When Tara Hudson visited her grandparents in southeast Oklahoma as a child, they would often take her to their family cemetery, which was overgrown with vegetation and nestled in the mountains.
While the entire area is beautiful, it's also “kind of creepy,” she said, making it the perfect setting for her first novel, “Hereafter,” which HarperTeen is releasing Tuesday as part of its “Dark Days of Supernatural” tour. Demigods, fairies, grim reapers and ghosts are among the paranormal creatures that make an appearance in various young-adult books by the seven authors on the tour.
Referring to her time exploring in and around the southeast Oklahoma cemetery, Hudson, 30, said she always had the sense that someone was watching her.
“And when I reimagined the book, that's a ghost,” she said in a recent phone interview.
The ghost who stars in the book is Amelia. She often wakes up in the cemetery after a drowning nightmare that starts with a fall from a spooky bridge. She doesn't realize she's dead. She doesn't know her full name, how she got there or any of her life's details.
The novel begins with Amelia's wanderings, but it ends up part-romance, part good vs. evil thriller, as Amelia unravels the mysteries that surround her with help from Wilburton High School student Joshua. The high bridge that's the center of the mystery is modeled after a truss bridge that existed years ago in Latimer County.
Hudson lives in Choctaw with her husband, Robert, and their 7-month-old son, Wyatt, and is an attorney who works as a landman for Chesapeake Energy Corp.
She started writing “Hereafter” two years ago, when she was looking for a creative outlet and turned to her English writing major from college at the University of Oklahoma. Inspired from a short story she wrote in college about a ghost in the southeast Oklahoma cemetery, Hudson wrote one chapter of “Hereafter,” then another, sending each one to a couple of girlfriends, one at a time.
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BOOK RELEASE AND SIGNINGS
HarperTeen, a division of Harper Collins Publishers, will release “Hereafter,” the first novel by Choctaw author Tara Hudson on Tuesday as part of the publisher's “Dark Days of Supernatural” tour, which includes authors Aprilynne Pike, Veronica Roth, Amy Plum, Ellen Schreiber, Kim Harrison, Josephine Angelini and Hudson. Hudson's first stop on the five-city, official “Dark Days” tour with the other authors will be in Chicago that same day.
Hudson will be in Oklahoma City at 3 p.m. Saturday, signing her book at Full Circle Bookstore, 50 Penn Place. That signing is not part of the multi-author tour.
For more information, go online to tara