Interview with Allan Hudson, featuring his book ‘Shattered Figurine’

Allan Hudson’s blog ‘South Branch Scribbler‘ is a wonderful mix of his writing, book excerpts; Drake Alexander Series, Jo Naylor Adventures and Box of Memories, and interviews with fellow authors. His generous spirit shines through and it is obvious that writing to him comes as naturally as breathing.

He started writing later in life, inspired by one of his favorite authors, Bryce Courtenay, who began his writing career in his mid-fifties. It has been one of his most rewarding pastimes. He’s been an avid reader all his life and it started with Dick & Jane which his mother brought home from her work as a schoolteacher and she taught him to read at an early age.

Allan’s joy and gratitude for the adventures in his life, a loving and supportive family and many good friends are evident.

Now let’s hear from the man himself…

I would like to thank you, Jane, for having me as a guest today.

What project are you currently writing?

I have recently finished a historical fiction story, as yet untitled, and is going through the editing process at present. It begins in Scotland in 1911 and covers ten years of my young protagonist’s life. Due to his father’s untimely death and his mother’s dire situation, Dominic Alexander must go live with his bachelor uncle. Forced to earn a living, the eleven-year-old boy must become a man. Growing fond of his uncle, he learns his trade and life goes on even though he fights through the loneliness of missing his family. Tragic events lead him to rethink his future. He decides to emigrate to Canada and begin anew.

The story follows Dominic through the ups and downs life has to offer. The benevolence and love of his uncle carry him through.

I expect to publish in the summer of 2020.

Do you have a favourite genre?

When I’m reading, I enjoy a good mystery or detective novel. Some of my favourite authors are Chuck Bowie, Harlan Coben, Lee Child, Joseph Finder, John Grisham, to name a few. I also love writing detective or vigilante-style novels.

The premise for my first two novels is a former soldier that has the time, money, courage and a sense of right or wrong to hunt down criminals that have evaded the law. Manhunter, vigilante, frontier justice; call it what you may, it’s what he does. I have a third manuscript three quarters finished of another Drake Alexander Adventure.

The new Detective Jo Naylor series is a change-up from common detective novels. More of a novella, it is fast-paced and a different format. I am presently working on the follow-up story to the ‘Shattered Figurine’ as well.

I also enjoy historical stories from such enjoyable authors like Bryce Courtenay, Edward Rutherford or James Michener. These types of stories are what inspired my latest WIP of Dominic Alexander.

Was it difficult to write your personal book ‘Box of Memories?’

It was actually quite enjoyable. The whole idea began with my own boxes of memories. Mementoes, papers, souvenirs and vestiges of my past are stored in three file boxes and every once in awhile, I like to go through them and reminisce. They were the original inspiration for the short story and eventual title – ‘Four Boxes of Memories’.

Most stories are based on a memory of the past. Not necessarily of my own experience but of something I saw or heard as well. The short story, The Food Bank, for example, came about from a personal visit to our local Food Bank to deliver some canned goods my wife and I had collected. I mean, I never go hungry and can’t imagine anyone not having enough to eat but it happens, all too often unfortunately.

‘Reaching the Pinnacle’ is a short story inspired by a moment in my uncle’s life which I found most touching.

‘Two Boys, One Wagon and a Secret’ was inspired by my own adventures as a boy while collecting returnables from the roadside with a neighbour friend of mine.

‘Pioneers in a Hurry’ was inspired by memories of outings shared with my two brothers-in-law, one of which actually passed away as in the story So, some of the stories have a personal connection but not all.

Does where you live have an impact on your writing?

I believe it does, if even subconsciously. I have the good fortune of a quiet writing spot that faces the Bay across the road from my house. I’m an early riser and enjoy the peace of the morning where I can concentrate. The community, the small island near my home, the sunrises, etc, are all included in my writing. Sometimes by name as in the new historical fiction, or by descriptions of certain locales and moods. At moments when words fail me, I only have to reflect on the moody waters for inspiration.

Is writing your main creative pursuit?

At present, writing is what I enjoy most and do so as often as possible. Being a self-employed carpenter, I also enjoy woodworking and making stained glass. One of my side projects is refinishing older furniture and adding stained glass to it in some fashion. For example, I acquired a dresser from one of my elderly clients’ which was a wedding gift to her grandmother. Not in great shape, I had to patch and polish the exterior, make the drawers work again. I also had to make a new top in the same style. In the new top, I routered a small area that will hold a stained-glass panel I’ve yet to design and create, hoping the motif will reflect the history of the piece. 

I also have a small wall cabinet to refinish and the doors will have stained glass.

Not sure yet if this will generate any interest or extra income, I’m having fun but writing will always remain my first love.

Do you have an outline for each book, or does it evolve as you write?

I’m definitely a ‘panster’.  I have a brief outline of how the story will start, what it will be about and perhaps how it will end but the rest just comes at the moment. I’ve always admired authors who make efforts to create a guide for their story but I always felt that in-depth outlining is time away from the actual writing. Ideas change. I like the way a story evolves as it is written.

I also edit and research as I write. There are usually several drafts to my stories but I like to make corrections as I write. I can’t leave a blank in the story and come back to it so I research as I need it. There was a lot of research for my historical fiction. In the beginning, I had no idea what I might be looking for but as the story unfolded, I required factual historical data and I would go looking for it as needed. This is another aspect of writing I thoroughly enjoy.

I don’t believe one way is better than the other, just what works for each individual author and this seems to work for me.

Do you have a favourite time of year?

Where I live – the east coast of Canada – we experience the four seasons full blast. Hot summers, cold, snow-filled winters, colourful autumns and renewable springs. I’ve always enjoyed and been active in the winter with snowshoeing and snowboarding but as I get older, I find the cold more bothersome. Summer, of course, is always a treat with warm days, sunshine and the beach, warm rain. Autumn brings the many glorious colours of the dying leaves and grounds but I’d have to say that Spring is my favourite time of the year.

I look forward to the greening of the grass, the new growth on the trees, the softening of the ground, almost like new beginnings. I am always anxious for the day when my wife and I dig out our patio and gazebo furniture, making new plans each year for small changes and additions to our collection of odd chairs, benches, swings and decor. I actually enjoy cutting my lawn and trimming the small trees on my property and the coming of nightly bonfires. The anticipation of outdoor adventures and enjoyment makes Spring most pleasant for me.

Allan’s latest book is a detective thriller – Shattered Figurine – and he kindly shares an excerpt with us here:

By 8:30 the sun begins to melt the ice from the cadaver, turning the white, twinkling coating into clear drops of water that pool in the body’s cavities or run like tears. The crystal perched upon the head flashes rainbow-colored rays when Jo moves. She walks a wide arc around the body, knowing she should stay away. But she can’t, so she creeps closer. The frost groans with each step she takes. She crouches down near the head, thinking the girl might have been pretty once. She peers closely at the crystal. The figurine has only one leg and it props up the glass animal’s nose. Focusing on the tiny head, Jo gasps when she sees the horn is broken off, only a short stub to suggest there had ever been one. The image strikes her like a fist. She shrinks back from the discovery, losing her balance and falling abruptly on her ass. The shock is too great. She panics, arms flailing and feet scrambling, wanting to flee the awful truth.

Holding a hand to her mouth to stifle her sobs, she runs aimlessly along the edge of the forest. Her moans break the eerie silence to echo through the trees. Tears stream across her temple and are absorbed by short dark curls that stick out below her toque. When she stops, she bends to put hands on knees, panting from the exertion of crossing the field to the opposite corner. Deep breaths once more ease the tension she’s feeling. She needs to think clearly. Staring at the stubble by her feet, she loses focus. Indecision and disbelief rage in her mind. Foremost in her thoughts is that it’s impossible for the person who had bought the unicorn to have committed such heinous crimes. It can’t be, she tells herself. She’s known the man all her life.

My five star review of ‘Shattered Figurine’:

A surprising and gripping detective story…
 
The storyline is a surprise and a difficult one to tackle. Allan Hudson does this with skill and I was gripped from the first page. Jo Naylor and her supporting characters are engaging and I cared about them from the outset. The plot twists are also unexpected.

This is a different kind of detective story and the pace is tight with beautifully descriptive writing that carries you right into each scene.

I eagerly await the next book in this series and am going on to read other works by this author, as he is a talented discovery.

‘Shattered Figurine’ links:

‘Shattered Figurine’ Amazon UK

‘Shattered Figurine’ Amazon USA

‘Shattered Figurine’ Amazon Canada

Links to Allan’s other books:-

‘A Box of Memories’ Amazon UK

‘A Box of Memories’ Amazon USA

‘A Box of Memories’ Amazon Canada

‘Dark Side of a Promise – Drake Alexander Adventures Book 1 ‘ Amazon UK

‘Dark Side of a Promise – Drake Alexander Adventures Book 1’ Amazon USA

‘Dark Side of a Promise – Drake Alexander Adventures Book l’ Amazon Canada

‘Wall of War – Drake Alexander Adventures Book 2’ Amazon UK

‘Wall of War – Drake Alexander Adventures Book 2’ Amazon USA

‘Wall of War – Drake Alexander Adventures Book 2’ Amazon Canada

For all those who wish to follow Allan and keep up to date with his latest creativity, all his online links are below:-

Blog – ‘South Branch Scribbler

Facebook

Twitter

Linked In

It has been a delight to welcome Allan to my blog today and a joy to discover him in our Global Village. Wishing you much creative energy, Allan, always. ❤

Home is in my heart…

This sea glass started life as bottles broken by rocks, then tumbled by sea and tide until the edges were smoothed and the surfaces completely frosted.

Thus far I have lived in over fifty homes, across three continents and a fair number of countries. Self-protection stopped me counting after fifty and I went quiet on my nomadic lifestyle due to people’s reactions. ‘Oh, you never stick at anything.’ ‘You never stay in one place long.’ ‘What’s the matter with you?’ etc., etc….

The interesting thing is that no matter how sharp the experience, or how painful the lesson, I know deep inside that I have the ability to stand up again. Sometimes I have to rest a fair while before I muster the energy though.

There’s a book in this…now there’s a thought. ❤

I was sitting at my desk working yesterday, looking out at the water, and a colourful butterfly landed on the wall outside my window. He rested there for about half an hour and we kept each other company, as mother nature shared her beauty and he basked in the warmth from the bricks.

In April this year I attended a writer’s workshop in Liverpool run by the kind and inspiring Fred D’Aguiar. He was over visiting from The States and he gifted us his time and experience. I loved every second of being in his energy. There were about thirty souls there and Fred had asked us all to bring in something that was important to us (preferably not alive). I took my sea glass. He wove this into an exercise where everyone’s treasures were passed around and we had a few minutes to write about each piece in front of us.

When we had finished Fred asked ‘What were you doing Jane?’, because he’d noticed that I had held each piece in my hand, closed my eyes and then let words flow onto paper.

I replied ‘I was feeling the energy in each piece of treasure and writing what I felt from that.’

Fred smiled ‘What is your treasure about Jane?’

‘It is sea glass from the beach in front of my home. I am like the sea glass Fred, I don’t belong anywhere, yet I can live everywhere. My home is in my heart and all the treasured connections with the souls that I love are held there.’

He held my gaze and said ‘I understand Jane. That is me.’