April 2015

Interview with Neil James Hudson

1. Can you tell us a little what your story, "A Rock In the Air," is about?

My story is about a man who is thrown forward in time by the atomic explosion at Hiroshima at the end of the war.

2. How did you come up with the idea?

I was thinking about how history is something we seem to create accidentally rather than deliberately. We just try to get on with our lives, working to fulfil our own needs and desires, and not giving any thought to what the future will think of us. Then we look back on the past, and turn it all into a story - maybe as a kind of foundation myth, maybe as a moral lesson, or maybe just for entertainment. I wondered how we'd live our lives if we were deliberately trying to create those stories.

And Hiroshima was the epitome of a historical event. It's always seemed to me to be the centre of history, the fixed point that everything else revolves around. We should have reset the calendar and dated everything as BH and AH.

3. What is your inspiration for writing as a whole?

I decided from an early age that the world inside my head was always going to be more interesting than reality. Writing was a way of making it real.

4. Could you tell us a bit about yourself?

I've lived in the UK for my whole life, having a completely normal upbringing in Reading, then spending ten years in Norwich, and finally getting washed up in an isolated part of the Yorkshire moors. I work in York, where I'm manager of a charity shop.

There are two things I've been doing for pretty much the whole of my life: writing, and telling people that my first novel will be published very soon. I've now sold about 30 stories, and my first novel will be published very soon.

5. Where can listeners find more of your work?

The simplest way would be to buy my collection, The End of the World: A User's Guide, which you can order from my website at www.neiljameshudson.net, where you can also find a full list. The stories were originally published in zines such as On The Premises, Electric Spec, Fusion Fragment, and, of course, two previous Third Flatiron anthologies.

6. Any new work we should keep an eye out for?

My story "Curse Marks" was recently published in Circlet Press's anthology of erotic sf detective stories "Like A Mystery Uncovered". Upcoming stories include "The Voice Harvester" in the next issue of The First Line, and "Strain Your Brain" in an upcoming 4 Star Stories.

7. You've now appeared in several Third Flatiron anthologies. Any advice for aspiring authors?

I think it's something you have to find your own way through: what works for one person might be useless for someone else. I think the best I can suggest is to develop the thickest skin you possibly can. I've had 176 rejections, and I'm hoping it will be 200 by the end of the year.

8. (And just for Juli's curiosity: What are you reading or watching now?)

I'm reading The Diaries of Jane Somers by Doris Lessing, originally two pseudonymous novels, although she has such an individual style that it's surprising nobody guessed the author at the time. As for watching, I'm halfway through "The War Games", Patrick Troughton's final Doctor Who serial. When I was a kid I used to record the programme by holding my tape recorder against the television loudspeaker: I'm still astonished that nowadays I can cheaply buy a disc of every surviving second. And this story is particularly meaningful to me, as I was born during its first broadcast.

Editor's Note: If you enjoyed this story, you might be interested in reading the whole anthology, "The Time It Happened," with many more great stories. It's available on Amazon and Smashwords.

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