of all ages, backgrounds, and beliefs can relate to my story, and perhaps use it to find closure in their own lives. Anyone reading Journey to Redemption will certainly be inspired or encouraged to move beyond their own limitations, past, and pain. The book also challenges individuals about their relationship with God, or their lack of one, and what that could mean to them.
You were the youngest inmate at the time when you were in Kingston Penitentiary. Can you describe that experience?
I was definitely concerned for my safety and considered the very real possibility that I may not make it out.
Your initial introduction to Serge Leclerc occurs under incredible circumstances. Did you stay in touch after you two reconnected years later at a church conference?
My friendship with Serge Leclerc becomes more incredible to me as the years pass. Our paths did cross many times. I’ve gone to hear him speak whenever possible. He even offered me a job at one point, when he was the director of Teen Challenge Saskatchewan. I had an opportunity to visit him in his home just weeks before he passed away a couple of years ago.
Have you forgiven yourself?
I have forgiven myself, on an even deeper level now, I think, than when I wrote the book. As I wrote, I could see myself for who I really was back then—a mixed-up, jaded, misguided kid. I didn’t know what I was doing, although at the time I felt very grown-up and mature. So, yeah, I have forgiven myself. I’ve learned to cut myself a little slack.
What don’t we know about Ted Nellis?
The book is very revealing, but there is much that remains unwritten. I suppose one thing that readers of the book might not realize is that I’m a private, introverted person in the natural. I step up and answer God’s call, but I tend to be quite laidback and removed otherwise.
What’s in the future for you?
The future is bright. I do have another book or two inside of me, and I have all the book signings that I can handle at the moment. I’d like to take on more speaking engagements, should they come my way. I always welcome the opportunity to share what God has done in my life and what he can do in the lives of everyone.
What can you tell us about your writing style?
My writing style is varied. The process of writing the manuscript was never exactly the same two weeks in a row. I worked on the book anywhere from a half-hour to four hours a day as time or motivation allowed. Sometimes it was at home, late at night, and at other times it was out in a public setting, in the daytime, at the coffeeshop where I would type for hours. I tried to move forward a little every day, whether it was adding new material, polishing what had been written, or simply making rough notes for future consideration.
What advice could you give to new or aspiring writers?
The best advice I could give to anyone considering writing a book is to simply begin. Sitting down and actually typing words can often be the hardest part. It’s a discipline. Once the words start appearing on paper (or on the monitor), the job becomes easier. One paragraph becomes two, two become a page, and so on. Just begin and see where it goes.
Ted has several book signings lined up, including visiting all twelve Gospel Lighthouse stores from now until mid-September.
Please visit Ted’s website (www. tednellisredemption.com) for more information.
Journey to Redemption is available through Amazon, Chapters/Indigo, www.greatcanadianauthors.com, and wherever fine Christian books are sold.