Monday interview with John Hudspith

Monday interview with John Hudspith.

Am I unique? Don’t think so…

Am I unique? Don’t think so…. Outlining, planning, checking, recording, reordering, editing, transcribing, checking, editing, beta reading, editing, checking, editing again . . . each writer has his own ideas on how to get that story into readable and reliable shape. Here, eloquent wordsmith Prue Batten reveals her meticulously reliable process of creation:

The Pleasure of Writing

Six months ago Jessica Smith got in touch. She was looking for an editor, could I take a look at Godcorp her debut novel.

After reading the opening chapters I had one word for Jessica: Wow! cover27

Godcorp was an editor’s dream. This was a natural storyteller, and the story she had to tell was unique, fresh and the writing of the kind that scrabbles at you from the page and devours your time in no time. A page-turner. It is rare that I would recommend any writer to approach a film studio, but I could easily see Godcorp on the big screen, no doubt about that. Send the big players a copy of this, I said, with a note on it saying `Make me an offer`.

Watch this space, because Godcorp is a creation of genius, an imaginative supernatural chiller that bounces along with its tongue in its cheek as it sucks you into its marvellously meaty maw. Working on Godcorp turned out to be a creative blast as we honed the elements, stretched the imaginative, polished the drive along the twists and turns of a plot unpredictable to its end.

A week after completion Jessica sent me the start of Godcorp II and I was wowed once again. Rarely does a sequel better its predecessor, but here the tack was changed and the emotionally-packed result was so good, so real, it literally was storytelling Heaven and editing bliss.

Yesterday we signed off Godcorp II. An hour later, Jessica sent me this:

`– a testimonial.

Johnny and I have just signed off my second novel and I have to say I couldn’t be happier. Johnny is an incredible editor. He polishes, he chisels, he sculpts along with you, until you are left with a stronger, healthier, much more vibrant version of your original vision. I can’t thank him enough.

Working with Johnny on both Godcorp I and II has been a tremendous experience. He gets it. He lives it with you. His suggested additions are always flawless. They integrate with your style with seamless fluidity. Your characters speak through his words in the same way they’d speak in your head. That’s an incredible talent, I feel, and one that’s been so very useful throughout this project.

His eyes are hawk-like, picking up any bits of fluff collecting in the corners, and testing every single word for substance. His ideas are wonderful. I’ve also been lucky enough to receive some gems from his very own muse, and wow, were they sparkly!

I could rave for hours about how wonderful his talents are, as many others have done before me, but there are two other things in particular I’d like to mention:

1. The enjoyment factor. Working with Johnny is great fun. The sight of an email in my inbox with freshly edited chapters provokes a massive rush of excitement. It’s a great experience. It’s enlightening, it’s challenging, it’s all-round goddamn BRILLIANT! You will feel that too, working with him is a real buzz.

2. The learning experience. Johnny is so knowledgeable of the writing craft, and his advice so sound, that you cannot help but learn from him. Two books in and I see things in my writing that I’ve learnt as a direct result of his input. Recently I read through one of my old short stories. I tore the thing apart in seconds. This was solely down to Johnny. I’ve matured as a writer, I’ve learnt from his edits, I’ve raised my game as a result of his meticulous approach. It’s made me a much better author, undeniably. I saw the story with fresh eyes, immediately picking out weak spots, potential improvements, overwriting and general fluff – it was an undeniable moment of realisation that working with Johnny has improved my craft beyond recognition.

He will improve yours too. You won’t regret it. Not for one single second.`

Jessica Smith

Author of the Godcorp series.


The smile was still on my face when the outline for Godcorp III dropped in my inbox.

Three hours and ten emails later and the outline’s basic shape was settled upon; a skeleton waiting for its flesh. And I’ll get to help dress that skeleton, pick the lint from its finery, make it shine.

Thank you, Jessica and Godcorp.

That is the pleasure of writing.

A Writing Masterclass Success

Shani knew there was something not quite right with her opening chapters but didn’t know what.

She asked if I could put my finger on it.

So I did.

After identifying the problem areas, we did a masterclass, shaping and honing those skewed elements and ensuring a good understanding was achieved.

