Tuesday, February 19, 2013

HEIDI'S PICK SIX: Paul Cude

HEIDI'S PICK SIX



 
1. Which of your characters is your favorite?
The main character in my book Bentwhistle the Dragon in A Threat from the Past is Peter Bentwhistle. He is in part based on myself, despite the fact that he's a dragon. More than a little reluctant and carefree, he cares deeply for his friends and always tries to do the right thing in any circumstance. He is slightly naive, maybe because of his dragon nature and the fact that only a few years have passed since he completed his education in the nursery ring, which is a trait that I find endearing in him, but which has a tendency to endanger those around him. We share a love of team sports, in particular hockey, appreciating its ability to help people bond with others, the sheer thrill of helping and/or being helped by a team mate and the fast paced action that you find yourself caught up in. When the moment catches up with him, he overcomes his fear and steps up in a manner that I could only dream of matching.

In the sequel which I'm currently writing, a new character, Flash, another dragon (to start with, anyway) comes close to taking the title of my favourite character.


2. Tell me about your travels.
3. Coffee, tea, or milk?

4. What else can you do besides write?
About the time my eldest child was born in 2002, I was made redundant from my job as a service engineer. I jumped at the chance to become a full time house husband and dad, and think that I have done a pretty good job. Despite some of the down times....and there are a few, I consider myself very lucky and privileged to have been able to take care of both my kids and help with their education and moral upbringing. They are both a credit to both myself and their mother. 

At present, I work at a school as a teaching assistant and have done for over two years now. I seem to have an affinity for working with young children and helping to get the best out of them. At the end of 2012 I left the school I was working at to take up the opportunity of a different position at a new school. It broke my heart to leave the old school, and the reaction of the children when I left was amazing to see, and meant so much. To think that you might have contributed just a little to a child's education is so rewarding in itself, but when they express just how sad they are to see you leave, it brings home exactly how much of a part you might have played in their all round development. Although sad to leave the old school, the new job and school is all that I dreamed it would be. The staff and kids alike are great, and the school itself sits in the most picturesque of country villages.

5. Who are you reading right now?
6. Pop culture or academia?
7. What is the toughest scene you ever wrote?

8. Where do you find your inspirations to write?
Sounds a little odd I know, but hardly a day goes by that I don't dream about some part of one of the stories in my books. It may just be a tiny part but in intricate detail, or it may be a whole scene or a couple of chapters. Sometimes as soon as I wake in the morning, I can totally recall what it is I've dreamt about and can hold that in my head until I get a chance to write it down. Other times it may not come to me until much later on in the day. Often I find myself busy towards late afternoon/early evening, when.....'BAM!'.....like a thunderbolt from nowhere the dream from the previous night just pops into my head. Sometimes I feel like it's a curse, but my wife keeps telling me it's amazing. As I started writing my second book, there was something in my first book that I had to get round. 

Something that was crucial to the plot that couldn't happen, but had to happen for the story to move forward. I was really, really stuck and thought about this one 'event' for nearly two weeks. Then I went to bed one night, and my last waking thought was of the problems I faced in explaining the that part of the plot away. Like a comedy moment from a film, as soon as I woke up the next morning, I sat straight up in bed and declared, "I've got it". I'd dreamed about my problem in the night, and what I hadn't figured out in over two weeks had easily been solved in my dreams. Moreover, the answer itself had been so easy and obvious, that I actually felt a little silly for not working it out earlier. That particular 'event' is absolutely crucial to the whole storyline in every part of the Bentwhistle books. Weird or amazing.........who knows?

9. Food you could eat every day.

10. Are you into sports or other physical activities?
I enjoy most sports, particularly team ones, but have played field hockey for many decades (not sure I want to say how many). Although I still play, I'm at the point where I'm picking up a lot of small injuries on a consistent basis. Whether due to my age, the fact that I've played so long and have already damaged/worn out different parts of my body...who knows? But I find it harder and harder to take to the pitch and take part. Up until last November, I'd got to the point where I think I was playing some of the best hockey I'd played in a very long time, and I was certainly doing more running around than I'd done in a decade. But lo and behold I go and pick up an Achilles injury that has since prevented me from playing in a match. I still help coach my children every Sunday, and have helped coach hockey at my new school, but this injury seems to be one of the worst, if not the worst that I've ever had.......and I've had a few. Outside of spending time with my wife and children, If I had to choose only one thing to do.....it would be hockey! I truly believe it was why I was put here and I know my life would be totally different (and for the worse if I'd not found it. Anyone reading this who hasn't tried it..........you really should. It's the best thing in the whole world.

11. What kind of music speaks to you?

12. Do you outline your stories or do they just take you along for the ride?
I have a rough outline of the whole story...... the bigger picture, broken down into the key events of the different books. So I'll know the key events and the order in which they'll come in each book. But I do tend to start off a chapter, knowing that I have to either get to that key event from some particular point, or knowing that I have to include that key event in there, and then I just see what happens. Sometimes........the writing just seems to take over. I remember I had the house to myself, and it was actually quiet....something of a rarity. I sat down to try and write my 1000 words a day (something I aim for...but don't always achieve). Anyhow, I started writing and before I knew it (if you'd have asked me at the time, I'd have said I'd been writing for less than an hour), I'd written over 5000 words, and nearly three hours had elapsed. Wow...how did that happen? While that's the most I've written like that, those little moments keep happening every now and then, and it's always fascinating to see what it is that appears when you get swept along on the tide of words. Most of the time it goes off at a tangent, combining things from my real life, with things in the fiction of my story. At first I thought this a little odd, and would not fit in with the story at all, but as I've previously stated, the main character, Peter Bentwhistle, although a dragon, when in his human form is based loosely around me, and so I figure if it's something on my mind, it isn't too far-fetched to think that it would be something on his mind. So to answer the question.......BOTH! Planned out, and whisked along, although not all at once.

