In honor of our latest co-authored book release, Two-Faced: Legend of the Treesinger, I managed to talk the awesome and amazingly-talented eden Hudson into doing an interview with me! She is the author of the Redneck Apocalypse Series and the Jubal Van Zandt series, published by Shadow Alley Press. And aside from being an amazing author (and a stellar editor), she is seriously like the coolest person around, so stay a while and pick the writterly wisdom of nuggets directly from her brain! Wait … That’s … Whatever, I’m standing by it. Enjoy!
JAH: So, tell me a little about yourself and what you write.
eH: I live in a camper, sometimes traveling the US, sometimes hanging out in one place. I have the sense of humor of a thirteen-year-old boy, the tattoos of an overzealous religious fanatic, and the weird-amazing-hilarious husband and sons of a much more deserving woman.
What I write is urban and sci-fantasy. I like swords, guns, and magic, so I tend to write stories where I can play with all three. The inappropriate sense of humor usually weighs in pretty heavily on it, too, so if you don’t like dick jokes, then I’m probably not the author for you.
JAH: What inspired you to start writing?
eH: Growing up, I lived out in the middle of nowhere with nothing but gravel roads, woods, and pastureland in every direction. I didn’t really have much in the way of parental restrictions or supervision, so I spent all my time reading and wandering the area, making up quests and adventures based on the stories I’d read. Around about the time I turned eleven, I realized I could write this stuff down and have just as much fun—though it wasn’t until much later that I finally had the epiphany that if there were all these books in the world, there must be people who wrote for a living. I was just in it to entertain myself and my siblings.
JAH: Who were some of your own literary influences?
eH: In terms of sheer poundage, I’ve read more Stephen King, Robert Jordan, and Douglas Adams than anything else. But as a reader, you’re always going to have experiences with books that feel like they changed your life. For me, that was reading Once a Hero by Michael A. Stackpole. It was the first time I’d read a book where the main character had to make the impossibly awful choice to follow the law because it was the right thing to do. My childhood was kind of like one long lesson in how the law was made to be broken, but Stackpole wrote Once a Hero in such a way that I understood why the main character did what he did, and even though it hurt him—and by extension me, the reader—I was glad that he’d done it. It was painful, but it was also right. It changed my whole outlook on the world and right and wrong. In a genre where so many characters fight against the prevailing culture of their day and end up overthrowing it, Neal Roclawzi submitted to it, and in doing so, he became the figure that changed their world.
JAH: What do you like best about being a writer? What do you like the least?
eH: For me, stories are all about the characters. I like to write about characters you wouldn’t want to be friends with in real life, the kind of people everyone else turns up their nose at, who barely count as human to most folks. Jerks, cheaters, homeless, addicts, lunatics, sleazebags, cowards—you name it. I like to show readers the world through their eyes, make them someone you can’t ignore, someone you have to admit is just as human as you are. So if someone reads one of my stories and it changes the way they look at the people around them, that makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. That’s the best.
The worst thing about being a writer is the agony of the actual writing. Every word in every sentence feels crucial. It’s hard to step back and realize that it’s going to be okay if you accidentally use the same verb twice in one paragraph or if the metaphor you used here isn’t a heartbreaking work of staggering genius—it might even be okay to use a received idea or two now and then—because when a story really needs to be told, when it’s vital, and you pour your heart and soul and lungs and spinal fluid into it, the words and the sentences become more than their sum.
It’s definitely either that or having to force yourself to sit down and write on a sunny day when the whole outdoors is screaming your name. My wordcount plummets the second spring hits.
JAH: How do you think your life experiences have prepared you for writing?
eH: I pretty much grew up in a country song. To me, rednecks, criminals, and drunks weren’t the villains in after school specials, they were my family. I loved them, and a lot of them were my heroes. When I got old enough to realize that all of these labels had negative connotations and stereotypes, I kind of felt like it was my job to point out the situations where the stereotypes didn’t apply. The drunks who don’t abuse their kids, who’re just good parents with an addiction. The criminals who never meant for things to go this far, who just got too caught up in trying to get their family out of the trailer park. The rednecks who talk like society’s favorite stereotype of ignorance and bigotry but who would die defending somebody they don’t know from a hate crime because that person’s a child of God, too. There are so many nuances of personality in the world that writing characters who tick off all the easy boxes is just laziness. It robs the world of its ugly, beautiful, awesome individuality. So, I guess life put me on a crusade to bring that back.
JAH: Are you a plotter—do you outline your books before writing—or a pantser, discovering your story as you write it?
eH: For most of my writing life, I’ve been a pantser—which probably goes back to wandering through the woods playing make-believe as I went along. I like to create new worlds and impossible situations, then throw critically flawed characters into them and see what they do. Usually when I start writing, I don’t know much more than who my main character is and who I want them to be by the end of the story.
But over the last few months, I’ve gotten a taste of outlining. There’s something really neat and orderly about laying out a story beforehand. It’s like figuring out a sudoku or playing chess. Super satisfying left-brain fun times.
JAH: With so many different sci-fi and fantasy series out there, what makes your books stand out from the rest? Why should readers read?
eH: The poop jokes. The a-holes. The custom crotchrockets and jacked-up trucks and modded out mech armor. The nonhumans and nonplaces and heart-wrenchingly bad decisions that could’ve been avoided if only the characters were anybody else, anywhere else. And then the painful transformations into something new and beautiful.
But mostly the poop jokes.
JAH: If you had one piece of advice for new authors, what would it be?
eH: I went to an art school in Brooklyn for four years. Completely and totally unnecessary for becoming a writer. But while I was there, I did learn two key rules from an amazing writer named Joshua Furst whose teachings I’ll be forever grateful for. They are:
- Write what you know.
- Write what hurts.
Obviously, that doesn’t mean you should only write about yourself, but you can cut out unique pieces of yourself and your life and transplant those into your characters and their world. Wring your heart out onto the page. The more you do that, the more real and affecting your story will become. The narrative doesn’t have to be profound, and the execution can be terrible, but if you follow those two rules, you’ll end up with something that only you could have written, something that has a raw power behind it that readers will feel all the way down to their bones.
There’s actually a third rule, too: Don’t kill yourself. All pretty decent advice.
JAH: What can we look forward to from eden Hudson this year?
eH: Well, I have an urban fantasy collaboration with you, James Hunter, coming out soon that I’m crazy excited about, starring a Bigfoot princess who fans of the Yancy Lazarus novels might recognize. Winona’s a pretty big departure for me—not a terrible person—not a person at all, in fact—but I love her so much. She’s an ends-justify-the-means kinda gal, which can lead to its own painful life lessons. After that, barring the unforeseeable hand of fate, I might finish off the Jubal Van Zandt series. If there’s time left over, we’ll either meet a cyborg assassin, a dogfighting sleazebag, or a schizophrenic paladin working for our alien overlords. Honestly, there are so many stories I want to write that it’s hard to say what’s most likely to crop up next.
JAH: Where can readers find more about you and your books?
eH: Amazon, I guess.
Okay, fine, I’ll do the thing. Imagine me pointing every time I say “here.”
You can find out more about my books here, and you can find out more about me at www.WhiteTrashCappuccino.com. You can also sign up for my mailing list here if you’re just dying for emails about books.
Also, be sure to pick up Two-Face: Legend of the Treesinger, or read it for free on Kindle Unlimited!
Ancient Demons. A Terrible Curse. Only one woman can save the day … though she’s not really a woman at all.
Winona Treesinger is a Bigfoot—and no, she doesn’t just have large feet. She’s literally an eight-foot tall walking myth, and the last great princess of the People of the Forest.
All she and her people want is to dwell in the deep places of the forest, well away from mankind and the destruction they bring to the land and the world. But when Winona hears about a string of grisly murders in the nearby city of Missoula, she knows in her gut it’s the work of an ancient evil, driven away from their lands long ago.
Against the wishes of her Father, Chief Chankoowashtay, Winona must leave the forest and venture into the world of men, disguised as a frail human, in order to set the balance straight and stop the killings. And with the help of a handsome, slick-talking city detective named Chris Fuller, she might be able to do it. But if Chris finds out what she really is, stopping the creature might be the least of her worries.
From James Hunter (author of the Yancy Lazarus series and the litRPG epic Viridian Gate Online) and eden Hudson (author of the Redneck Apocalypse series) comes a gritty, action-packed urban fantasy adventure with a kick-ass heroine, a savvy street cop, and a twist that you won’t see coming!