My enormously apt pupil Shani Struthers had this to say: apple

`John was fabulous to deal with, he’s direct but he’s funny with it and very encouraging. I thought I knew loads by the time I came to novel number three, but I made mistakes and John showed me how to fix them… from this point onwards, I hope! John’s also very quick, which, as an impatient soul, I really appreciated. So, if you’re stuck on a WIP, if you need guidance, if you just don’t know who to turn to next – I’ve got one word for you – John! He really does have great analytic instinct for what works and what doesn’t, and certainly knows how to explain his findings in the simplest of ways.`

Read Shani’s full review on her blog:

Thank you, Shani. It was a pleasure.

More details on the masterclass process coming soon.

Writer’s Dreams – Writer’s Nightmares

I dream some weird stuff, some of which has been used in my writing over the years. A couple of months ago, for example, I dreamed of a trapdoor where beneath lay waiting evil. In the dream the image looked the trapdoor in Evil Dead with the scary demon cackling from it. But here was no demon, only a curse in the guise of a promise. I could not see it but I could hear it – the charlatan voice. The dream gave me ideas, now incorporated in my WIP.evil


Last week, this dream was short, a few seconds, a snapshot, of my hands holding open a client’s book (currently WIP). On the page a secret message was revealed, its potential for viral enormous. I told my client next morning. Watch this space.


But last night the dream was particularly scary; I was writing a new book with an infamous co-author: Peter Sutcliffe AKA the Yorkshire Ripper. He was fat, wrinkled, his eyes black and empty. Recalling the dream ran me cold.


Perhaps I should attempt channelling, I thought later, but then wasn’t Sutcliffe mates with Jimmy Saville? Last thing I want is a Saville-based nightmare. Do you have writerly dreams?

Paranormal fantasy at its best – Kindle Countdown – 99p for one week only…

Download Kimi’s Secret for 99p – one week only!



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Here’s the linky things:


Kimi’s Secret:

Kimi’s Fear:

A Testimonial…

“I wrote a book. Many of my friends and members of my family had read it and some had offered constructive advice. I uploaded it to peer review websites and gained more from the thoughts of other writers. I edited and re-edited, then wrote a little more. I was too close to my words however, and knew I needed a ruthless and commercial eye to turn my work into the best book it could be.

I approached Johnny in some trepidation, knowing the respect in which my peers hold him as an editor of fiction, and aware he did not pull his punches. With my anxiety, I handed him a dilemma, because I was seeking his help not with a work of fiction, but a memoir. I complicated this further by making the subject of the book, my daughter, who died nearly eleven years ago at the age of five.

Johnny was frank in his misgivings about working with me. Considering the subject matter, he wondered aloud whether I was robust enough to bear tough editing should the manuscript need it. He gently pointed out that if a criticism upset me he would be mortified, but that his critical eye would be assessing the pull of my story like any other on which he worked. Was I happy to proceed on this basis? I gulped, and agreed.

With provisos and caveats in place, Johnny began by explaining how he worked. I recommend that all writers in whatever stage of editing read his insightful (and funny) thoughts about the various reader irritations (distorters) that an edit should pick up. Holding files? I’d never heard of them, but when Johnny explained their existence, it changed the way I perceived my writing. I sent him the first three chapters of my memoir. He preceded his comments with his thoughts about the editing role, and I could not put these into better words than Johnny’s own.

I see your work as one would view any art form; be that a painting, sculpture, play or film, and as your editor I am here to help refine that form and make it the best that it can be. With the finest chisel we will nick away the bumps and jars, with a deft brush we will smoothen the flow, with a director’s hat we will arrange the production to maximise impact and effect, and so the finished product will entrance those that open the pages to read’.

Johnny said he needed me to agree with at least most of the changes he suggested if we were to work together successfully on the rest of the book. I agreed with them all. He was honest, saying my opening chapter was ‘bland and boring’, but he explained why. He was right, and I saw what I needed to do.

Over the next few months, he edited three chapter sections at a time. I had the most work to do with the earlier parts but after a while, I understood more of his vision and I edited ahead, anticipating his comments. He wrote about what worked well, which boosted my confidence and helped me to trust him when he showed me where the writing was weaker. I am now as convinced as modesty allows that my writing is better at the end of the editing process, and that this is entirely due to Johnny’s deft tutelage and patience.

Before we began, Johnny painted himself as a tough and primarily commercial being. Perhaps I’m ruining his image even to hint that our work together proved that while never losing sight of what makes a reader keep reading, he is far from lacking in emotion. Thank you, Johnny, it’s been a privilege. I’m looking forward to the next book.”