13. Celebrity crush.

14. Who are the biggest influences on your work?
I remember at school hating reading. The books were just so.......dull! I tried, I really did, but absolutely nothing captured my imagination.....well, not at school anyway. Star Wars had captivated me outside of school, so I had a collection of comic books, but as for just normal books......not so much. After I'd left school, and had started full time employment, I remember having to work in a bookshop. As I walked through it to go out to my car, I recall seeing a book, not just any book....but a Star Wars book. I continued my work until I finished, and then on the way out, bought the book. It was the start of the expanded Star Wars universe and I devoured it all in one go. My reading habits haven't been the same since. Shortly after that, I joined a book club, you know the ones......buy five books really cheaply and then have to buy another ten at full retail before you can cancel your membership. Anyhow, they sent me a very thick hardback copy of a Tom Clancy book. I was, of course, being in my late teens, way too lazy to send it back. So I kept it by my bed, and bored one night, opened said book, and yes you've guessed it, read it all the way through in about three sittings.......fantastic! So as you can see........anything Star Wars, particularly the expanded universe, I can't get enough of. The characters in Tom Clancy's books are so descriptive and captivating that I really feel immersed in the story. Other authors whose books I love reading include Terry Goodkind, Trudi Canavan, David Gemmell, Dan Brown and J.K.Rowling. The Harry Potter books I think are just amazing; the imagination with which they've been created is just awesome. If you look at the first book and compare it with the last one, the difference is just huge...in almost every respect, but like the books, you feel you've been on a journey of transformation.....with the characters, the school, the magic the kids learn, the creatures...everything. What's not to love? While I think the Harry Potter films have done a good job of capturing the essence of the books.....give me the book every time and I would happily read it through in one go if at all possible.

But despite all of this, there is one author, for me, that stands above all others and who I would aspire to be like if at all possible. His name is Terry Pratchett and he is responsible for amongst others the disc world series of books. They are fantastic....I've not found a single one that I didn't like. The writing in them flows along so easily that you get swept away in the storyline and lose all track of time. The books for me though, stand out for two reasons in particular. One: you can picture everything in your head as if you were watching a film. Honestly...it's so easy. The characters, the world in which they're set, the creatures, the magic, the conversations.....all of it. Two: the humour. I've read books that have made me cry......although hard to write, I almost think this is easier than making someone laugh. I don't mean just chuckle. I mean crying with laughter. I can think of at least four Terry Pratchett books that at some point make me cry with laughter. Even just thinking about the parts in the books as I write this are making me laugh. If I had to recommend one of his books, and yes, it's one of the ones that make me cry with laughter, then you have to read the 'The Fifth Elephant'. 

These are all my writing influences, but there's one other that I HAVE to mention. My wife......Rachel Cude. Without her, my book would never have come to fruition. Not just because she's put up with me asking stupid dragon questions at every time of the day and night, and not just because she's put up with me typing away on my keyboard either early in the morning, or stupidly late at night. Not just because she read my book dozens of times and has proven to be one of the best proof readers and editors about....not just with my book, but others as well. No...because of the support and encouragement she's showered me with during the whole writing process. I'm a very lucky man.

15. Do you still watch cartoons?

Paul Cude is a dedicated husband and father to two children. When not looking after his gorgeous kids he's a teaching assistant, as well as a budding author. He loves playing hockey, watching and having a go at any sport (particularly team sports), reading and writing his books, and having wonderful days out with his beautiful wife and kids.

DESCRIPTION for Bentwhistle the Dragon in A Threat from the Past:

An adventure story children and adults alike will love, about the present day world in which dragons disguised as humans have infiltrated the human race at almost every level, to guide and protect them. Three young dragons in their human guises become caught up in an evil plot to steal a precious commodity, vital to the dragon community. How will the reluctant hero and his friends fare against an enemy of his race from far in the past?

Fascinating insights into the dragon world are interspersed throughout the book. Ever wondered how dragons travel below ground at almost the speed of sound? Or how they use magical mantras to transform their giant bodies into convincing human shapes?

In an action packed adventure that features both human and dragon team sports, you’ll get a dragon-like perspective on human social issues and insight into what to do if you meet a giant spider grinning at you when you’re wearing nothing but your smile! You’d be flamin’ mad to miss it.

 Paperback - http://www.amazon.co.uk/Bentwhistle-Dragon-Threat-Past-Paul/dp/0755206789/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1360420216&sr=1-1


Kindle - http://www.amazon.co.uk/Bentwhistle-Dragon-Threat-Past-ebook/dp/B006CQUIQC/ref=sr_1_1_bnp_1_kin?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1360420216&sr=1-1

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for picking six, Paul, and sharing your love of dragons with us!

    :) Heidi

    ReplyDelete