Allan Hudson is a New Brunswick author and interviewer. He has written several books of short stories, two thriller-adventure novels featuring his Drake Alexander character, Dark Side of a Promise and Wall of War. His most recent work was the short fiction The Shattered Figurine, available as an eBook. Since Allan has interviewed so many authors from far and wide, I thought it was time I should interview him!
Tell us about your background, education, employment, etc.
Before I get started, I’d like to thank you, James, for inviting me to your website. I appreciate all you do for authors and readers.
I spent my childhood in a small farming community in New Brunswick, south of Richibucto. Adopted when I was ten months old, I was the youngest in a family of five. Our home was the centre of activity. My parents maintained a country store from our house. Besides being a midwife of sorts, on-call throughout the parish, my mother was a teacher, the schoolhouse was direct across the road and I did not miss many days. My father was an entrepreneur of sorts, always self-employed, an amazing multi-talented man. He owned a sawmill which he ran in the summers, carpenter, mechanic, trapper – whatever it took to make a living.
I attended high school in Richibucto, University at UNB, and Community college in Moncton. Although I studied carpentry and other trades, I worked in sales for most of my career, both retail and direct. In the mid 90’s I made a decision to get back at my first work goal and I became a self-employed carpenter. Later in my career, I decided to combine both loves and worked at carpentry and part-time in the jewellery industry.
I’m married to a fantastic lady originally from Moncton, Gloria. We now reside in Cocagne, New Brunswick. I have a son and two stepsons, all of which I’m terribly proud of. As well as three loving grandchildren.
Tell us about some of the books or authors or other people (such as teachers) that may have influenced you to become a writer.
As I mentioned above, my mother was my teacher for many years but before I started school, she brought home Grade one primers, the famous Dick and Jane series. Prompted by her, I was encouraged to read at a young age and was hooked on books from then on. I couldn’t get enough Hardy Boys Mysteries and comics. One of my high school teachers was big on reading and we often had to do book reports. The one I remember most was Moby Dick by Herman Melville. Being forced to read it, I hated it at the time but a few years after graduation I picked it up again and was won over by this fantastic tale. Since then I always wanted to write stories. All these ideas floating around in my head. It was when I started to read Bryce Courtenay’s exceptional stories that I was inspired to get on with it. He started writing in his fifties and went on to pen many best sellers and I’ve read them all. In an interview, he mentioned it was never too late to start, so I too, in my fifties began writing down my stories.
Do you have a favourite book (not one of your own!), one that you like to revisit from time to time?
Looking back over the course of my reading life, there are way too many favourites to talk about here but several books really stand out from memory. I’d like to mention a couple. The first is Shibumi by Trevanian, published in 1979. I always loved this story. The main character, Nicholai Hel, is a genius, mystic, master of many languages, an artful lover and one of the world’s most highly skilled assassins. The whole setting, his life, his hobbies, his origins are done masterfully by Trevanian. The story contains all the elements that I enjoy and I’ve read this book many times. The pages are thick from usage and yellowed from age but I’ll never part with it.
Another is Matthew Flinders Cat by Bryce Courtenay. It’s a strong emotional and good feeling story that I’ve read several times.
I want to mention one I’ve read recently I plan on revisiting many times. The Afrikaner. An exceptional tale, well written. I believe you reviewed this novel by Adrianna Dagnino, so you understand why I say that. (Allan’s interview with Ms. Dagnino can be found here: http://allanhudson.blogspot.com/2019/07/guest-author-arianna-dagnino-of.html)
It was a wonderful book; I too would like to revisit it one day. Tell us about your website the South Branch Scribbler. Where did the name come from? How do you manage to interview so many people?
The Scribbler was created in 2013 originally as a vehicle to talk about my writing. I was told that a website is the best place to sell yourself and your books. At the time there was hardly enough news to fill a blog with. Feeling lost in the odd world of publishing and writing, I remember thinking at the time that there must be a lot of authors like myself, starting out. Maybe I could help. So, the idea of showcasing other authors was formed and It started with a friend’s daughter who wrote a short story for a high school project. I really liked it and she was my first guest. The blog needed a name. The village where I grew up is called South Branch. I thought the word scribbler was a good way to describe someone who writes. I like how they sounded together and the South Branch Scribbler was born. I reached out to many authors and other creative minds. All were happy to receive the extra attention and were open to a new audience. I’m so thankful to all the authors that agreed to be my guest, some of them many times. There is this wonderful give and take with so many kind-hearted authors who have reciprocated and I’m grateful. I’ve discovered so many good books by my guests and I support as many as I can, especially indie authors and local talent as well. Today my blog has over 1500 page views a week and now some authors contact me, asking to share their stories. It’s a wonderful hobby.
If you could write a biography of any person, living or dead, who would that be?
Definitely JJ Cale. My absolute favourite musician and a terrific guitarist. A humble man, little is known of him. Never one to be in the spotlight, very low key and laid back are words used to describe him. His music has been covered and recorded by many artists, the most famous being Eric Clapton (he’s also Clapton’s favourite musician and says so in his autobiography). It was actually two of Cale’s songs that boosted Clapton’s solo career, Cocaine and After Midnight. Every song is different and it’s difficult to put him in one genre, his music ranges from the blues, country and rock, with a few jazz riffs thrown in. He has been credited with the origin of the Oklahoma sound. Unfortunately, he passed away a few years back. I’d love to know and tell his story.
What are you working on now?
My main project at present is historical fiction one beginning in 1911 in Scotland. I’m working on my third draft and excited about it. Young Dominic Alexander must go to live with his uncle because of traumatic events leading up to his mother having to give him up. Eleven years old, with little education, he has to work to support himself and learns two trades. Things don’t always go smoothly and he soon finds himself with having to make a decision about his future. He emigrates to Canada; Moncton and Cocagne New Brunswick in particular. The story covers a decade of his life, the ups and downs, sorrow and love, family and friends. My idea is for this to be a series, told in ten-year increments.
Another project on the go is the third Drake Alexander Adventures. I have the first draft 75% completed. Alexander and his team of vigilantes are following a trail twenty years old. At a funeral for one of their comrades, an older gentleman pleads with them to find the men responsible for murdering his daughter so many years ago and never captured. Searching the globe for the Monteux brothers, they encounter Buddhist monks, human traffickers and shady men. It has an international intrigue with Alexander and his people following clues from Bordeaux, France; Ulan Bator, Mongolia and Switzerland. What makes their search more urgent, is someone is hunting them too.
The third project is the beginning of the next Jo Naylor series (first met in The Shattered Figurine). Running from the law, she ends up in Thailand where she uses her skills as a former detective to search for missing children. She sticks her nose in the wrong places. I’m not sure if she’ll recover from the danger she’s put herself in.
MR: What do you like to do when you are not writing?
I enjoy woodworking from my years as a carpenter. I’ve recently dug out my stain glass tools and am working on a project combining older refinished furniture and glass adornments. I enjoy spending time with my partner on our weekly dates. Snowboarding and snowshoeing in the winter, love watching movies, working on the Scribbler and I read books… a lot of books.