PROFILE YOURSELF: An Amazing Story with Allan Hudson.

Allan Hudson, author, for "Time for Sotorytelling."
Allan Hudson for “Time for Storytelling.”

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?

Allan:

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?

Allan:

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?

Allan:

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?

Allan:

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.

Allan:

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?

Allan:

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?

Allan:

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.

“Live and Let Live”

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.

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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:

Web: http://www.allanhudson.com

Twitter: @hudson_allan

FB: @southbranchscribbler

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Short Animated Video: We Know Nothing at All!

A short animated video on how well we know each other. We know nothing at all. Certainly, it is funny, and an amazing video on what we know about our friends on social media, and neighbors.

We all have hundreds and thousand of friends on Social Media. We say hello to our neighbors every day. And what do we know about them?

Discover how Dalilah put the situation to her friend, Alexia, exactly as it is. And she presents Alexia a challenge to tackle.

Dalilah
Alexia
Alexia

How will Alexia react?

Let’s see.

Dalilah and Alexia have different points of views

PROFILE YOURSELF: An Amazing Story with Lucinda E. Clarke.

Lucinda E. Clarke describes herself as being born in Dublin, dragged up in the Cotswolds and finished off in Liverpool.
She’s led an appalling life, jumping counties, often one step ahead of the creditors.
Produced by a mother with NPD, then marriage to a Walter Mitty clone, there has never been a dull moment – and she’s a bestselling author with awards and numerous medals for both her television scripts and her books.

Lucinda E. Clarke for “Time for Storytelling.”

Ana: First, I would like to thank you for taking some time off your busy schedule to answer some questions.

How did you find your calling to become an author?

Lucinda:

Firstly:- As a precocious brat, aged 4 reading Enid Blyton, I thought this looks easy, I could do this

Secondly:- Writing a report on the Sunday School activities for the local church magazine, although sadly no one else got to read it as I snaffled all of them from the back of the church and read each and every copy in the privacy of my bedroom.

There is a long gap, despite my pleading I wanted to be a writer as I was leaving school but was told to get a proper career.

Finally:- When I applied as a continuity announcer on the South African Broadcasting Corporation (a dismal failure) then invited to the drama department and the producer picked up on the content of my audition (self-written) and told me to go home and write. So, I did and won the Playwright of the Year Award – after that there was no stopping me.

Ana: Where do you get your ideas? What and Who inspires you?

Lucinda:

Ideas drop from the sky. I’ve no idea what sparks them, often in the shower, or when half asleep and I spend the next week trying to remember what they were. A word, a mannerism, a shop front, it could be anything. I’ve been an avid reader as long as I can remember, preferring my own world to the one most people inhabit. 

What other career allows you to kill with abandon, chop arms and legs off, and torture and manipulate your characters? I love Jean Plaidy, Harrison Ainsworth and Wilbur Smith. It was probably the latter’s stories that encouraged me to go and live in Africa.

Ana: What message do you want to get across?

Lucinda:

Most of my books are set in Africa and I have tied hard to portray the continent as I saw it while living there for almost 40 years. It’s not The Lion King, nor Born Free and those images of poverty and war you see on the news have an eye on viewer statistics and donations. I’ve tried to show a typical African country seen through the eyes of a new expatriate (Amie) much as I experienced it when I first stepped off the Kenyan Airways plane. 

Of course, in the series she becomes a trained spy and has plausible adventures, but I had a few hairy moments of my own too. If I have enlightened even a few minds and opinions, then I shall have succeeded a little.

A Video on Amie Series

Ana: What is most challenging about what you do?

Lucinda:

I was tossing up whether to mention the dreaded marketing or fatigue. I’m only pretending to be retired, and yet I drive myself on – my brain races but my body would prefer to crawl or curl up with a good book. 

I’ve worked hard all my life, mostly with 2 jobs and I should really relax and do the coffee morning/Zumba routine, but I’d love to get the New York Times Bestseller sticker just once. 

Since I’ve earned my living writing radio and TV scripts for decades, I know I can write, and hundreds of people have loved my books but getting the word out? I’m hopeless at that and I don’t enjoy it. The networking yes, the chatting to readers yes, but the buy my books shout out makes me cringe.

Ana: Imagine you meet today yourself when you were just a child, what would you tell yourself-child?

Lucinda’s memoir of growing up with a NPD mother.

Lucinda:

This is a bit weird to answer as I would have reassured my younger self that my upbringing was not normal and that I was on OK person – it was my mother who had the problem. She suffered from NPD but I only discovered that 6 decades later, having been terrorised and guilt-ridden about her for most of my life.

