I’m chatting to Barbara Hudson today on the blog! Please have a read, she has so much knowledge to share!
Hi Barbara, tell me a bit about you and your latest work.
Grew up on a farm in Cornwall.Studied at Cambridge, trained in social work at Universities of Chicago and Newcastle.Was a psychiatric social worker and relationship counsellor before becoming asocial work lecturer first at the London School of Economics and then at Oxford University, where I am now an Emeritus Fellow of Green Templeton College.
Took to fiction after retiring.Completed University of East Anglia Certificate in Creative Writing. Began with short stories . First novel “Timed Out” is about an older woman seeking love online and a meaningful way to spend her retirement years. Published by Driven Press 2016 with a cover endorsement from Adam Foulds.
“Makeover”, my second novel, was published by Fantastic Books Publishing in March 2019. Part social comedy and romance and part deadly serious, it tells of a personal shopper with a history of disadvantage and abuse who seeks security and a rich professor grieving for his wife and seeking only companionship and a little sex. It tackles important current issues, in particular domestic violence and the barriers raised by class and educational difference..
Describe yourself in 3 words.
Persistent. Loquacious. Extroverted.
How would you Twitter pitch your novel?
A widowed self-absorbed professor and a divorced personal shopper with a history of abuse and disadvantage – a mismatch indeed. But hard lessons and new opportunities lie ahead.
What are your top 3 tips for aspiring writers?
1. Invest in a creative writing course and then join a writers’ group.2. Enter writing competitions. 3. Subscribe to a writing magazine e.g. Writing Magazine or Mslexia.
Are you a panster or plotter?
A bit of both. I like to write the ending from the off and fill in the middle later on.
What does success look like to you?
Lots of readers who have enjoyed my work. Nothing has made me happier than hearing from a reader who has been moved or cheered by what I have written.
How do you choose your character names?
Not a big issue. But I check for whether they “date” the people, sound too similar, are too posh or unusual, or are hard to pronounce..
Do you ever Google yourself?
Yes. And I fantasise about who else might be googling me.
What do you do when you get stuck with your writing?
Switch to another project – a short story, a piece of flash fiction, a letter to a friend.
How long does it take you to write a book?
A year to write. Longer to edit.
What’s your main weakness as a writer eg.SPaG, continuity etc?
Wanting to lecture the reader.
What do you find hardest/easiest about writing?
Hardest: Inventing a plot that works. Easiest: writing dialogue.
Describe your writing process in 3 words.
Fast, then slow.
If your book/one of your books got made into a film, who would play the main roles?
My hero is described as “an older version of Hugh Grant” – so Hugh Grant. Heroine: someone forty-ish with bedroom eyes and ample bosom.
What’s been your biggest learning curve?
What really happened does not always make good fiction.
Do you prefer pen and paper, or is everything on the computer?
Computer – I often can’t read my own handwriting.
Who’s your favourite author and why?
Elizabeth Strout. Brilliant depiction of characters and bags of empathy.
What’s your favourite book?
Sarah Winman’s “Tin Man.” (read it three times last year)
How do you relax?
And now for some silly questions just for fun…
Tea or coffee?
Don’t make me choose!
Beer or wine?
Chips or curly fries?
Puppies or kittens?
Summer or winter?
A farmer’s daughter from Cornwall, Barbara Lorna Hudson studied Russian and German at Newnham College, Cambridge, and trained in social work at the Universities of Chicago and Newcastle. She started out as a psychiatric social worker and couples’ therapist, and ended up as a social studies don. Now retired, she is an Emeritus Fellow of Green Templeton College, Oxford, where she spends a lot of time eating, talking and picking up ideas for stories.
Since retiring from teaching, she has reinvented herself as a fiction writer and has published thirty short stories and two novels. Timed Out (Driven Press, 2016),is about an older woman who tries internet dating. Makeover(Fantastic Books Publishing, 2019)tells of a divorcee with a history of abuse and disadvantage seeking security, and a self-absorbed rich widowed professor seeking sex and companionship.
Barbara Lorna Hudson is active in the Humanists, and she is a regular performer at a story-telling club and a frequent speaker at Women’s Institutes. She lives beside the Thames in Oxford. She is now in her eightieth year.
See, I told you she had a lot of knowledge to share! Thanks Barbara!
If you want to grab one of her books (of course you do!), you can do so here: