Paul Cude was born in Southampton, Hampshire. As a small child he moved to Salisbury, and as a much older child he developed a fanatical interest in playing hockey, something he is still obsessed with to this very day. He has the privilege of being a full-time house husband, watching and shaping his two fantastic children as they progress in life. He likes days out with his family, taking computers apart (sometimes even putting them back together again, occasionally successfully) and, of course, writing.
Time to chat with Paul!
What is your latest book?
Currently I’m just editing the third book in the Bentwhistle series, Bentwhistle the Dragon in A Twisted Prophecy, while at the same time writing the fourth in the series, Bentwhistle the Dragon in Earth’s Custodian. Both books continue the series, following the adventures of a group of dragon friends who spend most of their time disguised in human form and, like the rest of their race, they are tasked with protecting and guiding humanity.
Is your recent book part of a series?
Yes. The books are as follows.
Book 1 Bentwhistle the Dragon in A Threat From The Past
Book 2 Bentwhistle the Dragon in A Chilling Revelation
Book 3 Bentwhistle the Dragon in A Twisted Prophecy
Book 4 Bentwhistle the Dragon in Earth’s Custodian
What are the special challenges in writing a series?
For me I thoroughly enjoy it. I’m constantly thinking and dreaming about the direction of the story and the characters. The only thing I find challenging is linking up all the little details, something that becomes harder, the longer the series goes on. I’m constantly looking back to make sure all the little things are right, to provide continuity.
How did you choose the genre you write in? Or did it choose you?
Fantasy is one of my favorite genres to read so that, combined with everything else in my life, tends to lead to me having rather vivid and surreal dreams, mostly about the characters and plot lines in my books. I think it’s safe to say that the fantasy genre definitely chose me. The whole story is part of everything that makes me who I am. Hockey plays a big part in the story and the plot, and has probably been the biggest influence on my life. I started playing when I was eleven years old (old by today’s standards, but young back then). I’m hesitant to tell you how long ago that actually was. But through that sport I have met some of the most amazing people, most of whom I can count as friends, and had the best time on and off the field. I still play when I can, despite being more than a little long in the tooth, and I’m proud to say both of my children play. I help coach them every Sunday during the hockey season.
As well as the hockey, I suppose the other influences come in the form of the books that I read, and the computer games that I play. I love the Harry Potter books, I’m a great fan of the Star Wars Expanded Universe and love the books of Terry Goodkind. But my favorite author in the whole world has to be Terry Pratchett. His books are fantastic and I’ve been an avid reader of them for as long as I can remember. The worlds and the characters he creates are amazing and can easily be pictured in your mind. The twists and turns are something akin to a whirlwind, but it’s the humor that I find most compelling. I can name three or four books that have made me cry with laughter at what’s been written, and just thinking about one book, The Fifth Elephant, is making me laugh as I write this. All of these things zip through my tiny little mind, and in so doing are responsible for everything that fills the pages of my book. If you want to know all about me as a person……..read my book.
Over the years, many well-known authors have stated that they wished they’d written their characters or their plots differently. Have you ever had similar regrets?
A small part of me would like to rewrite my first book, Bentwhistle the Dragon in A Threat From The Past. Not because I dislike it, but because I feel now I have the skill and experience as an author to do better. I love the book, for many different reasons, and so most of me wouldn’t want to change a thing. The more I think about it, the more I go round in circles. I’m sure at some point in the future I’ll think the same about my later books. I do hope all authors feel the same kind of conflict.
Do you have any advice for first-time authors?
Use every last second of your time. Even a few minutes here and there… do social media work, or anything that needs catching up on. I find I use all these little segments of time to buy myself a bigger block of time at some point during the day, in which I can just write undisturbed. Get your work up on Smashwords as soon as it’s ready. You can hunt about for agents and publishers after it’s already up there, with readers already able to get a feel for your work. It’s such a good site and allows you fantastic control over your work. As well, I feel interacting on Twitter can do a great deal to promote your book, as well gaining valuable advice from other authors, and meeting some great new people from across the globe.
What do you like best about the books you read? What do you like least?
I love to lose myself in the story and the characters. Twists and turns are always a must for me. I’m constantly trying to guess what’s coming next in my mind, and always love it when things go in a totally different direction. Depending on the book, I do like some humor injected into it. Books from my favorite author, Terry Pratchett, have some of the most side-splitting comedy woven into their intricately written fantasy plots, that at times I’ve cried with laughter
Are you a fast typist? Does your typing speed (or lack of it) affect your writing?
I’m pretty good. Before deciding to write my first book, I could only type with two fingers. I taught myself to type with a computer program, which took about three months, in what little free time I had. After that, things only got better and faster. The only thing I regret, a little, is that I taught myself to type on a Microsoft shaped, split keyboard. While I have no problem sitting at my desk and typing on my keyboard at my own computer, I struggle if I have to use any of the other computers (laptops) in the house.
Are you an early bird writer or night owl? And do you have any must haves like coffee, chocolates, wine, music or something else?
The older I get, the earlier I seem to get up. I still go to bed quite late (11 pm or so), but more often than not, I’m awake early, and just know that I’m not going to get back to sleep. Normally I choose to get up and either write, or get on with some social media tasks. This at least buys me some time later on in the day to write, or do something else book related, such as research, or updating my blog or website.
Where do you live now? If you had to move to another city/state/country, where might that be?
I currently live in the beautiful city of Salisbury, in Wiltshire, England. If I had to move anywhere, I think it would be to Swanage in Dorset, England. It’s a place the Cude family often goes to, especially in the summer – we all love nothing more than frequenting the stunning beach, fabulous shops, and going on the fantastic steam railway.
Trains, planes, automobiles, or boats?
From the answer to the last question, I’m sure you can guess I’m going to say trains, trains, trains. TRAINS! Just like Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory………I love trains! (I also have my own spot on the sofa. Don’t tell anyone though.)
What’s the best gift you’ve ever received?
Last year I received a fantastic camera for my birthday. That was only in December, and so far, life and fate have conspired to make sure that I’ve had very little time to use it. I love taking pictures, especially of my kids, but of all sorts of things as well, and plan to start practising with it as soon as possible.
What might we be surprised to know about you?
I don’t drink alcohol. That’s why my blog is called “thesoberhockeyplayer”… it sums me up perfectly. I’m the only sober hockey player I’ve ever met… and I’ve met loads, on tours, playing alongside and against. It makes me unique and is something I’m very proud of. I’m not against people drinking by the way… it’s just not for me. Also, I think this is up there with my sense of humour as one of my best character traits.
I once got the words “pottery” and “hockey” mixed up… and in that instant, it totally changed my life, forever.
I always endeavour to treat people how I would hope to be treated, but more than you would expect, find myself let down.
If you are a TV watcher, would you share the names of your favorite shows with us?
In no particular order: The Big Bang Theory, Arrow, The Flash, Marvel’s Agents Of Shield, NCIS Los Angeles, Hawaii Five-O and The Musketeers.
What simple pleasure makes you smile?
Other than spending time with my family, I love to play hockey (field hockey). I can only imagine I have the biggest smile in the world on my face when I play.
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