Meet Our Authors: H.L. Rudd

H.L. RuddH.L.Rudd was born and raised in the rural reaches of northeastern Alabama. Her parents were a pair of lovable hippies, and her stepfather was an ex-catholic Italian from Boston. Needless to say, Alabama didn’t work out. In the land of hunting, hiking, and high school football, she preferred reading collections of spooky southern folk tales and surfing the southeast’s unforgivably slow internet. In Alabama’s defense, it was the 90s.

Today, she lives in Massachusetts, where she still loves her creepy stories, but can’t quite get over the shortage of all-night diners. Even so, she loves Massachusetts, and has been part of the Mill Pages writing group ever since discovering it. This is her first real Massachusetts home, and she’s honored to be a part of it.

Hannah’s short story, “Unicorn”, is included in our anthology volume 2.  You can follow her blog, 905, where she shares more about her life and more of her stories!  You will be able to read more from her here at the Mill Pages blog when she posts book reviews.

How did you get started writing?

A couple different things lead up to it, but there is one moment in particular. Like any other kid, I used to play pretend and make up little adventures for my toys and things like that, but it didn’t really think about writing fiction until the 7th grade. I started off by writing little snippets for assignments in English class. That’s not exactly voluntary, though, so I don’t count it.
My English teacher was incredibly supportive, so I moved from doing little assignments for class to writing little pieces of my own. But it became important to my when I posted my first story online.
I posted it on a dingy, long-forgotten forum on the early 2000s internet. I didn’t expect much to come of it, but when I checked the next day, a single anonymous comment was waiting for me.

“You’re good at this,” it said. “You should do more.”

That was the encouragement I needed. Parents and teachers, I felt, always had some measure of obligation. The anonymous internet doesn’t owe anything to anybody.

What types of stories do you like to write?

I’ve been swingings swords and slaying dragons since I could pick up a stick, and it’s hard to find a brand of fantasy that I haven’t dipped my toes into, either as a reader or a writer. I lean towards politically-oriented period fantasy; it gives me a great chance to inject some of my love of history into my work, though I don’t write any true historical fiction.

I’m also enjoy writing horror. My first novel-length project is a psychological horror piece, which I hope to finish in the near future. Horror themes speak to me – my sense of humor, my taste in ambience, it all leans a little dark.

Who influenced you most as a writer?

There are a lot, but I ought to be diplomatic and choose one, right? There were plenty of important fantasy and sci fi series in my youth, but there’s a stand out winner: Anne McCaffrey, author of Dragonriders of Pern. It’s not the first series I loved, but it’s the first series that I allowed to swallow me. I’d never loved anything so deeply, and I can see its influence in my work now. Thank you, Dragonlady.

What’s the first book you remember reading?

Not counting actual children’s books, it’s probably either The Animorphs series by K.A. Applegate, or The Hobbit by Tolkien. I can’t recall which was first.

What movie, tv-show, YouTube channel, or blog do you think more people should watch (just pick one) and why?

Kurzgesagt – In a Nutshell. It’s a science and philosophy channel with excellent information and wonderful presentation. I believe it’s important for people to be scientifically literate and to think more deeply about their world. This channel is one of the most fascinating I’ve found.

5 Things you want us to know about you:

  1. I grew up in rural Alabama. I’ve relocated to Massachusetts and I absolutely love it here, but the connection to the south will always be a part of me.
  2. I hold a graduate degree in history, and I love incorporating history into my writing.
  3. I used to own a comic book and game store. I sold it to pursue a career as a teacher.
  4. I have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.
  5. I’m absolutely terrified of aliens! I’m talking about the traditional Grays, with the big, almond-shaped eyes. I used to have nightmares about them as a child, and ever since then, they scare the life out of me!
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