Geves Lafosse author of Watching Petals Fall DSC_1143




More Testimonials:

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Just Writing

Just Writing

sat all afluff a plump chump on his horse
grinning aloof for the writing of course
nets filled, gathered at speed
delighted with the merrytoed easeI thank you!
but the rain came thicker than who would know
hidden beasts bicker outside and in
scrumple it, fill the bin
eject erase reject you are
hammers down knives slash truth hurts bah
get moving and shaking and keeping ajar
the forests clear, seas ebb, grains be seen
bingo sings atop the toil
and dawn floods the truth does hurt for some
not merry not sherry not lingo savvy
truth claims
truth wins
just writing

Need a Book Trailer? I know a man who can…

So impressed was I with the creative manoeuvres behind the trailers for my Kimi books, I asked the man himself to tell us a bit about himself and how he managed to do such a great job.

Ladies, gentlemen and chilblains, give it up for the music man himself Mr Olly Martin…


When bestselling author John Hudspith asked me to write something for his “Kimi” blog, I grabbed my keyboard in excitement, then my dyslexia gremlin pointed out “You’ve already written Kimi’s theme scores, he means words, paper, pens, text and typing you idiot!” Damn it. I thought I’d done a deal with God about that hideous subject. You can’t be into everything and I’ve always been into music.  

I grew up in one of those households where the grown ups stood around a piano singing and getting merry. I remember at the age of four, wondering how a violin created such a beautiful sound. My dad told me it was horsehair and that intrigued me even more! I pestered my mum to buy me one, a violin that is, not a horse and (would you believe) my godfather happened to work in a classical instrument factory so instead of a plastic toy, four year-old me was given a £2,000 professional violin. Mum decided she had obviously given birth to a 21st century Mozart and ordered me to have lessons. No pressure! My other favourite toy was the huge Steinway in the hall. It seemed only natural to have piano lessons too.

But it didn’t stop there. At the age of ten, the music teacher at school proudly unveiled a shiny new drum kit. Everyone took turns to bash away, as kids do, and when I had my go out popped a 4/4 drum rhythm complete with a fill-in. Everyone looked surprised, including me. Mr Harper came rushing over and said “Good God, Oliver, how long have you been playing the drums you dark horse?” I replied “About a minute, Sir.”

Now studying 3 instruments, I became a member of the East Berkshire Youth Orchestra. At 16 I won the prestigious Arthur Catterall Cup Award for most promising young Violinist, reached grade 8 on the piano and was session drummer for several bands. By the time I reached my twenties I started to mix a classical obsession with the digital world. I ended up sleeping in a room full of keyboards, computers, monitors and mixing desks. Something had to give and it did. I released a dance record that sold enough copies to fund and build a recording studio – my dream come true – and I’ve been rattling around in it ever since.

I have written music extensively for TV, film and multimedia productions over the years, creating scores for anything from mobile phones to big charity ads, computer games to films, all of which broadcast worldwide. To write frame accurately, i.e. put music to images, the necessary ingredients are my Apple Mac book computer, a keyboard and editing software called Logic Pro. Job done! The process for creating a book trailer is virtually the same.

When I read Kimi’s Secret I was inspired. I wanted to add a new dimension and bring her to life musically. The childlike sound of the glockenspiel started to haunt me, it seemed to capture Kimi’s innocence. Then the sound of cheeky children taunting ‘na-nana-naa-nah’ popped into my head. I grabbed hold of the idea and ran to my keyboard before I would forget and that’s when the real fun began.

I wanted to create a cinematic epic feel, a soulful cello sound, mystical but with a modern funky twist to keep you with Kimi on her journey. I started working on that ‘simple’ idea until it grew into something much more complex and profound. The glockenspiel ‘na-nana-naa-nah’ evolved into a catchy hook, one that I knew would stick in people’s minds, instantly recognisable after just one listen. Kimi’s soundtrack was created.

The soundtrack for Kimi’s Fear was even more challenging. The storyline demanded it be menacing and darker with driving tension and a ‘Close Encounters’ feel to bring the greylians to life. It needed to be exactly the same yet somehow completely different and nothing like the twinkly childlike almost nursery rhyme feel of Kimi’s Secret.

How did I do it? By understanding the rudiments of music and knowing how orchestral instruments work their magic to create feelings and moods. Keeping the same notation, thereby retaining the original Kimi’s Secret score but using contrasting instruments Kimi’s Fear was born. Finally, a “Kimi” theme was alive… and singing!




You can hear and see examples of my work at:-

 Olly OM banner

Olly MBT banner






Kimi’s Secret trailer:

Kimi’s Fear trailer: