Author Spotlight: Nicholas J. Wedlow
Taylor Harrington 8/6/2021 3:22 pm EST
Nicholas J. Wedlow is a man with a mission. At the age of seventeen, Nicholas found out he was becoming a new father, seemingly overnight. The news changed his life in immeasurable ways as he fought for custody of his son, while also fighting the complexities of racism in America. In his book, Overnight Father, we follow Nick’s journey from day one to the present, as he details his countless court battles while providing resources for others who may be going through the same things as he did. Overnight Father is the story of perseverance and the unending love of a father for his son.
We are here with Nicholas J. Wedlow, and he is an author with an amazing story, but above that, he is a father first. Thank you so much for being here today, Nick.
Thank you for having me. I really appreciate the opportunity. It’s crazy how we connected, but this is the type of stuff that I envisioned when I was writing my book, meeting people like you who actually value what I’m bringing to the table and can hold a conversation about it. So I really appreciate it.
I’m excited to get into this. So, Overnight Father, when did you first start writing this book? It’s a journey, and it’s your truth with actual court documents and everything that went along with this custody battle that seemed like it was not ever going to go in your favor.
Honestly, I started writing this book about a year ago. So it was last May, I was like, Hey, you know what, I need to share this information with people. When I was going through my custody battle, I didn’t know the resources that were available to me. I think this could be a good starting point for other fathers who may be in a similar circumstance.
That’s incredible, because it really is such a great resource. Not only is it telling your amazing story, but within the book, there are also so many tips, pointers, and actual agencies listed that are available for others to reach out to. People are there to advocate for others just like yourself who are looking for a change in a system that’s so broken.
Yeah, absolutely, and that was what I envisioned. I wanted it to not only be a book but essentially a blueprint for how to align yourself to be successful in a custody battle, especially when you’re being denied visitation and stuff like that. I wanted to share the different hurdles I was able to overcome, in hopes that maybe I can help somebody one day. That’s the whole goal behind the book, just to help somebody else.
When you were first going through this, in the very beginning, and I don’t want to give too much away because I think everybody, regardless of if you have kids, I think everybody should read this. I don’t want to give too much of your journey away, but that being said, even within the first few chapters you’re learning that not only were you a teen dealing with this pregnancy that you didn’t really know anything about but then you’re also faced with what is the heavy, unfortunate, truth of racism in America. You dealt with that in the form of a question that was asked to you as a 17-year-old boy. “Should I be worried that my daughter has AIDS?”
Yeah, that was a very interesting time for me. As a 17-year-old young man, I just literally found out overnight that I was a father, and my first interaction with her parents was, you know, that question. Coming up in South Georgia, I had already been exposed to that, because that’s just how it is. Georgia is historically a confederate state, so we kind of dealt with that, and some people are more open with it than others. Being confronted like that, though, made me take a step back, like, “Wow, is this really how we’re being perceived?” It really didn’t dawn on me until years later, thinking about what I went through. That was a very adverse time to have to deal with something like that, in addition to already struggling with custody. So, yeah, I definitely wanted to share that because people are exposed to things like that, specifically where I’m from.
Your oldest son, he’s 16, so he’s almost at the same age that you were when this story began. As a parent, looking back and knowing what you went through, what kind of advice would you give to your son as he navigates life now?
Honestly, I have a very open and candid relationship with him. I share pretty much everything with him unless it’s something that I shouldn’t be sharing with a child. I try to give them as much knowledge and information as I can. I think our relationship is great. He can’t wait until he’s an adult, as far as dating and stuff like that. I allow him to have relationships and stuff, but I don’t give him as much freedom as I had when I was his age, because I obviously know what comes of that. I’m very cognizant of the activities he’s involved in and the people he hangs out with. The things he’s exposed to as far as the internet and cell phones and everything like that, I’m very cognizant. We had a conversation not too long ago about how he thinks that compared to other parents, that I’m a little more strict. We had a very long, drawn-out, conversation about the why behind it, and what’s driving it. It’s essentially, because I love him, and I care about him, and I want him to be successful. Everybody makes mistakes, but some mistakes you cannot recover from and those mistakes are the ones I don’t want him to make so early on in his life as I did. I try to give him as much knowledge and guidance as I can.
Has your son read Overnight Father?
I’m trying to keep it out of his hands for a while because it goes into depth about everything that happened. Right now he’s still pretty young and I don’t want to change his perception of his other family members that are discussed in the book and things like that. I really feel like I didn’t say anything bad about anybody, I just shared the facts, and it’s up to the reader to determine the facts and the type of people I dealt with.
Have you faced any backlash from other sides of the family or people involved in the story?
Oh, yes, I have. Unfortunately, I have, but that goes with the territory. I’m sharing my truth, and my truth doesn’t necessarily paint everybody in a good light. That’s just the territory of writing a book and being an author. I wasn’t aware of this before I wrote the book, but I tried to cushion the blow for someone people, family members, by reaching out to them, like, ‘Hey, this is what I’m doing. This is what I’m writing about. This is how it involves you. How do you feel about it?’ I got a lot of support, but after the book came out, some people weren’t so accepting of it, which is okay, because, as I said, I’m sharing my truth. I went to great lengths to spare the reputations of some of the actual characters I spoke about in the book. I just hope that over time they can see that the book is actually the PG-13 version of the true story, right? It is still really impactful and controversial, even though it was also watered down, which is crazy.
It’s intense from the first chapter to the very end, but it’s the way you put it together that is very thoughtful. You have a timeline that matches up with each chapter, whether it’s a text or a letter that your son wrote and showed his teacher, and then his teacher shared it with you to bridge that gap that was missing, it really changed the future. Do you keep in touch with any of his teachers that helped you communicate with your son when his mother wasn’t allowing it?
Yes, absolutely. We have a great relationship. We still talk to each other, to this day, and a lot of the characters that are actually in the book, are showing a lot of support in the purchase of the book, and are actually are helping me promote it, organically, as the story was just so powerful. I’m very appreciative for not only how they helped me throughout my journey, but the continued support that I’m getting now. It’s just crazy to me. So I’m very thankful, and we do have a good relationship still to this day.
That’s beautiful. That’s so great because that’s also setting the precedent. Another example for not only your son, but now your other children, that they can build these great relationships with teachers, and that not every adult is scary. Where can people find your book?
My book is on Amazon and it’s also available on my website, www.NicholasJWedlow.com. If you want an autographed copy, you can go to my website, and I will autograph it and package it up and ship it off to you.
That’s amazing. So I do have to ask, does the J in your name really stand for “Juice”?
No, actually, my middle name is Jerrod. So that’s what the J stands for, but if you get a chance to read the “More About The Author” section in the book, it explains how “Juice” got here. It’s applicable to the story, so I felt like people deserve to know why I’m called Juice.
The amount of things that happened throughout this journey are insane, so everybody really needs to check out Overnight Father. Thank you so much for joining me today, I really appreciated talking to you. Let’s catch up again down the road because this is an ongoing story.
The story is definitely not over yet. There may be a sequel coming out soon.
Absolutely. How can our readers find you on Instagram? I know that you share a lot of your different content that way as well.
Yes, so on Instagram and Facebook, I am @NicholasJWedlow.
Originally from Edison, New Jersey, Taylor won the 2005 “Middlesex County Caring Award”, and hasn’t stopped caring since. When she is not writing or hosting More to the Story, Taylor can be found chasing her two mutts around Athens, Ohio where she currently resides with her husband. Moving to Appalachia has made a huge impact on her life, and she can’t wait to share some of her stories, laughs, and (mis)adventures with you!
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