Ana: For you, what makes a great story?

Lucinda:

A great story has a character I can bond with, it must be fast moving with twists and turns and keep me guessing until the last page.

Ana: Tell us a story, an anecdote you would like to share.

Lucinda:

I’ve written 3 memoirs. The first chronicling my life through 8 counties, 2 husbands and a wealth of experiences. These include interviewing Mandela, fainting in an abattoir, meeting Prince Charles, broadcasting live with a bayonet on my shoulder, managing a rock band, running from a tear gas attack, breaking down in a game park with no defence, being abandoned with a 9 week old baby in the bush with no food, transport, communications or electricity. 

There are a few more incidents which I can’t recall right now, but there are plenty more. I morphed from a shy, low-esteemed primary school teacher to a successful businesswoman running my own video production company. Yes, I guess I made it and still miss the media life.

The true story of how Lucinda set up and ran a riding school while afraid of horses and not the slightest idea of how to care for them.

Ana: How did you find your writing style? Has it changed over time?

Lucinda:

I was never trained in journalism or took a higher degree in English, preferring History and Sociology. I learned scriptwriting by trial and error for both radio and TV and won several awards. Later, after freelancing for the SABC I produced the scripts I wrote for corporates, conference presentations, governments, banks and so on. On retirement I turned to books. This was a whole different ball game. No longer could I scribble pan across room to show… Now, I had to describe the room, how the characters were behaving and learn the ‘show not tell stuff’, although the dialogue was easy and I had been commissioned to write a couple of books by a couple of the Big Five traditional publishers in the ‘90s, it was like starting again at the bottom of the ladder.

Ana: What does it mean to be an author for you?

Lucinda:

Indulging in my passion, I get withdrawal symptoms if I don’t write. Also, the high I get from leaving behind something tangible when I’ve gone to the big writing desk in the sky, or, more probably, the other place.

Ana: If you had to choose one current character of a TV show, whom would you choose and why? In other words, have you ever attempted to emulate her or him somehow?

Lucinda:

Absolutely not. I hate this hero worship of ‘famous’ people. In the media word you work with these people and they are just very ordinary folk. Some are nice, some narcissistic, some positively revolting. It can be infuriating when they get all the accolades for pretending to be someone else, speaking the words written by THE WRITER, made to look beautiful by the makeup department and the lighting crew, told how to cry etc by the Director and their mumbled words rendered intelligent by the sound crew. Oh dear, you didn’t invite a rant did you! But it’s all true. 

I used to tell my students that if they wanted to be famous, then they should pack up now and go to the drama department and forget the film production side. Viewers seldom care about the team which put it all together, they are too busy putting the cat out, racing to the loo or putting on the kettle.

Ana: Do you have any moving story that changed your mind, life, somehow, and you would like to share?

Lucinda:

The nearest I can come to this is the number of times I thought I was going to die and surprisingly, I survived. A good example is that bayonet pricking into my neck in the broadcasting studio, or the time we were charged by an elephant and the car stalled, or the crowd that surrounded me and my daughter in her pushchair at a public hanging. I won’t bore you with more! Live each day.

Ana: So, if you hadn’t chosen to become an author, what would your alternative career have been?

Lucinda:

I trained to be a teacher, and I rather think that writing chose me, since I was at that SABC audition having been given notice at the school, and I was desperate to get another job, any job at the time. Broadcasting was the only other skill I had.

Ana: General words of wisdom you live by?

Lucinda:

Live and let live. Respect other cultures and beliefs and seek to understand others.

Travel and retain your curiosity, take an interest farther afield than your immediate environment.

Learn something new each day.

Ana: Finally, let’s talk about your last work (book, story, writing …) and your future plans. 

Lucinda:

There is that NYT sticker I’d (almost) kill for. I’m not going to write any more biographies I think I’ve used up most of my escapades. 

A Psychological Thriller

There are 5 books in the Amie in African series, and I plan one more. I’d like to do a sequel to my fairy tale satire, but, to my surprise, my Psychological Thriller, has been my most successful so I’m currently writing a follow on. 

Amie series by Lucinda E. Clarke for "Time for Storytelling."
Amie Series

Ana: Thank you, Lucinda, for this amazing interview.

For those wishing to find out more about Lucinda E. and her writing, check out these links:

Web: https://lucindaeclarkeauthor.com

Blog: https://lucindaeclarke.wordpress.com

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Lucinda-E-Clarke/e/B00FDWB914/

Twitter: http://@LucindaEClarke

Pinterest: https://es.pinterest.com/lucindaeclarkea/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lucinda-clarke-