Interview with Author T.L. Hughes

1) Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get into writing?

I have been writing most of my life. When I was in the eighth grade, I had a teacher who encouraged us to use weekly vocabulary words in a paragraph that we had to recite aloud. It became a game for a few of us where we would use as many vocabulary words as we could, even using past weeks words. I began to write my own short stories and poetry shortly after that. 

2) What inspired you to write your book?

This book, like my first novel, Searching For Paradise, was inspired by my love of travel and meeting new and interesting people. When I travel, I always keep a road journal alongside me. The Sojourners is based upon a real life road trip through Europe in the 1980’s and had its basis in one of those journals. The characters and situations are fictional, although many of the characters possess the traits of some of the real life people I met along the way.

3) What theme or message do you hope readers will take away from your book?

That life is an incredible journey and to never give up on your dreams. Every person we meet along this journey has something to teach us. 

4) What drew you into this particular genre?

I’ve loved the genre ever since I started reading the road novels of Jack Kerouac. Growing up in New England, Kerouac’s novels opened my eyes to the American west. In high school, I dreamed of traveling the highways of America (and Mexico) like he did. When I graduated from college, I finally realized that dream, always taking along a notepad and pen along with me.

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5) If you could sit down with any character in your book, what would you ask them and why?

Good question. It would probably be Decky Brady. I would ask him about his own journey into Ireland. I’d want to know what ever happened to him? Where did he end up? A later novel of mine will take place in current times, where Luke Coppens and Michael Hogan attempt to return to Europe to ty to find Decky. 

6) What social media site has been the most helpful in developing your readership?

I’m new to social media. At this point I would have to say Goodreads, where I am beginning to get followers. I also have a Facebook page. I’m looking forward to expanding my social media presence at some point with Instagram and Twitter, however, right now I am not on those sites.

7) What advice would you give to aspiring or just starting authors out there?

If you love writing and feel your best while doing it, keep doing it. Don’t be discouraged by naysayers and negative people. With platforms out there now like Kindle Direct Publishing and other services that assist Indie authors in publishing their work, this is a great time to be a writer. 

8) What does the future hold in store for you? Any new books/projects on the horizon?

My next book is a novel that will be set in a New England mill town. It will be different than my road books. It centers around Mike Hogan in his early adolescent years. As Mike and his small group of friends move through childhood and adolescence, they encounter challenges and make decisions that will dramatically alter the course of their lives. I’m hoping to have this published within the next two years.

About the Author

T.L. Hughes was born in Salem, Massachusetts, and at a young age moved to Lowell, Massachusetts where he grew up, attending the local public schools through high school. After graduating from the University of Massachusetts in 1980, he headed west to California. Today, he lives in Orange County with his wife and family.

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The Sojourners by T.L. Hughes Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

One young man’s adventure seeking to fulfill lifelong dreams turns into a journey of self discovery in author T.L. Hughes novel The Sojourners. Here is the synopsis.

The Synopsis

When Chasing a Dream Leads Deeper Within……

Picking up where Searching for Paradise left off, Mike Hogan, Decky Brady, and Luke Coppens start off in London, still chasing and believing their Hollywood dreams of working in the music video business. But after only a few days into the trip, the friends quickly abandon their efforts and put new plans into place. 

On his own developing journey and through encounters with other travelers and new friends, Mike Hogan experiences the love of finding oneself again. With vivid imagery, poetry and references to great songs throughout, The Sojourners stands on its own as a complete work, with colorful characters and simple people who resonate with the beauty of life. This inspiring, reflective novel shows the importance of ultimate belief in ourselves, and the realization that despite our differences, deep down inside, we all share a common good.

What others are saying:

“Throughout it all, Hughes maintains a tension that transforms this meandering tale into one of complex depictions of human compassion. A charming, soulful entry into a popular (and often disappointing) genre.” – Kirkus Reviews

“Hughes gives us beautiful sentences and finely crafted imagery throughout, with a comforting cadence in his prose, rolling along like a train journey. The story offers carefree country-hopping for the armchair traveler, and each new location – bar, disco, train car, or sidewalk – serves up a vicarious thrill. The Sojourners is a beautifully written work of travel writing, which will be especially appealing to those who have yet to travel, or those who may want to rekindle the expanded horizons of traveling abroad.” Self-Publishing Review, ★★★★ 

The Review

This was an incredibly deep, emotional and thoughtful read. Filled with flowing storytelling and memorable characters throughout, the novel featured incredibly beautiful imagery used by the protagonist, describing his journey through Europe and through the inner workings of his own mind. 

The themes of dealing with loss, finding one’s purpose and discovering the meaning of your own life through travel and adventure really stuck out to me. Unlike other stories of self-discovery, this story stood out for delving into the Cold War era 1980’s, and with each new character introduced in the journey the author saw the real life struggle of topics like racism, politics and religion play out in a completely natural way.

The Verdict

Overall this was a phenomenal read. A detailed, thorough yet pleasant read, the story held the readers attention throughout and painted an image of the protagonist’s journey with such ease that it felt as if you’d lived the journey yourself. Full of humor, wit and charm, the story felt relatable and like something current day readers could draw their real life struggles from. If you haven’t yet, grab this emotionally driven novel The Sojourners by T.L. Hughes today.

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

T.L. Hughes was born in Salem, Massachusetts, and at a young age moved to Lowell, Massachusetts where he grew up, attending the local public schools through high school. After graduating from the University of Massachusetts in 1980, he headed west to California. Today, he lives in Orange County with his wife and family.