Saturday 14 December 2019

Guest Author Alex Hudson of Great Britain

Alex is has recently published her debut novel. There are not many things more exciting than having a copy of your first book  in your hands. A lot of work and determination goes into writing a book. She has agreed to be our guest this week and talk about her story and share an excerpt – Beyond Redemption.

My name is Alex and I am waiting for my first novel to come out any day soon. **Note - the interview was completed before publication of Alex's novel)

I was born and bought up in London and I first started work at Universal Films / MCA Records in London’s Piccadilly, quite close to the famous Fortnum and Mason department Store. I met many wonderful stars of the present and future during my time there and it was a wonderful experience to work with so many high profile people.

Later I worked for several years in the Oil Industry as a PA to one of the Exploration Managers, this time quite close to Piccadilly Circus’ famous statue of Eros.

Then, when I moved to the West Country, I managed to obtain a job as a guide at the magnificent Longleat House, which inspired my love of history and fuelled my passion for the 18th century.

Now, I live on the South East Coast of England and my life has taken on a more relaxed pace which enabled me to finally complete my first novel, Beyond Redemption. We have many quaint little villages here and I often meet my Production Editor, Diny Van Kleeff, for afternoon tea in a gorgeous little 15th century Tea Shop. 

4Q: This is an exciting time in every writers' lives, when you are anxiously awaiting the publication of your debut novel. Before we talk about the story, tell us about your publication process as a beginner.

AH:  I have learned a lot on my journey and one very important lesson is to have a good editor. Someone you can connect with and who not only understands your story, but also, your writing method and style!

Also, particularly when writing an historical novel, research is a must. The basic details are not something you can invent. You have to be true to the period. I spent hours tracking down the facts and I even phoned Buckingham Palace, Debrett’s Peerage and The Port of London Authority to make sure I got my historical facts right.

I must say they were all exceedingly helpful.

4Q:  Now tell us about Beyond Redemption.

AH: The first book in the series, BEYOND REDEMPTION, is set against the backdrop of Georgian England with its trials and tribulations of the people of that time. It is a tale of seduction, rejection and tragic circumstances.
Isabella’s birth effects everyone who lives on the grand estate at Brayfield House, where her governess mother is employed, but when Isabella is traded to pay off her father’s gambling debt, there must be consequences and she has to discover if her father is truly beyond redemption.
But still, all is not what it seems as she fights trickery and cunning along the way. In the wake of something dreadful her strength of character helps her through some of the darkest times of her life.
Beyond Redemption is an in depth story about adept characters which will make you cry and make you laugh, but it is a dark blend of lawyers, gambling, love, revenge and betrayal set alongside the importing and exporting of unusual cargos.
What if your tomorrow turns out not as you have expected. Could you turn your life around? Will justice and the law win through……?

4Q: Pleased share a childhood memory or anecdote.

AH: I can’t think of an interested childhood anecdote but I can tell you about an interesting incident that happened to me when I was working as a tour guide at Longleat.

I was sitting in what is known as the Bath Bedroom, waiting for the next guide to arrive, when I felt someone put their arm around me. Thinking it was the guide who had come to take over my shift, I turned to them but there was no one there. A little surprised, I waited for the next guide to come and told her about my strange experience. She laughed and told me that what I had felt, was the ghost of a sweet little girl named Alice who had made her presence known to a number of the staff over the years. 

Truth or fiction - who knows? But I’ve used the name Alice for one of the characters in my novel. 

4Q:  When did you start writing and what inspired you?

AH: I began writing a few years ago, after my several years of working at Longleat House in Wiltshire (also known as Wessex).

The house was amazing and I felt that whenever I entered it, it would envelop me. This inspired me to visit other stately homes and I found that to tread where others had tread so many hundreds of years ago to be a most exciting and thrilling experience!

4Q: Tell us about your favorite authors.

AH: I love Jane Austin, but I guess my favorite book is “Forever Amber” by Kathleen Winsor. I also enjoy John Grisham, Sidney Sheldon and the matriarch of all “who done its” Agatha Christie.

4Q: Anything else you’d Like to add?

AH: I love writing! I am pulled along with the story and I often haven’t a clue where I’m going to end up. I often say, at the risk of sounding a little crazy, that I don’t write the story, it writes me!

Something well worth remembering: “You learn more by listening than you do by talking!”

An Excerpt from Beyond Redemption.

(Copyright is held by the author. Used with permission)


Georgian England, 1787

Isabella was on her way home when a young jewellery thief, being chased by the watchmen, collided into her. In their haste to catch the boy, the three men roughly pushed Isabella out of the way. She felt their full force as they shoved her body hard against the wall. She fell to her knees in pain and feared for the unborn child growing inside her.

Oxfordshire, 1769

The night was darker than usual for the moon had been obscured by the clouds. Martha made her way home, having said her final ‘goodbyes’ before leaving for Wessex the very next day. With the darkness, came a quiet eeriness, but then the wind caught in the trees and she could hear the rustling of the leaves and the creaking of the boughs as it whistled and howled through their branches.

She had been detained and was much later than she had expected; she shouldn’t have been out so late this night. Feeling the cold she pulled her cloak tighter around her.

He appeared, suddenly, out of the darkness and tried to engage her into conversation but she turned away from his advances.

‘Please leave me alone. I have told you before that I am leaving Oxfordshire tomorrow. There is no room for you in my life.’

On hearing this he grabbed her by the arm and in his temper and frustration knocked her violently to the ground. 

Three weeks prior…

Martha had to make an effort to keep up with her father, the Reverend Blake, as he walked briskly to the church where he was to give his Sunday morning sermon.

‘Have you made answer to Lord and Lady Beaumont’s wonderful offer of governess at Brayfield House?’ he asked.

‘I will be writing to them today, thanking them and confirming I will be with them soon but it is such a long way to Wessex. I will miss you, Father.’

‘I will miss you too my dear, but I’ll be making my tri-monthly visits to the Beaumont’s and I will see you then,’ he comforted.

As they continued up the path and entered the church by the west door, she contemplated how much her life was going to change. Martha had been brought up in the lovely old parsonage and had so many happy memories of her life there with her mother who had passed away some years previously.

After the service, back at the rectory when the last of the lunch guests, who had accompanied them from church, had departed, Martha set about writing to the Beaumont’s. She knew that although they required her quite soon there was still time enough to ready herself for the move and to say her ‘Farewells’.

‘That young man is here again my dear,’ her father called up the stairs. She rushed to the window and there he was as usual, leaning against the wall and staring at the house.

Martha had been introduced to him at a gathering some days earlier and he hadn’t stop pestering her since.

He was visiting from London to negotiate with the Witney Mills, a business deal to take their blankets to London. He was a merchant and had taken over the family business when his father died.

Martha rather liked the young man at first but he pursued her so intensely that he was becoming a nuisance. As a clergyman’s daughter she would make visits around the village, calling on the parishioners, but it seemed that everywhere she went he was there, declaring his intentions to marry her.

‘Marry you, Sir. You hardly know me and more importantly I do not know you, Sir,’ Martha would answer in exasperation at his impudence.

She had this conversation with him time and time again and had told him that she was not interested in him.


Once the letter was written, folded and sealed, she looked out of the window again and to her relief the young man had gone. Quickly, she put on her cloak, grabbed her bonnet and set out for the local coaching inn to post it and was shocked when he appeared again as if from nowhere.

‘Good afternoon, Miss Blake. Pray, may I accompany you on your stroll?’

‘Good afternoon, Sir,’ she said stiffly, as there was no way to avoid him. ‘I am taking this letter to the post. In a short time I am to travel to Wessex to take up a governess post. It is a profession that I have dedicated my life to doing and there is no room for anything or anyone else. I am sorry to be so harsh in this matter but you seem to have trouble understanding that I have no romantic inclinations toward you. Please leave me alone.’

But he had no regard for her plea and for the days that followed he did nothing but try to persuade her otherwise.

* * *

On The Morning of her departure the Reverend Blake waved his daughter goodbye and the coach set off rattling along the cobbles to Wessex. Inside, Martha was relieved that she had not distressed her father by telling him of her ordeal of the previous night. She had survived the wicked man’s fists and his outburst of frustration. She had lain there in the dark and had thanked God when she heard his footsteps walk away.

That dreadful man will not get the better of me. I am going to start a new life and fortunately I will not be seeing him ever again. She consoled herself as she nursed her bruises in silence.

Brayfield House

After what seemed a never-ending journey the coach finally arrived at the inn close to her destination. As she alighted she saw a tall young man waiting with a carriage to take her to her final destination. He walked towards her and introduced himself.

‘Good afternoon. I’m Thomas Walker the Estate Manager at Brayfield House,’ he said ‘Do I have the pleasure of addressing Miss Blake, the new governess?’

‘Good afternoon, Mr Walker, Yes, I am Miss Blake.’

‘Well in that case, welcome Miss Blake,’ he smiled and proffered his hand. As they exchanged greetings she was glad this kind looking man was here to take her to the house, and she didn’t feel quite so alone. Thomas directed Martha to the waiting carriage and after they had seated themselves they started the drive to the house.

The journey allowed Thomas time to point out the farms and woodlands in the distance belonging to the estate before arriving at the great ornate gates and then down the long drive, passing the stables and the ice house. 

As the Beaumont’s imposing residence came into view Martha was taken aback by its grandeur. She wasn’t expecting anything quite like this to be her home for the foreseeable future.

‘What a magnificent house,’ she said not being able to hold back her excitement.

‘It is that, Miss Blake. I’ve been fortunate enough to live here all my life. The Beaumont’s are good and fair masters. Anyone is lucky to be in their employ,’ he said with pride.

The carriage pulled up at the side entrance and Thomas helped Martha down before taking her through the corridors to the main hall. She found it to be breathtakingly opulent with its marble floor, pillars and gilt-edged, plastered high ceiling. Paintings hung on the pale turquoise walls and beautifully embroidered, heavy drapes decorated the windows. She marvelled at it all.

‘If you would like to follow James,’ Thomas gestured towards the footman. ‘He will show you to your room and I will have your belonging brought to you. Her ladyship suggests that you rest after your long journey and she will meet with you tomorrow morning. Before which, you will be introduced to the main members of the household staff who can be of assistance to you.’ He paused then continued, ‘I understand that your father, The Reverend Blake, comes here quite often.’

‘Yes, that is correct. I am hoping to see him during his visits,’ she replied.

‘Very well then. I will see you at eight of the clock tomorrow morning, James will show you where to come.’

‘Thank you,’ Martha said with a small curtsy and Thomas gave a short bow from the waist.

Next morning at eight o’clock sharp, Martha descended the stairs to the kitchen and saw a line of people waiting to greet her. Thomas stepped forward,

‘Good morning, Miss Blake, let me introduce you to the staff. We are a friendly lot here and we help each other whenever necessary, we find it works better that way,’ Thomas then began the introductions.

‘This is John Price, the butler, he is senior here on the domestic side of things,’ Thomas indicated to John who gave a nod of his head and Mr Price took over the introductions of the next members of staff.

‘Mrs Clara Grey the cook. Mrs Grey has been with us for several years now and keeps us all well fed. Is that not right Clara?’ Mr Price said jovially.

‘It is Mr Price. People can’t work on empty bellies now can they?’ Clara Grey said as she smiled at Martha and gave a quick nod of her head in acknowledgement.

‘And this is my wife, Alice Price, we have been married for a good few months now. Alice is working as assistant to Mrs Grey.’

‘Good morning, Miss Blake,’ she said nervously with a curtsy. Mr Price now moved swiftly down the line of the remaining household members.

‘Well, that’s it really. The rest of the servants you will get to know over time. Now if you are ready, I will take you to see her Ladyship.’ Thomas said. Martha knew a governess’ position gave her a high standing in the household.

* * *

Thank you for being our guest Alex. Best of luck with the new novel.

For you readers wanting to discover more about Alex-Yas, please visit theses links:

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