How About This presents Allan Hudson
The NB based writer answers a few questions for us.
In the Atlantic Canada Mondays feature we interview residents of the Atlantic Canadian provinces: New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador. Today’s interview features a New Brunswick based writer, Allan Hudson.
Allan is a long-time resident of New Brunswick who took the plunge and finished his first novel manuscript in his mid 50s. As you’ll see, Allan’s had a variety of experiences that have no doubt informed his life and his writing.
When you were a teenager, what did you want to become when you grew up?
When I was a teenager, the foremost thing on my mind was when can I move out. I love adventure and not knowing what’s around the corner and at that time, my intentions was to be either a welder or a carpenter as I studied both in high school. Instead, I got a summer job as a sales representative at a paint store and I was hooked. I made a career of sales, mainly in the jewelry business. I never thought about being a writer back then.
Do you prefer writing by keyboard, do you prefer pen and paper, or do you have another favorite method?
When I write, it is always at my desktop or laptop. My handwriting is not so hot so I even print when I make notes, etc. But for my stories, it’s definitely a keyboard.
What's the story of how you came to publish your first novel?
When I completed my first manuscript, I was 55 years old and didn’t have a clue about publishing. When I ventured into cyberspace looking for answers, It was terribly confusing. At the time, I wanted a well crafted book in my hands with my name on it and when I discovered self-publishing, I knew then it was the way I wanted to go. I listened to other successful authors and hired an editor, cover designer, formatter, etc. and I haven’t looked back. It’s been a fun, creative time with my books and many people seem to enjoy my stories.
What's one thing about being an author that most people don't understand?
The one thing I think, people don’t understand is the amount of time a writer/author spends alone to work on a story. Nor the amount of research must be done for your story to be authentic.
Do you do any writing exercises or other work to further develop your writing skills?
I’ve taken creative writing course and workshops and it always helps to learn about shaping a story, keeping our readers interested and concentrating on polishing the story. I intend to continue with workshops when available and the advice of fellow authors. I have several I can turn to when I am stumped or need direction. But most importantly is I am an avid reader and learn about writing each time I open a novel.
It looks like you've lived in south eastern New Brunswick all of your life. Has there been much of a Francophone influence in the places where you've lived (Dieppe is historically a more Francophone part of the greater Moncton area)?
I’ve lived in this area most of my life and there is a large Acadian (French) population which I’ve been connected to for some time. My wife is of French descent and proud of it. There’s a good phrase which describes the experience well – Joie de vivre - an exuberant joy of life. They bring passion to all they do.
What are some of the more adventurous or interesting parts of the world that you've explored?
One of the most memorable locations was when my wife and I took a driving holiday throughout the southwestern USA. We explored many natural phenomena but the most stunning was the Grand Canyon. Standing on the rim, you looked down at the river over a mile below and the vertigo was too much. I’d hoped to hike the Bright Angel trail but I was too nervous so after about 100 feet down, I turned around, much to my wife’s dismay who was loving it.
Other than that, the most spectacular view I’ve ever experienced is my first glimpse of the Canadian Rockies. So majestic.
What in particular inspired you to write Shipbreakers?
An interesting question which brings me back to the time I was working on my first novel and during my research on Bangladesh (where the novel mainly takes place) I discovered the process of shipbreaking. The very word caused my curiosity to peak and when I discovered the whole process of dismantling a huge ship by hand, I couldn’t get over the whole process, of how dangerous it is, men exposed to harsh chemicals with no respirators, no safety standards, no steel-toed boots or helmets, no compensation if injured or killed. Men working in unsafe conditions wearing only lungis and shirts and in bare feet. There are three main shipbreaking yards in the world. The one in Chittagong, Bangladesh is the one I used for the story.
Do you make use of social media, sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc? Any thoughts about the current state of social media?
Yes, I stick to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram as well as my own blog. I find them especially useful in promoting my stories and it is all I have time for, although, I have been exploring other sites but none are as popular as those. As far as what is currently taking place in the social media platforms, I pay little attention to all the political and argumentative posts and stick with authors and readers.
Pretend you wake up one morning and you learn that the Internet has been destroyed. What's the first thing that you do?
Another neat question and one I had to think on. As much as I depend on the internet, it would probably be catastrophic for me if the Internet failed. I like to think I wouldn’t panic but I’d likely sit around dumbfounded for a bit. All my contacts, cloud storage, stories, books, etc. all gone. It would be too terrible to imagine and proves to me I take it too much for granted. What would you do, Mark?
Thanks to Allan Hudson for agreeing to this interview!
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