Born and raised in Oklahoma, Tara Hudson graduated with a degree in law, mostly because she believed all the horror stories about English majors and their careers in the food-service industry. Luckily, she soon remembered how much she loved telling ghost stories, particularly to her girlfriends who liked visiting abandoned cemeteries as much as she did. Tara currently lives in Oklahoma with her husband, son, and a menagerie of ill-behaved pets.
Tara: Books always got me in trouble in grade school—not because I wouldn’t do my schoolwork, but because I’d finish my work early and then hide paperbacks in between textbook pages so I could read during class. In fact, books were the reason I received most of my disciplinary slips. (Books, and the time I refused to come down off the monkey bars, but that’s a story only my husband will fully know.)
In high school, books were obviously not at the forefront of my mind. All rational thought had been replaced by boys, school elections, and my midnight blue Camaro. (Yes, I drove a Camaro. No, I’m not ashamed.) Fortunately, I had an amazing English AP teacher, who reminded me to think occasionally, and who told me if I wasn’t writing every day, I wasn’t living right.
Despite her advice, I decided to go Pre-Med in college, finishing my first year with 4.0 and an absolute hatred of my major. Two weeks into my sophomore year, in a moment of sheer abandon, I dropped all my science courses and enrolled in the only English Writing classes still open. A few well-intended souls told me this was the worst decision I’d ever made, but, boy, were they wrong. I loved every minute of my undergraduate education.
However, last minute panic (are we noticing a trend, here?) made me decide to attend law school, where I not only made my first B ever, but also met some of my best friends and learned how to trim down my writing (believe it or not).
Law led me to a great career, but books still haunted me. Tired of stagnant memos, I spent one rainy afternoon writing a ghost story to entertain my girlfriends. Twenty minutes after I emailed them a chapter, they wrote back, clamoring for more. And so, Hereafter was born—the product of my friends’ encouragement, my husband’s patience, and many, many lunch breaks.
In April 2010, I found my agent—the fantastic (and sleepless, I swear) Catherine Drayton—and in May 2010, I found my publishing home at Harper Collins Children’s.
My measure of success will be the day I find some girl with a copy of Hereafter, slipped covertly between the pages of her textbook. I hope I’ll be there to tell her books are worth the trouble. Always.