C.J. Hudson is the author of the upcoming Fairhaven series, with the first book due out this year. I caught up with him for a few moments to discuss his writing life and his books.
What would you sacrifice for a chance to win back your first love?
Danielle and I were both ten when we fell in love as neighbors on Fairhaven Street. We spent three amazing years together. Despite my “ugly duckling” appearance, lack of confidence and a family with three generations of abuse, she loved me. Being with her exposed me to a life I never thought possible. All we wanted was to go on one date because we were not allowed to go on dates due to our age.
I was forced to move out of state to escape my father. On my last day with Danielle, I gave her a pendant necklace of half of a broken heart, and a promise that I would come back for her when I grew up. I kept the matching pendant.
For seven and a half years, until I was eighteen years old, I remained faithful to her. I never took my half of the pendant off, even after it rusted. All those years, she was the inspiration that guided me to become the man I am today. I broke the cycle of violence in my family so that she would never have to experience it.
All I ever wanted was that one date we were denied because of our age back then. Nearly eight years later, I was standing outside her front door, the promise kept. For years I was told what I was doing was crazy, that there was no way she would remember me, let alone still love me after so long. The only question was, who would be right?
What inspired you to write Destiny Lives on Fairhaven Street?
The initial inspiration came back in 1996 and returned in 2017 when my children were born. Back then, I’d been wracking my brain trying to figure out a special way to tell my first love, Danielle, that I’d devoted the last eight years of my life to her, hoping for one more chance to see her again. It had to be something different, something unique. The tour guide on a class trip to Paris suggested I write a novel, that it serve as “the grand gesture.” I also wanted to leave behind my story for my boys. The story of how I became the man I am today, how I met their mom, and how they came to be.
Have you always been a writer?
Most definitely. I wrote my first book when I was seven. It was “published” with glue and staples.
How many books will be in the series?
I’m thinking of at least five, but the great thing about memoirs is that you get new material every day in your life. It only stops when I’m in the ground.
Since this is a novel based on real-life events, what challenges did you face in portraying people you know?
Recalling memories that were 30+ years old as accurately as possible. Keeping the story entertaining while being truthful. The fact is I was depressed and struggling through most of these events, but I didn’t want the writing to be depressing. I am trying to sell a book, after all.
Coffee or tea?
Neither. Keeps me up. I’m a water kind of guy.
What does your writing process look like?
The nice thing about a memoir is that the book practically writes itself. I’ve found over the years that my best work comes when I’m feeling the emotion in the chapter. It just flows out of me. That means re-living every single part over and over, both good and traumatic. My wife would come into the office and see me in tears sometimes because I was re-living the event I was writing about. If I try to just sit there and write, the quality is horrible.
If you could spend the day with any writer, who would it be?
J.K. Rowling. I’ve always enjoyed her writing style and ability to convey emotion.
You can follow C.J.’s progress and get updates on his book by visiting his website.
Ashley O’Melia is an independent author and freelancer from Southern Illinois. She holds her Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing and English from Southern New Hampshire University. Her books include The Wanderer’s Guide to Dragon Keepingand The Graveside Detective. Her short stories have been published in The Penmen Review, Siren’s Call, and Subcutaneous. Ashley’s freelance work has spanned numerous genres for clients around the world. You can find her on Facebook and Amazon.
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