Friday, October 19, 2012

The Enchanting Marilyn A. Hudson

Today, I have a special TREAT!  It is a rare occasion in which I am able to introduce to you someone so richly diverse.  My special guest is an author, storyteller, historian, and scholar, as well as an educator, and Steampunk enthusiast.   Her work is abundant with captivating facts, mesmerizing charm, and hypnotic thrills.  She has brought you such chilling tales as The Bone Days of Summer, Tales of Hell's Half Acre, When Death Rode the Rails, and one of my personal favorites The Mound.  She is also the author of several blogs including Hudson Tells, Whorl Books, and Mystorical, all of which lend an excitingly eerie intrigue and brilliance.  I am extremely excited to interview the enchanting Marilyn A. Hudson.
Marilyn, thank you so much for agreeing to this interview.  I am both amazed and inspired by your talent and accomplishments.  You have such a fascinating list of achievements, half of which I didn’t even list.  What do you feel has been your greatest success in your career?
Finishing.  Like many writers, I did a lot of work early in life but never got around to finishing many projects. Some brilliant ideas lingered in a drawer or notebook. I had excellent excuses: children, work, and responsibilities. I continued to write in secret, for myself, and dream. Deciding to give birth to that dream and actually take the process to full term – that was my greatest success.  Everything else stems from that one achievement.
That truly is inspiring and I am so glad you did.  The books I listed are only a small selection in a lengthy list of both spooky and inspirational writings.  Do you have a project that is your absolute favorite, either for the finished product or the experience of its creation? 
The Mound.  It was such fun playing with plot, motifs and themes.  My co-author and I bounced creative ideas around like jugglers. We found that we creatively triggered each other.  We actually had a lot of fun as the story, the characters, and the energy combined.  The result was we created enough ideas that we have material for two more books from that first creative burst.
Oh my, I absolutely, cannot wait for those sequels!  As a historian you must find paranormal accounts riveting.  Which do you become most absorbed by, history or mystery? 
History sometimes is the most mysterious of all.  History by its nature is a one-sided view of a multi-dimensional experience.  It is like a box and we see just one side. 
There are always the forgotten people, events, and experiences that later generations tried to sweep under the carpet. Reading old newspapers this is clear. Communities tried to present themselves at their best. We ignored many people because we were ashamed of their primitive ways, their less than elegant manners, or their hardscrabble life.  We forgot the shady ladies, the shady dealings, the poor, the minorities, or the less than famous when we learned a history focused on role models.  Yet, those other elements often are what made it possible for those individuals to be remembered.  Is there a need for brave U.S. Marshalls when there is no lawless behavior? The mystery is finding the true story and remembering that there is no hero without struggle, danger or threat.
Well said and I absolutely agree.  I understand you are a native Oklahoma but enjoy travel.  With all your ghostly explorations, can you tell us what you consider to be the creepiest place you’ve ever visited?
While researching for The Mound the opportunity to go on a ‘ghost hunt’ arose. Since, a team of paranormal researchers feature in the novel it was perfect.   The team met at a deserted church in the eastern part of Oklahoma that had for years a reputation for haunting events.  One of the members of the team had recently purchased it to preserve it for research.  We arrived near midnight and spent the next few hours inside the church.   As a spooky looking low-lying mist rolled in, and lacy clouds covered the moon, we waited for the nocturnal manifestations to occur.  Some strange things occurred and I can tell you when they talk about those famous ‘cold spots’   – those are really cold!
Wow, how exciting!  That is truly chilling and once again you have proved to be a sensational storyteller!  As I mentioned above I understand you are quite the “Steampunk” connoisseur.  Can you explain what this craze is, (to those who may not be familiar), and why you find it so appealing?
Steampunk” is a term used to refer to an alternative fictional world of the imagination that combines Victorian era life with science fiction. The technology is more analog than digital: imagine Jules Verne and his submarine, H.G. Wells and his time machine or his island populated by scientific experimentation run wild.  Some of its symbols are Victorian era clothes, clockwork gears, goggles, and corsets worn outside the clothing. The corset is usually seen as a hidden restriction of female life but it gets turned on its head when worn outside the clothes and becomes a symbol of empowerment. An excellent introduction to modern steam punk literature is Boneshaker by Cherie Priest.
I love Halloween because it allows the imagination to run free with costumes and play. People need to play.  I think the reason people are drawn to alternative realities, be it at a novel, movie a Comic-Con, Steam Punk event or Star Trek Convention, are those imaginative aspects that allow us to pretend and the mind to play.
I highly believe in play and I will have to remember your suggestion to read Boneshaker.  I really hadn’t had the privilege of encountering a true storyteller before I met you.  Can you share what that experience is like and what types of presentations you put on?
Storytelling performers are classed as performance art and range from folksy tellers in bib overalls to concerts of stories on theater stages. A saying is that storytelling is an ancient art eternally new. Storytelling is used with people from childhood to senior life. Venues range from classroom, boardroom, hospital, pulpit, and library. I was once invited to share stories with a group of teens in a high security facility.  These were teens who had gotten in so much trouble they had to be locked in when we had the story session. I was thinking, “What have I gotten myself into?”  Tough and covered in tats, they shuffled in and the doors locked, and the session began. Soon, however, the stories began to weave their spell. They were wisdom tales from around the world that shared lessons without hitting people over the head.  They leaned in. They stared out the window or looked away.  Yet, they listened.  When it was over many were quick to say in a sincere manner they liked the stories.  Stories can teach truth, connect lives, and bring understanding. They can also entertain your socks off!
In recent years, I have been doing presentations based on folklore and legends as “The Ghost Teller.” Nearly every summer, I travel to libraries and other facilities doing storytelling to support and encourage summer reading.
What a wonderful opportunity to reach young people, I bet it was a highly rewarding experience.  Much like your work, I find you spellbinding, and am anxiously anticipating your next big release.  Do you have any new titles or performances coming up? 
I am preparing a trio of books featuring a very proper Victorian woman as a ‘steam punk sleuth’.  The Madame Delaine series of books will be of interest to any who enjoy mysteries and a good read; they will have a dash of unusual steam punk contraptions and a lot of fun. She is a charming character and has amazing adventures.  I am also finishing another novel with a co-author in Kansas about a serial killer and his intended victim.  Since that co-author works in the mental health field she will certainly add to the reality of that story.    Also, the sequel to The Mound is now underway as well and looks to be another thrill ride as the main character, the psychic Shade, tackles a whole new action packed situation.   
All of those sound like they need to be #1 on my “to read” list.  Is there anything you would like to add?  Any words of wisdom to bestow upon eager minds?
Never give up on your dreams – whatever they may be - and try to make the world a better place because of your dreams. 
Well said.  Thank you again Marilyn.  I look forward to hearing more about your upcoming projects and wish you continued success. 
For more information on Marilyn, her books and performances please feel free to follow her on Facebook,  Goodreads, Linkedin, Hudson Tells, Whorl Books, Mystorical, The Steampunk Empire, Hudson House, Raven Wing Promotions, Oklahoma Writers, and Hudson Author Blogspot.  Her books can also be found at   Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Books-a-Million

When a group of strangers converge on an old hotel in a sleepy eastern Oklahoma town to investigate its haunted reputation, no one is prepared for the terror they are about to face. Matt Wolf busies himself with the renovation of the abandoned Montford Arms Hotel in the small Eastern Oklahoma settlement of Corvus Mound, unaware of his ancient legacy and strange destiny. Dr. Karen Houston is perplexed by the incongruous find she discovers while excavating the ancient native mounds nearby. She does not yet know that it is inextricably linked to her strange and frightening dreams. Psychic Shade Hoffmeyer will need every reserve of insight and intuition to fathom meaning from the bizarre visions leading her to a terror that will challenge her spirit as much as her mind. These three must understand the forces that have drawn them together in order to fight back the ancient evil awakening within THE MOUND.

My Review:
5.0 out of 5 stars
Wonderfully Haunting!
The Mound is an exciting tale about the renovation of an old hotel, which holds many secrets. This haunting story draws you in to each dark corridor, as the spooky building literally comes alive. There were times during my read I found myself holding my breath, fearful of what might jump out around the next corner.

The Hudson’s' have a stimulating writing style, full of thrilling energy and cleverly spun history. Though there were times I found I needed a dictionary for a few of the words, this is only a reflection of my own limited education. This book is brilliantly constructed for those who love a fast paced, chilling story, with exhilarating action.

The Mound has it all, engaging characters, goose bumps, a battle scene and the satisfying sigh that comes at the end of a long journey. The high intensity of this story was impossible to walk away from and when the voyage was over, just like a few of the main characters, I felt changed somehow; victorious and extraordinarily invigorated.

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