Vintage Treasures

Escape to the Past

This evening in the Library we have Barbara Lorna Hudson who has dropped in to say hello and to share some insights into her life as an author.

You are very welcome, Barbara, please introduce yourself:

Barbara-333-Edit-Print (2)I grew up on a farm in Cornwall, studied languages at Cambridge, became a social worker and have somehow ended up as an Oxford don. I have reinvented myself as a fiction writer in my 70s.

Did you read much as a child? Are you an avid reader now? Do you prefer books in your own genre or are you happy to explore others?

Yes, as a child  I read whatever I could lay hands on – the half-dozen books on my grandfather’s shelf, all by Dickens, the sparse contents of the school library, and the occasional gift  – I can remember them still.  As well as set books for exams. our English teacher forced us to read Sir Walter Scott and Jane Austen, and I hated them both equally. And I used to devour my mother’s women’s magazines. As an adult I continued to enjoy the classics (with a little more discrimination), and modern literary fiction such as Julian Barnes, Adam Foulds, Colm Toibin, John Williams, Elizabeth Strout.

Are you self-published or traditionally published?

My academic and text book stuff was traditionally published – very traditionally indeed. I can actually remember being given posh lunches by my publisher and being asked to write a book for them. Hard to believe!

As a new fiction writer, I self-published one edited collection of short stories, and sorted out another for ebook publication. I found the techie stuff hard and the marketing equally so.

Now my first novel is being traditionally published (ebook and paperbook print on demand) and it is such a help to have the publisher doing the publishing as well a lot of the marketing. – though with their support I am finding it easier to do my share.

Which genre do you write in and why?

I’ve written quite a range of short stories – romance, ghost, memoirish, spoof crime, dark humour. I love writing jokey flash fiction. My forthcoming novel is being marketed as literary/women’s and I think ‘literary’ covers most of my reading. I hadn’t even thought about genre till very recently, when I saw that it was important to classify books. I try to write what I’d want to read.

Who has been the biggest influence on your writing?

The modern writers mentioned above. I think all of them write lovely, rich but economical prose and tell of believable, complicated characters.

Has your country of origin/culture influenced your writing ?

No, I don’t think so, or not that I’m aware of. But I do like to bring my characters to places that have meant a great deal to me.

What part of the writing process do you find most difficult? How do you overcome it?

Plotting. I go round for days asking myself ‘What if?’ and ‘How come?’ and ‘How can we get from A to B?’

Do you have a favourite time of day to write?

Whenever I’m not hungry.

What is the best thing about being an author?

I love it when people say they’ve enjoyed my work.

And the flipside – what is the worst?

Promotion and selling. I suppose most writers feel the same? And I must say it is less painful than I first thought, because instead of getting the expected sneers and brush-offs, I find people do understand that self-promotion is necessary these days and they are kind and polite.

Is social media an essential chore or something you enjoy?

I began reluctantly, because I knew it was important.  Now I love it

Which forum do you prefer?

I like Facebook best, not so much for promotion purposes or platform-building, but because I love finding out about other people’s lives and linking up with so many interesting people.

If you weren’t an author, what would you be up to?

I’m retired, and I had planned be more active in the various societies I belong to. I’d do a lot more of that if it wasn’t for the writing.

It’s the last day and the earth is facing oblivion – what book would you read?

I’d like to go out re-reading poems I loved as a student – Goethe or Pushkin. Or maybe something a little lighter and more recent, such as Wendy Cope.

Please tell us about your latest published work.

cover TOMy first novel is Timed Out (Driven Press, published 4th April 2016.)  It is about a sixtyish woman who seeks a meaningful way to spend her retirement years. it is set in Cambridge. She decides to look for a partner via Internet dating. It is part humorous and part deeply serious.

Timed Out on Amazon

If you would like to know more about Barbara, check out the links below:

Website       Twitter

 

 

 

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