Today, this blog has the honour of having an interview with author James Hudson, writer of the Sentient Being is his brilliant YA fantasy novel. Recently, I contacted James and asked him the following questions, which he kindly answered:
Where do you come from and does this place appear in your story?
I come from Bradford. My hometown has a part in the first book. It seemed right to place the origins of the MC (main character) in my hometown as I know it intimately. We, as authors, do tend to put ourselves and experiences in our writing. (*Smiles wryly*.)
This blogger: Yeah, writing what you know best is always a good place to start. Good on you for choosing a place you care about so much.
What made you come up with the plot for The Sentient Being Chronicles? Was it a personal event, a book you read, or a film you watched? Or something else?
I have a very, over-active imagination and wanted to find a book that could engage me as a reader. As the old saying goes – “If you can’t find the book you want, write it.” This was so true for me.
Then, I watched the film John Carter. The plot was weak in some places, but I enjoyed it and, over-all, I thought it was well written. That night, I went to sleep and woke in the middle of the night with a burning thought in my mind. So, that was the point I decided to write my first book. My first draft was done in less than 8 hours. It just flowed out of me like water.
This blogger: 8 hours!? That is an astonishing feat! The first draft of my first book took me 9 months to write. (A woman could have had a baby in that time!)
Describe a typical writing day – what time do you usually start writing and how long for?
Haha, there is no typical writing day for me. I either get to write or I don’t. Time is a very precious commodity, so I squeeze my writing in wherever I can. The days I get to write, I will usually get started in the evening, maybe 7 or 8pm. I would aim to write for a couple of hours, but then I always end up losing track of time. Many times, I have found myself still writing in the early hours of the morning.
In two of my blog pieces, I discuss how to target your audience. Who is the target audience for your series, and why have you chosen that audience?
My target audience is young adults, both male and female. I have chosen this audience because they are usually old enough to grasp the concepts and messages written in the text alongside the main storyline. I don’t write flamboyantly; the use of over-exaggerated wording is not necessary. Indeed, in some cases, it restricts the flow of the story; especially, when the character in question is emitting emotion.
This blogger: On all fronts here, I think you are absolutely right and have chosen your target audience very cleverly.
Which character is least like you? And why?
Oh, well that’s easy – the protagonist, Brother Seth. He is vile, power hungry and sadistic. The very opposite of myself. I wrote him this way as those characteristics are what I consider to be the very worst displayed by the human race. A point and moral hiding in the text – be better.
Have any of the characters in The Sentient Being Chronicles been influenced by historical or fictional figures?
I believe so; at least, on the fictional sense. Thot (or Hermes as he is known and referred to in Greek mythology), the writer of the emerald tablets is a major influencer. Along with my deeply-routed Pagan beliefs, I try to bring a different look at life through a religious and non-religious perspective. Showing both views are correct and incorrect at the same time.
If you could give your younger self some advice about the writing process, what would it be?
Do it. Don’t worry about being liked, don’t worry if someone says it’s rubbish. You will not please everyone, so please yourself. Write what you want and how you want it to be. This is your voice, let it be heard through your writing.
This blogger: This is a very important message for all writers. Yet, I think it is particularly pertinent for your target audience. A lot of teenagers seem to feel anxious about needing to please people, to look a certain way, to be popular, do things that make others happy, etc… You should put this advice into either the acknowledgement or author’s notes sections of your book. Young adults can learn a lot from your words here.
What is the part about writing that has surprised you most?
I didn’t have a great upbringing. My parents were both very violent, my mother even more so. Writing, I found, has been great therapy. It sounds so simplistic, but writing it all down has helped me come to terms with what happened.
I am not saying share it with the world like I am doing through my series. But, yes, writing really is great therapy. It helps you process the bad in life and makes you a better person; one, who has the capacity to rise like the phoenix from the ashes – a rebirth of a greater you.
This blogger: That is poignant and powerful, James. I am sorry to hear about your upbringing as it does not sound pleasant. Yet, the way you have used your childhood to rise like a phoenix (in your own words) is inspiring. That you feel more fulfilled and virtually a new man because of your writing is testament to you as a person and your strength of character. You have good reason to be proud of yourself.
How has writing changed you?
At many points in my life I have grown tremendously, but writing has released an aspect of my mind previously unknown. To translate emotion to paper, to bring a tear to a reader’s eyes, to make them laugh out loud, or even to see the look of shock and horror on their faces as they read my work… Yeah, that changed me. That made me believe in myself.
Have your family and friends read Sentient Being (Volume I of The Sentient Being Chronicles)? What do they think of it and how do you feel when they talk about it with you?
I will be honest my lady, Michelle, is my biggest fan. She is super supportive, and her opinion is always spot on.
My siblings didn’t actually give feedback, no. They tried to rewrite it and tell me how it should be lol. Everyone’s a critic, right? (*roll of the eyes*.)
Some of my friends have bought the book; yet, they shy away from discussing it with me. At first, this made me think that my book wasn’t good enough. So, I went externally for my feedback and found that 80% of the feedback I received was very positive indeed. Therefore, my prognosis is that my book is good enough. Moreover, if anything is lacking in book one, I will rectify it in book two, Celestials.
This blogger: Your lady, Michelle, sounds like an amazing person – the very type we all would like to have as a partner. I am sorry that your siblings and friends have not been as supportive. That’s a shame for you, and I hope their reactions have not hurt you too much. In saying that, though, you seem to have a brilliant and level-headed mindset. Your future works, including your second book, will be all the better because of it.
What is your favourite (most inspiring) quote and how has that influenced you in your writing journey?
It has to be the one I mentioned earlier, “If you can’t find book you want, write it.” It just so very simple and honest. A true wake up call.
This blogger: I have got to hand it to you – it is a very inspiring quote. I am glad you came across this quote and acted on it, for yourself and for your audience.
What do you like to do when you are not writing?
Oh, that’s easy – Family time. I love nothing more than quality time with my Lady. Also, I enjoy spending time with my grandchildren. That’s a priority as well. Oh, and music; and I love music. I could just sit listening to music all day and do nothing else.
End of Interview
That brings our interview with author James Hudson to an end. I would like to thank him for his time, and to say that it has been a pleasure speaking with him. I wish him all the best in his future writings, his family, and other ventures.
You can purchase James’ thrilling YA fantasy novel, Sentient Being, on Amazon and I believe wholeheartedly that you will love it. Otherwise, like James on Facebook, follow him on Instagram, and check out his Goodreads page. This way, you will be able to keep up to date with him and know precisely when his next book, Celestials, comes out.
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