The Norman Transcript

November 25, 2011

Haunted writings

By Levi Lee
The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — The new paranormal suspense novel, “The Mound,” from authors Marilyn A. Hudson and Cullan Hudson has been a long, collaborative, evolving process from the very beginning.

“The Mound” tells the story of a group of individuals from different walks of life converging upon a haunted hotel in eastern Oklahoma and what happens when ancient evil awakens and doesn’t like the group meddling in its affairs.

Author Marilyn Hudson will be on hand at the Full Circle Bookstore in Oklahoma City at 3 p.m. Dec. 17 to promote and sign copies of her new book and talk about some of her other work as well.

norman etc. caught up with Hudson this week to talk to her about her newly released project and what it was like writing a book over several years with her co-author Cullan Hudson.

When asked about the genesis of the project, Hudson made no bones about the length of time and effort spent by her and her co-author in the completion of their yarn.

“It was very interesting. Very extended. The process actually started about seven years ago. My co-author and myself were both lamenting the fact that we were having a little difficulty at that point,” Hudson said. “He was having difficulty ending stories and I was having difficulty beginning them! So we thought well why don’t we put our heads together and play around with it and see what happens. So we had some fun learning how to outline and sketch out the bones of the story and then the people of the story just kind of came up and grabbed us, and began pulling us into it.”

They knew from the very beginning that they wanted to do something mysterious and in setting and gradually worked their way towards genre fiction.

“Some people have called it a paranormal suspense, some people have called it a horror, we just like to call it a really good story,” Hudson said. “We basically kind of played around with some of the motifs that would be popular among anybody whose done any kind of legendary, mysterious studies about Oklahoma. We picked the hotel because of all the stories that have come from the Skirvin and all of the wonderful hotels that are located around the state.

“I’ve always had an interest in mysteries and more evocative kinds of stories and with the decision to play around with the story we just kind of thought ‘Well it would be fun to play with it.’ And kind of see what we could build with it.”

From the beginning the entire process was completely collaborative, with the original story coming to fruition from a batting back and forth of ideas and manuscripts to one another. Through that process they gradually came up with the structure of the story.

“We actually found that we sort of fed off of each other and there were several points where we just had to turn on a tape recorder because we were bouncing the ideas off,” Hudson said. “We were role playing. You know, acting out the scenes and trying to figure out if things were natural, you know, is this what this person would do? It was just one idea that spark plugged to another idea and another idea and another idea. So it was really creatively rewarding. I would imagine it would kind of depend on the personalities and the characters of the two people to make the partnership work.”

As to coming up with the setting for the work, both co-authors have always loved the magnificent ghost stories that have arisen from local hotels like the Skirvin in Oklahoma City.

“We both just came to realize that we both just love old buildings and hotels and that you could do a lot with a hotel as opposed to a private residence,” Hudson said. “The potential for different story lines was just much better. So we just began to kind of move into that, and weave with it some threads of alternative history that interested us.

“There’s a psychic in it and so we got to play around with that. And we kind of just took all the elements of movies and books that we liked and we tried to fashion them in the way we thought they should be.”

Coming up with so many ideas, characters and plot lines between the two of them, the book formed itself as much through editing as it did with the writing of the original manuscripts.

“The book right now is about half the length that it was,” Hudson said. “We did significant editing, significant paring it down and trying to make sure that we have a good, fast-paced action oriented story that would be fun to read. The result is that we’ve probably got two sequels worth of materials that we can build on at least one or two of the characters.”

Hudson reported that the pair have almost ninety percent of two sequel stories in place already that the duo are working on together. So, you can expect to hear a whole lot more from Marilyn A. Hudson and Cullan Hudson in the mysterious tales department.