Today I am introducing you to fellow blogger and the creator of some wonderful short stories: Hugh Roberts. Welcome Hugh, thanks for participating here. First up, please tell us about your connection to Wales.
I was born in Wales and spent the first 17 years of my life living there. Most of my family still live there. I’m currently living in Hove, East Sussex, with my partner John and Toby, our Welsh Cardigan Corgi. We have a holiday home in Abergavenny in Monmouthshire and are in the process of planning to return to live in Wales once we sell our house here in Hove. We’re planning on purchasing another home near the Welsh coastline around The Mumbles area.
Tell us a little about yourself as writer and person
I’ve always loved to write but allowed having dyslexia to get in my way. When I was at school the condition was never recognised and it wasn’t until a few years ago that I decided to stop allowing dyslexia to get in the way of me publishing a book. Along with having a number one hit single, having a book published has always been on my list of life achievements before my ‘use by’ date comes up. I’d heard that blogging was a great platform for writers so started ‘Hugh’s Views and News’ to try and gain my confidence. I was so overwhelmed by the huge amount of support I got from other writers, authors and bloggers that I started writing short stories. It’s something I have grown to love and many of my short stories have received positive and confidence boosting comments. I’m hoping to self-publish my first collection of short stories next year.
As a person I am very much an Introvert. I do find it difficult being in a room of lots of people and starting off a conversation. However, once I get started there’s no stopping me. I do call myself a ‘people person’ because I love listening to what people have to say. I suppose that’s quite strange being as I am an introvert.
What is your life like outside of writing?
We travel between Hove and Abergavenny a lot. I spend as much time as I can writing, but I also follow many other blogs and love to catch up with reading them every day. We tend to relax in front of the TV watching movies or catching up on some of our favourite programmes’. I enjoy visiting antique shops looking for a bargain. I’ve taken along some of my finds to The Antiques Roadshow but have yet to find that one item where people are shocked by the valuation. I find antiques shops magical because every single item in them tells a story. I also enjoy long walks with John and Toby and enjoy good food and wine. I can’t cook, so thankfully John enjoys cooking otherwise I’d be living off microwavable meals.
Ever since I was first introduced to the BBC comedy series Gavin & Stacey, I’ve always admired Ruth Jones. Not only did she play the wonderful Nessa in the series but she co-wrote it with James Cordon. I’ve watched her interviewing other celebrities on TV and she comes over as such a natural, professional, kind person. She’s a brilliant writer and actress and never fails in making me laugh. If she was coming to dinner then I’d have to get John to do all the cooking, and a nice piece of Welsh lamb served with mint sauce and all the trimmings would be on the menu.
What are you working on at the moment?
Having just finished writing “The Truth App’ which turned from a one part to a ten part story because people liked it so much, I’m now starting work on some ‘one-off’ short stories for my book. I enjoyed writing ‘The Truth App’ but I never expected the demand from my readers to keep the story going. I was overwhelmed with people telling me that they wanted more and it took over my life. Ideas for other short stories were parked to one side for eight weeks while I wrote it. I need another ten or so short stories for my collection and I can then start the process of putting the book together. I’m very nervous about self publishing my first book but very excited about it at the same time.
There are lots of things I love about Wales including its scenery, people and history, but I do love the fact that it is not fast paced. I’ve lived in London and the South East of England for thirty years and it’s just fast, fast, fast! When we go back to Wales we seem to be able to relax far better and people seem to have the time to stop and talk to you. I’ve loved living in London and the South East of England but it’s now time to move back to that slower-pace of life. Oh, did I forget to mention Welsh cakes? That’s another reason I love Wales so much.
What is your advice to anyone wanting to start writing a blog?
Don’t expect hundreds of instant followers. There is a lot of hard work involved in building up a good number of followers for your blog. You will need to build up your blogging community and become a member of many other blogging communities. Think about quality rather than than quantity when it comes to the blog posts you write and never ever beg people to follow you. Participate in blog challenges and any online blogging courses that the blogging platform provider offers. If you don’t visit other blogs and read and comment on posts then it’s very unlikely that you will gain many followers yourself. After all, we want lots of people to read what we publish on our blogs don’t we, otherwise why bother to run a blog at all? However, my best advice is to enjoy blogging. If it starts to stress you out or becomes too much to handle then move on to something else.
Where do you get the ideas from for your short stories?
Strange as it may seem but it is often the case that the story will find me and get me to write it. That sounds quite creepy doesn’t it, so maybe that is why many of my short stories have an unexpected and sometimes shocking ending to them? It’s wonderful when readers say to me “I didn’t see that ending coming” or “wow, what a twist.” Sometimes a character from a short story will tell me their story while I’m ironing or doing some housework and I have to then stop what I am doing and write the story down. I’m a huge fan of TV Series like ‘The Twilight Zone’, ‘Dr.Who’ and ‘Tales of the Unexpected’, so many of my stories take on a Science Fiction, Time Travel or Ghost theme. I’ve also written a short series of stories centred around a Wedding that never took place. The story became a bit of a ‘whodunit’ and I had readers shocked by the outcome when I revealed who the murderer was.
How do you handle criticism of your work?
Having not published a book yet I’ve come across little criticism so far. However, I’ve read some great advice from fellow bloggers who have published books on how to handle poor reviews and criticism. I know there are many pitfalls to publishing a book and I am so very thankful to the very supportive blogging community who have warned me what those pitfalls are as well as how to handle the situations.
Hugh Roberts currently lives in Hove, East Sussex, in the United Kingdom. He is an avid Blogger and writes about all kinds of everyday life and what it brings. He has always enjoyed writing and does not allow the fact that he suffers from a mild form of dyslexia to stop him writing.
An author of short stories, Hugh is hoping to publish his first book of short stories in 2016. He has also started writing his first novel which is based around his life when he first moved to London.
He leads a very happy and positive life which he shares with his Civil Partner, John, and their Cardigan Welsh Corgi, Toby.
On his blog he writes about life, because he finds it so fascinating and has also recently got interested in photography. You will also find some of his short stories, poetry and photography on his blog. He is a huge supporter of other writers, authors and bloggers and very much enjoys becoming a member of their blogging communities.