Welcome to my Q & A. Today I’m thrilled to be featuring a fellow Canadian, friend and author – Allan Hudson. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Allan’s writing, he’s a multi-genred author, and I’m currently reading one of his short story books – A Box of Memories, which offers a variety of themed stories from fiction to the odd sci-fi, with one common thread – Allan is a wonderful writer of description. His characters are are richly descript, and take you right into the moment. Allan also hosts his blog – the Southbranch Scribbler, and features author promotion interviews too!
Today I have a double feature with Allan’s Book 1 of his Detective Jo Naylor series (female protagonist) – Shattered Figurine, a murder, mystery, adventure. And Allan has recently launched Book 2 in the series – Shattered Lives, and he’s sharing excerpts of both his books here today along with a bit about himself in our Q & A portion.
Allan Hudson was born in Saint John, New Brunswick. Growing up in South Branch he was encouraged to read from an early age by his mother who was a school teacher. He lives in Cocagne with his wife Gloria. He has enjoyed a lifetime of adventure, travel and uses the many experiences as ideas for his writing. When not at the keyboard, he continues to enjoy woodworking, glass work and furniture restoration. He is an author of action/adventure novels, historical fiction and a short story collection. His short stories – The Ship Breakers: In the Abyss – received honourable mention in the New Brunswick Writer’s Federation competition. He has stories published on commuterlit.com, The Golden Ratio and his blog – South BranchScribbler.
Detective Josephine Naylor receives an email telling her where to find the last body. The messenger tells her “only you can stop this madness”. Discovering a shattered figurine on the corpse, she’s overwhelmed by the possibility it might be the one she sold in a yard sale. If so, she knows who the killer could be. She prays that she’s wrong.
Excerpt for Shattered Figurine
This regrettable murder left no doubt in Jo’s mind that the killer is the same person, based on the method of execution. Forensics had confirmed as much with the second body. That murder had brought forth the criminal psychologists to create a profile that would tell them what type of individual might commit such a crime. The scene before her is, therefore, extremely important, so she stands well away. She is still able to discern an unusual shape upon the victim’s forehead, which, once uncovered from its icy envelope, will likely prove to be a piece of broken crystal similar to those found in the same spot on the pale dead skin of the two other bodies.
Jo is standing at the edge of a wide field shadowed by alders and tall spruces that front the extended forest behind her. The rising sun is just cresting the pointed tops. The body is lying parallel to the tree line at the rim of the pasture. It’s early December. The night fog turned solid as the temperature dropped below freezing, cloaking everything in stark white.Jo is startled from her contemplation of the scene by the sensation that someone is watching her. She turns toward the open field, scanning the perimeter of the woods. Nothing moves; not even a breeze disturbs the black-and-white scene. A rise in the field blocks her view to the road and her car, but she would have heard a vehicle approach. The silence is intense, nature seeming to mourn the young girl’s death. Jo would definitely hear the crunching of frost under someone’s boots.
Review for Shattered Figurine by author Anita Dawes.
The opening chapter presents the detective, Jo Naylor, with a very important question. One she didn’t really want to answer but knows she must.
The next chapter, one year later, hits you square in the face with full on complicated and violent action as we discover what this story is all about.
Shattered Figurines is a surprisingly unusual detective story in that it doesn’t follow the usual plotline for this genre and the characters aren’t run of the mill either. The author has captured a very real element in both the story and the characters and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.
I love a good detective mystery story and Shattered Figurines is one of the best I have read this year. I shall be first in the queue when the author writes another one in this series.
I hope that whet your appetites. Now, let’s get to know more about Allan!
“Thank you so much Debby.”
Do some of your own character traits or personal experiences spill intoyour book characters?
I’ve never felt any of my own personal traits would be of interest to my readers as I live a sedate life and I love writing action and adventure stories. My stories, perhaps, reflect how I might like to see myself, a hero, fearless, not afraid of what might be around the corner. Bold enough to take that first step into the unknown. I’m normally cautious about such things but not my adventure characters. They take all the chances at what needs to be done.
I do, however, use characteristics from people I know, their goodness, their kindness, their mannerisms, their good looks or sex appeal. And no, I’m not naming any names.
Personal experience on the other hand is something I rely on. I’ve always considered it to be much easier to embellish a couple of paragraphs or sentences or a full page with something I, or an acquaintance, may have encountered. An example is in two of my short stories of young boys, I myself had a wagon and used it to collect returnables on the side of the road when I was young and was the basis for the beginning of the story. In the second story, I did accidently start
a fire which got out of control one time. In another, a camping trip with two friends is based loosely on a similar outing with my brothers-in-law. It’s much easier.
D.G. – I love that you also add characters who do things you’d aspire to do. And I have to say, when I read the wagon stories, I thought to myself, hmm, did Allan do this? Lol. 🙂
What’s your opinion on self-publishing?
I absolutely love the concept of self-publishing. When I wrote my first story, I did so with zero knowledge of what came next. This was at a time that self-publishing began to find its rightful place in the printing business and was no longer being regarded as vanity publishing. Here I was with my story, gone over a dozen times, rewritten and still wondering what it needed. I started searching on the internet. Please bear in mind that I was fifty-six years old when I started writing. Although, looking back now, it’s not old but I was wondering would I have enough time to write all the stories I wanted to.
I love books and I ached to hold one of my own in my hands. Writing was (and still is) a tremendous hobby.
There was so much information available and as a naive writer, I was drawn at the websites that offered to publish my book. But it was for a hefty fee of course, with no promises. I read comments of rejection slips, waiting for months to hear back from agents or publishers and if anything was accepted it would be months, maybe a year or more before my story would see print. My head was spinning. Then someone directed me to self-publishing. Wow. What a concept.
I knew immediately, this was how I would go forward. I followed wise advice to hire professionals for editing, covers and formatting. Yes, I had to bear the expense but it was worth it. I didn’t have to wait. There are multiple, free platforms to market your books. Get a website, tell everyone you can.
What a ride it has been and I’ve never looked back. I don’t think there is anything a traditional publisher can offer me that I don’t already have.
D.G. – My story was similar to yours Allan, so I knew it was my job to learn the biz too to get my books out. Look at us pioneers! 🙂
When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?
I remember an assignment in high school where we had to write a story in English class. I don’t recall the story or how well I did but I do remember how much I enjoyed doing it. The English teacher chose my story to read to the class and offered suggestions to make it better. The urge to write has always been there. I was taught to read at a very young age by my mother who was a school teacher. I imagined telling stories must be so gratifying.
As a young adult, I attended a creative writing class and once more, the instructor used one of my stories to be read to the class. I felt I was onto something with her encouragement but never seemed to have the time to write. Moving forward to my early fifties, I discovered author Bryce Courtenay and fell in love with his novels. Reading his biography, I found out he only started writing in his fifties and I sent him a letter telling him how much I enjoyed his work and I was considering writing something. I expect it was one of his assistants who replied but nonetheless, it was a letter of encouragement and tips. I haven’t looked back since.
D.G. – Isn’t it funny that the slightest bit of encouragement can lift and propel us to go after what we want. And know you are not alone. I know many of us in our community didn’t begin serious writing and publishing til that 50 mark!
What can you tell us you’ve gained from blogging as an author?
The most rewarding discovery in the beginning of my blog, and it remains the same, is meeting like-minded authors. Such as yourself, Debby. Offering their fellow writers an opportunity to share their dreams and writing with a new audience. The encouragement is fantastic. Many of us are in the same situation, blogging, meeting bloggers, introducing creative minds to our followers. It’s the best way to reach out to new readers. By offering the same vehicle to other authors, searching for new platforms. I’ve meet so many great writers struggling to get their stories to market. I’ve read much of their work. Different genres, different voices. I’m a firm believer that we learn to write by reading as much as possible.
As an author, there is nothing better than learning to blog, in my opinion. It opens so many doors.
D.G. – I couldn’t agree with you more Allan. And thank you for the compliment. 🙂 And very true how we always learn from reading more books!
If you could have any of your books made into a movie, which one would you choose and why?
I think it would be a thrill of a lifetime to have a novel adapted for the big screen. To see your name in the credits and the title of your book that inspired the drama.
I would choose my second novel, Wall of War. It was so much fun to write. Before I started writing, a story set in Peru, a discovery on Incan gold, floated in my mind continuously. It was the story I wanted to write at first but I didn’t. Here’s the silly reason why. I began to outline the story just as Clive Cussler’s story Inca Gold became known to me. It was published in 1994 but I only discovered it in 2013 when I started to write. I hadn’t read it but the idea that a famous author wrote about Inca gold and I wanted to write a story on the same subject matter, I changed direction, worried that people might think I plagiarized the story. Dumb, of course. I read Cussler’s novel and it was nothing like the story I wanted to tell. Just a naïve beginner’s fear.
I am fascinated by the Inca, their stonework, their working of metals, so sophisticated and precise. Wall of War starts with a startling discovery which lies dormant for fifty years. When the secret is re-discovered, trouble begins. An accidental death causes one of my characters to flee with enemies in hot pursuit for the gold. He reaches out to a man he grew up with but not related to. Drake Alexander goes on the hunt for his friend. It takes place in Peru, through the Sacred Valley, in Cuzco and near Machu Pichu. Rock climbers. Despicable enemies. It has all the ingredients for a suspenseful and entertaining movie.
D.G. – That does sound fascinating Allan. And goes to show that we shouldn’t be afraid to explore our passions because, other than plagiarism, each writer has their own unique voice and style of expressing a story that may have been told 1000 times. 🙂
Now for our Double Feature with Allan’s New Release!
Since the time of the booking of this interview with Allan, he has recently released Book 2 – Shattered Lives, so I’m happy to feature the book and blurb here today.
Jo Naylor is on the run. Wanted back in Canada for questioning regarding her father’s suicide. She has no intention of returning. With a new identity, she takes up temporary residence in a foreign country. She may not be a detective any longer but once a cop, always a cop. A distraught woman pleads with Naylor to find her daughter. Should she help? She doesn’t know anyone in Thailand, doesn’t know the geography but that doesn’t stop Naylor from sticking her nose where it shouldn’t be. Naylor and her new sidekick, an orphaned girl, join up with a local PI. There’s more than a missing child at stake.
Top review from the United States
Reviewed in the United States on February 9, 2021
Former detective Jo Naylor is on the run and finds a whole lot of trouble in paradise when she saves a young girl from the clutches of a predator. She becomes a temporary guardian to the orphaned girl and a special bond between the two is easily formed. When another girl is taken her mother pleads to Jo for help- who can’t say no despite the limitations she faces. Jo enlists the help of a PI who like her isn’t a woman to be underestimated. Together they uncover a crime ring that runs deeper than either could anticipate and puts both of them in danger.
Jo’s take no prisoners attitude, relentless pursuit of justice, and fearless fight against the men she encounters is an action-packed adventure. The author’s snappy writing and spot-on pacing makes this mystery a perfect page-turner.
Excerpt from Shattered Lives.
Coming out of the bank, a little girl scampers from the front window she’s obviously been staring into. Stopping at the end of the mall ten storefronts away, she disappears. But she soon peeks around the wall at Jo by furtively moving one eye and a few dirty strands of hair. Jo’s skin flushes with a pang of sympathy for her.
Jo remembers when she first saw her. She was going through the dumpster beside a restaurant and was shooed away by one of the staff. Jo followed her to find her huddled inside an abandoned and damaged cement pipe jumbled with others at a construction yard. Crawling through a fence in the back, Jo approached the ruins and singled out the girl’s dwelling among the other populated forgotten structures. The main theme was casual cardboard. The smell was the worse, something between urine and unwashed bodies. When Jo moved the ragged curtain open, the girl shinnied to the back, eyes displaying fear. Kneeling at the entrance, Jo’s smile brightened up the dim space. She talked patiently with soothing words to the girl but got no response. Jo figured she didn’t understand English. Beckoning for the girl to follow, Jo’s soft smile spoke of comfort. She led her back to the same restaurant, motioning for her to wait on a bench outside the door. She purchased a boxed meal and presented it to the little girl. Jo sat on one end of the bench watching the little girl wolf down the meal. She then wrapped the paper and cardboard together and placed it in a bin. Bowing, the first slight smile graced the girl’s lips. Then she turned and ran.
Thanks to Allan for coming over today and sharing a bit about himself and his books. I hope you’ve all enjoyed getting to know about Allan and will check out his books!
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