Ad Hudler's novels include Househusband and Man of the House. He lives in Nashville, and in addition to his writing he has started an urban gardening business.
Q: You have written from a female perspective in some of your fiction. How difficult was that, and what has the reaction been from female readers?
A: My novel Southern Living was written in three different female voices. It honestly wasn't that hard for me because I was a stay-at-home dad, working in a predominantly woman's world. And I must have captured the female perspective pretty well because when I toured with that book I can't tell you how many times a reader would show up at a bookstore and her jaws would drop open when she saw me and she'd say, "You're a man?!?!"
Q: Your novel Househusband looks at gender roles and stereotypes. Do you think attitudes about stay-at-home fathers have changed since the days when you first stayed home with your daughter?
A: Attitudes have changed in a huge way – and for the better. One in every five U.S. two-parent families now has a man as the primary caregiver. When I was doing it 20 years ago I was a freak show. It wasn't uncommon for grandmotherly types to come up to me in public and ask if I needed help changing a diaper. Remember the movie Mr. Mom? Michael Keaton was a mess as a stat-at-home dad. Compare that to today's TV shows where men are pretty adept juggling domestic duties.
Q: Food plays a big part in your books--has cooking been important in your life, as well?
A: I learned to cook when I was home with a child. I needed a creative outlet, and the family needed to eat, so food became my medium. Caregivers don't get a lot of positive feedback….but if someone likes dinner they're going to shower you with compliments – and who doesn't like/need that?
Q: You write that you have followed in the footsteps of Linc, your protagonist from Househusband, and started an urban gardening business. Were you always interested in pursuing that, or was it something that you decided to do after having your character do it?
A: I never intended to follow in my protagonist's footsteps. I guess I've always liked plants. My great-grandfather was a flower grower for three U.S. presidents, so I guess it's in my genes!
Q: What are you working on now?
A: I'm working on a collection of short stories that illustrate how personal technology has impacted family relationships. My short stories, unlike my comic novels, tend to be darker and more literary. Not sure why, but that's how they turn out.
--Interview with Deborah Kalb