Allan is an avid reader all my life, he always wanted to write. He was inspired by one of my favorite authors- Bryce Courtenay – who started his writing career in his mid-fifties and went on to publish over twenty best sellers. He knew then that it was never too late to start and it’s been a wonderful journey since. Writing is my passion.
Ana: First, thank you for taking for letting me interviewing you today. I know how busy you are.
Allan, where do you get your ideas? And what message do you want to get across?
Like many authors, I believe inspiration comes from our surroundings, the people we meet, the things we do and the memories we make. I live in a small coastal village in Eastern Canada where the sunrises are spectacular, the sunsets glorious, the land is rich, the community is vibrant and the waters are moody. You will find many references to where I live in my stories. Often conversations with friends or acquaintances will spark a new story or an addition to a novel. For an example, while chatting with my sisters at a recent gathering, I discovered that many years ago, a cousin had a small convenience store at a public beach with many funny incidents which has acted as a catalyst for a short story I am working on.
I’ve never given much thought to any particular messages I’ve wanted to express. I love feel good stories and I think we need a lot of those in our lives. Many of my short stories contain instances of people helping people. I like older people and children in stories too.
“People helping People.”
Ana: What is most challenging about what you do?
Finding the time to write is perhaps my biggest challenge. I still work full time so writing is secondary to life’s commitments but I write every chance I get.
I’ve always been a morning person, so on weekends, you’ll find me up early at my laptop. I like quiet and solitude when I write. I especially have two favorite spots to work from. In the warmer months, I write in my workshop where I have a space cleared specifically for writing. I can look out my window at the water and I always find it calming when I need to think about something I’m stuck on.
In the colder months, I’m at it early at the kitchen table. I plan on retiring in another year so hopefully, there will be more writing time.
Ana: For you, what makes a great story?
I like this question and I expect we would all give different answers. I’ve read so many great novels, a lot of so-so novels. Most stories keep me interested but every once in a while, I’ll pick up a book that keeps me enthralled. I can’t wait to get back at it and I can’t stop reading when I do.
What makes it great? Above all, strong characters, good prose, good dialogue is vital, detail is important to me, what the character is seeing, hearing, doing, etc. I like stories that take me around the world or explore different cultures.
I like characters that are a shade above average, smarter, braver, able to overcome obstacles, kind and no-nonsense. An example is my all-time favorite novel – Shibumi. The main character, Nicholas Hel, is a world-class assassin, an artful lover, courageous with an incredible past, a spelunker and a true friend.
Ana: What do you love about writing the most?
I enjoy taking an idea, an incident, an image or a memory and turning it into a story.
Sitting in your favorite spot, in front of your laptop, a blank page, a flickering cursor and a few notes and you start. Building the scenes, finding the right words, creating new characters and their personas, all the creative energy that goes into building a story makes me feel good, productive. Getting to the very last sentence and a rush knowing that you’re finished the first draft – what a feeling!
In short, that whole creative journey from start to finish is what I love the most.hat whole creative journey from start to finish is what I love the most.
Ana: Tell us a story, an anecdote you would like to share.
As I mentioned in an earlier question, I started writing later in life. After discovering that Mr. Courtenay started around the same age as I was then, I talked about writing a story, I felt like it was possible.
A theme and the main character were already formed in my mind. I just needed to sit and write. I had no clue how to start or really what to do. So, I continued to procrastinate until finally my wife looked at me with a frown and said, “Are you going to talk about it forever, or are you going to sit down and write that darn story? If not, then be quiet!”
We laughed over that a few times but it was the catalyst I needed to get on with it. I’ve never looked back and, in some sense, I guess, I owe it to her for getting me going.
Ana: After that process, what does it mean to be an author for you?
Being an author allows me the opportunity to leave something in the world after I’m gone. When I first started writing, I drew to short stories and penned a few of them. Having three grandchildren, I wanted them to have something that I made especially for them that would continue to be in their lives long after I left. I created three collections of short stories, each one a limited series and dedicated them to my grandchildren. The first copy was signed and given to them, of course.
In other words, I hope that someday, they’ll be going through their collection of memorabilia and will find a book that their “Grampy” made for them.
Ana: In the case of you have two teleportation devices to travel through time, where will you place them and why?
I would have one in my workshop here at home. Here at home being on the east coast of Canada in a small community called Cocagne. The other machine would sit in the same spot a hundred years previous.
The Countdown starts…
I have recently finished a manuscript of historical fiction and my main character immigrates to Canada from Scotland to settle in Cocagne. During the writing of the story, I had the opportunity to research the history of my community. Then, comparing the area to today, it was a vibrant busy place, several hotels, two churches, shipbuilding, farms and fields stretching to the horizon, fishermen reaping the bounty of the Bay, a house on an island – what an amazing history. I would love to be able to go back to the turn of the century and see it for myself.
Ana: Do you have any moving story that changed your mind, life, somehow, and you would like to share?
This is an interesting question. I think each of us have that moment in our lives where something meaningful happens and changes our ways of thinking.
I had a close friend who was married to a lady from the US and they moved back to Canada to start a family. We worked together, became friends. We hung out together with our wives and I became the godfather to his oldest child. Later, things changed, they moved to another city two hours away and I saw little of them as the years progressed. Until one day, I was working in his city and I met my friend for a coffee and we chatted about his marriage breaking up and such.
Sad moment because they made a swell couple. After several hours, he looked at me and said, “There’s something I have to tell you”. He had a strange look in his eyes and I thought he was going to tell me he had a terminal illness. After a moment of silence, he informed me, “I’m gay.”
Up to that moment, I’d never know a gay person personally. So, I didn’t understand their struggle.
Personally, I think he was brave to tell me, not knowing how I would react. I’d always been of the mind “live and let live”. Digesting the news, I didn’t see a gay person on the other side of the table. I saw a good friend that happened to be gay. So, I broke the silence that ensued by telling him that I guess I wouldn’t have to worry about him flirting with my wife. Relief flooded his face and we laughed so hard.
Ana: Finally, let’s talk about your last work and your future plans.
I have three projects on the go. My completed manuscript of an historical fiction account of a young man having to go live with his bachelor uncle due to misfortunes and difficulties in his mother’s life. Loneliness and happiness follow until catastrophe strikes. As a result, it changes the young man’s life and he decides to emigrate to Canada and start anew.
Tentativley titled – The Alexanders – Dominic, it covers ten years of his life from 1911 to 1920. It’s with my editor now. I’m hoping for publication in the Fall of 2020.
My second WIP is the third book in the ongoing Drake Alexander series. It is 75% completed. No working title as of yet.
My first two novels introduce him and his antics. An ex-soldier, he and his small group of friends are vigilantes. They have the time, the funds and the experience to hunt for some of the world’s deadliest criminals.
The third series is their hunt for two brothers that went on a bank robbing, killing spree and have never been caught. A victim’s father approaches them, pleading with them to bring the brothers to justice for killing his daughter, but the clues are twenty years old. It’s an international thriller, the hunt takes them from Bordeaux, France to Mongolia to Switzerland.
My third project is the next Jo Naylor series. In my latest release – Shattered Figurine – Josephine Naylor is a detective. She discovers crimes too close to home. At the end of the story, she needs to leave Canada. Certainly, it has been well received with many excellent reviews. In the next installment, Jo Naylor is on the run and in Thailand. Maybe she’s not a cop anymore but she still finds someone in trouble. Can she help them in a village where she doesn’t know anyone?
Ana: Thank you, Allan, for this amazing interview.
For those wishing to find out more about Allan Hudson and his books, check out these links: