Going the Distance Interview

So my close friend and aspiring artist, Bill Wilde thought it would be a brilliant idea to interview me about my book, Going the Distance, which he has some photos featured in. Here's what transpired from our chat:

BW: Why this book? Why now?

BHudg: I answer that in the book. So I guess you will just have to read it to find out! wink wink. But in all seriousness, it had to be this book. It couldn't be anything else. It just wouldn't be honest. I can't write a memoir at 30. I've been through alot in my life and I've learned that I have a special set of skills that might be useful to others who have had life hit them. Really this book was inspired by so many of the people that I have meet over the last few years that kept telling me I should write a book. It was something I had wanted to do for a while, but was something I couldn't tackle. And of course I would be the one to write a self-help book while experiencing another relapse with my Vasculitis. So the book in some senses became a reminder for myself and a tool for myself to stay on the right path. I don't believe in fate or predestination but I think at this point in time, it was the book I was given the proper skill set to write at this point in my life.

BW: You just mentioned that you experienced a relapse with your Vasculitis this year after 4 years of remission. How is your health today?

BHudg: It's what I would call stable. Meaning it seems to have not gotten worse, but I haven't heard my doctor use the remission word yet. The relapse was dangerous enough this year that my doctors have suggested the 2 year plan for Rituxan, where I get 4 sets of 4 infusions (once every 6 months for 2 years). So I'm halfway through the 2nd set. So I'm almost halfway through. Infusions of immunotherapy or chemotherapy (or whatever other word the doctors and insurance people want to use) are never fun. But this set hasn't been quite the ass kicker that my first few experiences were with them. It's also weird getting them and not being super inflamed. Probably why my body has taken the drug a little better. Still a mix of good days and bad days.

BW: So who is this book for?

BHudg: It's for anybody. That was the whole idea behind the book. John Fries (my editor) and Ed Becker (who I've become friends with working for the Vasculitis Foundation) talked a lot about the book needed to not just be about running, not just about vasculitis, not just about depression or anxiety. It needed to have crossover ability. So the book is for anybody that is going through a hard time in life, or has been through a hard time. Life has a way of beating you down at times. I always say life is going to catch you at some point. If you haven't been through some truly difficult times yet, you will. So that means the book is for everybody.

BW: You mentioned you have wanted to write a book for a while now, is this your first literary pilgrimage?

BHudg: This was my first excursion into real writing. I've had a blog for about 3 years now, but that is really unfiltered and not what I would call quality writing. Especially the early blogs. In preparing for this book, I went back and read a few of those early blogs and I cringed. Writing is just like so many other crafts, the more to do it the better you get. Thank god for John Fries, my mom, and my girlfriend. I learned a lot about narratives and working to tell a better story.

BW: With this book being your first, what was the publishing process like? Can you take us through that journey?

BHudg: Well the process really started years ago, but every time I looked into it, I would freak out at all the information and just quit. Just over a year ago at a party that Ed Becker through at his house for some Vasculitis patients and families in the Pittsburgh area, Ed and John really encouraged me that it could be done. Since I had at that point been a full-time professional runner (without an apparel sponsorship at the time) for 4 months, so I figured, what else is a huge financial gamble? Oh starting a writing career? Sounds perfect. If you are gonna go for broke, mine as well go hard! Which I did. But after that it was mostly pretty simple. John took most of my rambling ideas and topics, made them into a coherent thought. And then I fit them into my narrative of teaching lessons from some of the most trying times in my life.

Attracting a publisher is difficult, especially for someone who isn't actually famous or have past writing experience is nearly impossible right now. So the only route was self publishing. Now figuring out all that mumbo jumbo was more difficult than getting the book done. The 2 hardest parts of the book were figuring out which platforms to use, and getting the covers approved. Outside of that technology makes writing pretty easy these days. So all in all it took me just under a year to get it all done, which for your first book isn't bad I think.

BW: You evoke a lot of emotion in the book. I teared up at several different points in the book. I can feel physical and mental stress in your writing. It was my first time ever really crying in a book, so what is the first book that made you cry?

