My interview with Grace Hudson – a friend of mine and an Indie Author whose views I respect!
Hi Grace it’s great to have you here. Can I ask you first what made you decide to be a writer and what age you were when you took that decision?
I think I decided to become a writer because I scared my English Lit teacher with one of my short horror stories and gave him nightmares. I didn’t really consider it as a career but I just ended up doing it anyway. I wrote my first “book” at 12.
For those of our readers who haven’t been introduced to your work, can you tell us a little bit about it?
My stories tend to have an underlying horror or supernatural theme, no matter what the genre. My books don’t fit neatly into genres, there’s always some kind of crossover to keep it interesting.
What market are you aiming for with your books – age range and so on?
My books are definitely for adults but I could probably see teenagers reading them, provided the books didn’t scar them for life, I’d be okay with that.
I see that like me, you’re a horror writer. What drew you to this genre? Do you see yourself ever writing in any other genre?
I do write horror but the books released so far are dystopian and urban fantasy. Horror is always lurking under the surface though. I love being scared and I love scaring readers. It’s fun (for me anyway).
Interesting. How do you set about making up your stories? What’s the first thing you do?
I start with a blank page and no outline. Generally, some characters will pop into my head, introduce themselves and start playing out the story. I just try to type fast enough to keep up. After a while I’ll make a few notes so I don’t need to remember everything in my head.
Where do you take your inspiration from?
Sometimes it can be something that I hear, a sentence, a snippet of conversation, sometimes it’s a song or a lyric or piece of art. It varies.
To what extent do your plan your stories? Do you painstakingly write everything out as a plot or a plan before you begin, or do you make it all up as you go along, or something in between?
No planning. I’m a pantser to the core. If I did choose to write an outline, the characters would throw me a curve ball and do their own thing regardless.
What’s the most important thing to you in the books you write? What I mean is, do you see them as plot-driven, or character driven or driven by something else? Can you explain that to us?
I don’t know exactly. I suppose character-driven because I love watching characters evolve and interact. That said, the plot has to be twisting and turning as well so I’d say both are important. They are symbiotic.
What are the ingredients you think every good novel should have, and why?
That’s a tricky one. Characters. If I don’t care about the characters, I’m unlikely to care too much about the plot. The characters have to be ‘real’ to me or it doesn’t work as a story. I like surprises too. As a reader, if an author can surprise me, they have my admiration.
James Joyce spent 17 years (I think) writing ‘Finnegan’s Wake’; Shelley Harris took 5 years to write her novel ‘Jubilee’. How long does it take you – typically – to write a novel?
Yikes. Not that long. I guess around 3 months all up. I don’t like to take too long and just keep it fresh.
When you finish a novel, what do you do next? Imagine you’ve just written the words ‘The End’. What happens then?
Maniacal laughter, then tears. Probably. Then I go straight on to the next steps required to get it released.
How many novels have you written so far and are you working on one at present? If so, would you like to tell us something about it?
So far, I have written two novels – “FERTS” and “Open Doors”. I am currently working on two more and I can tell you that they have a dystopian theme. I am also working on some short horror stories and a crime story.
What is your writing routine if you have one? And when you answer that, could you also tell us if you have a preference for where you write and the conditions you write in?
I write in an informal setting. Laptop on the couch, music or TV on, talking and typing simultaneously. I like distractions, which is probably unusual for a writer. It works for me.
If someone is reading this who has aspirations to be writer, what advice would you give to him or her?
I’d say write as much as possible and read as much as possible. You can learn a lot from books and authors that you admire, but just make sure you transform those ideas into your own thing. Keep working on your own voice, your own style. Be unique.
I’d like to ask you about your reading now. What authors and genres do you enjoy reading?
I have a huge reading list. The genres range from horror to crime, fantasy to sci-fi, anything in-between. Anything that is creepy or action-packed is likely to hold my attention. Some people are freaked out about certain topics, sex, violence, swearing and the like. I must have a high tolerance level or something. So far, nothing so far has shocked me enough to stop reading.
How do you feel about short stories and flash fiction as opposed to novels?
I enjoy short stories and flash fiction. I also think that horror lends itself to this format,as does sci-fi.
Who is your favourite author and why?
Stephen King. I read “IT” when I was 14. I’m still messed up from that. Respect.
If you were given a long prison sentence for a crime you didn’t do (obviously you didn’t do it – you’re not a criminal!) What three books would you take to pass away the time. (You’re not allowed to tell me you’d take books about the law!)
I’d take books on astral projection, conscious dreaming and psychic development. In that kind of environment, your mind is your only means of escape, unless of course you have a pick and shovel, in which case I wouldn’t be doing a whole lot of reading!
What do you like to do for recreation when you’re not writing?
I love reading, movies, and cooking (sometimes). I can’t really say I have a lot of “recreational” time as I’m always planning and plotting world domination.
If you have a day job, what is it?
Ha! Yes, I’m working on not having one. At the moment I do a bit of temping, article writing and stuff. I’m also a bit of an IT geek.
Could you give us a brief author bio – like a thumbnail sketch of yourself in writing?
Horror freak, coffee addict, friend to all creatures except spiders, demon-slayer, perpetual student, dignified geek and fangirl.
Please give us your contact details – website address, Amazon links, Facebook page(s) etc. so that our readers can get in touch if they want.
Finally, would you like to give us a sample from a book you’ve written?
With pleasure. This is an excerpt from my novel ‘Open doors’:
“I hate everyone,” Sean muttered, more to himself than anyone else.
He leaned his face on his palms, elbows catching on the edge of the wooden bar, the stool precariously wobbling beneath him. It didn’t particularly matter tonight, there was no-one around to hear. Steve usually came along with him on Thursdays but this night was different. Steve had met ‘the one’, at least for the moment. Sean had pretty much lost count of how many times Steve had raved on about each of his new girlfriends, how perfect they were, how utterly made for him, how this time, she was ‘the one’. At some point he’d inevitably begun to grumble here and there about unusual habits or differing tastes in music. After a while, it seemed that Penny, or was it Sherri, it didn’t matter now he supposed, would never grasp the brilliance of Audioslave, so she had to go. Sean didn’t mention that he wasn’t their biggest fan either, but Steve wouldn’t have cared either way. Well, he would have, but it would have been a friendly argument, besides, there were different rules when it came to friends. Steve was firm on this point. If she was to be the one, she had to be perfect, and that was non-negotiable.
So his best mate Steve was out at some restaurant he hated, dressed in clothes he didn’t like, trying to impress a girl who would no doubt disappoint him on some important matter like whether Stephen King was a better author than Jack Kerouac. Sean swirled the now warm dregs of his beer in his glass that smelt faintly of fish. He gave them two months, give or take.