BHudg: Well I hate that this was the first book that ever made you cry. I wish you could've experienced that with a better writer. Or a better story. I can't remember if I cried reading before this, but one of the strongest memories I have of crying while reading was when Chewbacca died saving some refugees and Anakin Solo (Han Solo's son) in Star Wars: The New Jedi Order - Vector Prime. It's a book that was part of the EU (expanded universe) that was considered Canon until Disney bought the rights to Star Wars from LucasFilm. So those tears were for nothing now...

BW: Without spoiling some of the book, you write about a lot of tough periods in your life. That can't be easy topics to hash through. So does writing energize or exhaust you?

BHudg: Well both really. There were a few topics that were tough to write about, but mostly it was cathartic and energizing. I may not be the best writer yet, but I got the gift of gab from my dad, so I've never been one short on words. Once I get going it's pretty hard for me to stop. Last fall when I was still training and writing, it wasn't always the best mix. They both require a lot of mental energy. There were some days after training that I just didn't have the mental energy to get going, so I just wouldn't even try. So is it writer's block if you don't even try? But seriously once I get done I normally feel pretty damn tired and pass out. While I was training I was forced to write during the daytime, but I just don't like that. But for a good training schedule it wasn't good to be up till 2 or 3 or even 4am writing. I've always been that way though. I work better in big chunks and at the last minute. As you know Bill, I'm answering these questions pretty late here.

BW: You brought up writer's block. That's something you hear seemingly every writer talk about in interviews, I was trying to not outright ask it, but you brought it up. So since you don't get writer's block have you ever gotten reader’s block?

BHudg: Everyday! No just kidding. It depends on what I'm reading. If I'm reading something in my box of favorites (Star Wars, Sci-Fi, sports books, music books, light astrophysics) then I normally can't put it down. But when I'm reading books to learn, it can get a bit tedious at times. I like to read before bed mostly. It's hard to get into that learning midframe right before sleep time. So I can get sick of reading when I'm doing that. It makes reading tough. Cause then when I inevitably pick up something else to read while I'm reading the educational text, I feel guilty. So it just depends on where I'm at. But yeah I go through times where I don't want to read, be a lazy human and consume all my info from a screen.
BW: Now for the real question, as a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?

BHudg: I'm always torn between a wolf or a killer whale. I've always felt drawn towards those 2 animals. Both of them are such savage creatures. They both live in families basically. For wolves it's packs and killer whales it's pods. But they are both essentially the same structure from my limited wikipedia and youtube knowledge. They are all strong individuals, but not the biggest by any means in their environments, but everyone pretty much knows to leave them alone or experience the wrath of the pack. And they are both just such wild animals. They move, they roam, they travel. I just feel like these animals live their lives full. They see shit in the wild you know. That's just not for me as a writer but for me as a person.

BW: You can't pick two, that's cheating. You have to pick one.

BHudg: Well if you ain't trying to cheat, you ain't trying to win.
BW: How can you cheat an interview about your book B?

BHudg: Point taken! Well since I can't cheat, I'll say wolf. For no particular reason. I flipped a coin in my head and it landed on wolf. I truly can never really decide. So maybe I'll just have to get tattoos of both of them.

BW: Last question and I'll let you go back to the rabbit hole you were down on youtube. Where can people buy Going the Distance?

BHudg: Shut up! You don't know me! 
Right now it is currently available on Amazon.com in paperback and ebook. That link is here:


or if you are one of those Amazon haters, you can get it through CreateSpace, which is the platform I used to self publish:


I will also be making appearances at some cross-country races, road races, and potentially other events this fall and winter selling them directly to you. I'm working on getting them in some brick and mortar stores. I'll be sure to update people about that as well.

BW: Awesome! Thanks for your time Brandon. I know doing these interviews can't be easy not feeling well. Best wishes for your health and running my man!

BHudg: Thanks Bill! It's always a pleasure chatting. Thanks for lending your lens and pictures to the cause. Cheers!