Minireview + Q & A: The Silver Braid by Shanna Hughes

From my old blog/Von meinem alten Blog | 06/17/2015

English version below!

Hallo ihr Lieben!

Wie bereits am Montag angekündigt möchte ich euch heute gerne die liebe Shanna Hughes vorstellen. Ich habe sie über Susan Dennards Daydreamers Forum kennengelernt, als sie auf der Suche nach einem Kritikpartner für ihr aktuelles Schreibprojekt war. Sie ist super lieb und vor allem ist sie ziemlich talentiert!

Hello Everyone!

Like I announced on Monday, I’d like to introduce you to the lovely Shanna Hughes. I met her on Susan Dennard’s Daydreamers Forum, while she’s been on the hunt for a critique partner for her latest writing project. She’s really lovely and more importantly: she’s a very talented writer!

 

About Shanna Hughes

unnamed (1)Shanna Hughes (24-07-1987) has been crazy about books from a young age. It didn’t take long before she created her own imaginary world and she’s been talking to her characters daily ever since. Often out loud and in the middle of the supermarket.

In 2010 she completed her bachelor in business communication (communication & journalism) at the Hogeschool Utrecht, the Netherlands. From 2008 to 2012 she worked as a journalist, web editor and later also as an editor. She lives in Shropshire, England, and works as an Account Executive in Affiliate Marketing.

On Monday evenings she can be found in the dojo practicing karate (and often failing). When at home, she enjoys cooking, reading and playing and cuddling with her silver Bengal cat Celaena (she fully admits to having stolen that name from Sarah J. Maas‘ series Throne of Glass). When she gets the chance, she can be found in the Midwest USA, chasing storms and tornadoes. Yes, it does take a little craziness to have such a hobby.

Shanna’s website: http://www.shannahughes.com/

 

About „The Silver Braid“

a40bfbdc38f89d7bf29704d6a373062bc4d33212In The Silver Braid, the Infected – humanlike beings without a single shred of goodness in them – are out to destroy humanity. Eighteen-year-old Leigha Griffin, one of the top-class members of Force For Good (FFG), a secret organisation sworn to protect the world from evil beings, is sent out to save the world… again. Little does she know that, at the most magical time of the year, it will change her future forever.

 

 

 

Published: Jan. 21, 2015

Words: 12,760

Language: Commonwealth English

ISBN: 9781310347818

Download for free here: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/512892

 

Minireview

Ich wusste schon vorher, dass Shanna einen fantastischen Schreibstil hat, da ich ihr aktuelles Schreibprojekt lesen darf (ich Glückspilz :-D). Daher habe ich mich auch schon sehr auf ihre Kurzgeschichte „The Silver Braid“ gefreut.

Shannas Schreibstil ist sehr lebendig und so taucht man sofort ohne Probleme in ihre Welt ab. Außerdem erschafft sie in „The Silver Braid“ super sympathische Charaktere. Leigha ist ein absolut willensstarkes und cooles Mädchen, zu dem man leicht eine Verbindung aufbaut. Und auch die weiteren Charaktere, die man im Laufe der Geschichte kennen lernt, sind alle vielschichtig und authentisch. Die Idee der Kurzgeschichte ist originell – daher hat es mir große Freude bereitet, „The Silver Braid“ zu lesen!
Es ist übrigens kein Problem, die Kurzgeschichte im Sommer zu lesen, obwohl sie an Weihnachten spielt! Vielmehr ist es eine willkommene Abkühlung im übertragenden Sinn ;-)!

I already knew that Shanna has a great style of writing, since she lets me read her latest writing project (lucky me :-D). Therefore I’ve been really looking forward to her short-story „The Silver Braid“.
Shanna’s style of writing is very vivid and you’re able to dip into her world really fast. In addition she creates super pleasant characters in her story. Leigha is a strong-minded and kick-ass girl you’ll root for. And all the other characters you’ll meet are just as multi-layered and genuine. The idea of the short-story is unique – therefore I loved reading „The Silver Braid“!
By the way, it’s not a problem at all to read this short-story in summer even though it takes place around Chrismas! It’s literally more like a welcome cooling ;-)!

 

Q & A with Shanna Hughes

Hey Shanna! I’m really happy to have you on my blog today! Have you always wanted to become a writer?

Thank you so much for inviting me! When I was young, I always wanted to become a writer (or an actress). My parents, naturally, told me to get a real job, but I wanted one that involved writing. I ended up with a BA in business communication and worked as a journalist for several years. Nowadays I work in account management at an international company that focuses on affiliate marketing.

I started writing when I was young and the first story I wrote was about a Princess in Pink. During my early teens I didn’t write much; I became too focused on horses and horse riding. I picked up writing again when I was sixteen. From that moment, I never stopped–except for the occasional block that I had no idea how to deal with!

When did you start to write the „The Silver Braid“? And when and how did you get the idea for your  short-story?

Funny you should ask! I actually wrote it over Christmas in 2014 when I was visiting my family in the Netherlands. I had a few hours to spare during my visit, so I wrote. It didn’t take me long to write a first draft, and then revised for about a month, almost on a daily basis.

The idea for this story was born when–I believe it was mid-2012–I signed up for a „Write a Soldier“ campaign and I was connected to a US soldier called Leigha. Her spirit and mindset inspired me to write about a fierce, ass-kicking heroine who has to save the world on a regular basis. I asked Leigha for her permission to use her name and wrote down the basic idea I had, but nothing more. In the end, it took two years of thinking about where I wanted the story to go before I actually wrote it. Once I sat down and started writing, I couldn’t stop. I think my parents were a little annoyed at how I spent my Christmas, haha.

The funny thing is that it was always intended to be a short story, but now… there’s so much more to Leigha I’d like to share with you! So The Silver Braid Heritage is going to be a collection of stories… expect to see more from Leigha in the future!

How is your writing process? Are you a plotter or a pantser? And how well do you plan your characters and story before you start writing?

I’m definitely a plotter nowadays, but I wasn’t always! I used to start writing with just a basic idea in mind. Quite often I knew where and how I wanted it to end, but I had nothing in between. That killed me–most of the stories that stuff I never finished, because I had no idea how to get to that end and everything I wrote was just Short and Very Boring. The reason why The Silver Braid came out so smoothly was–and I only realized this after I finished–because I had everything planned. I knew where to start, which event would follow after that, etc. And it worked.

A few months ago I stumbled upon Susan Dennard’s website (thanks Sooz!!!) and she has all these amazing articles about plotting, characters, world building, writing, editing; everything is there. It was only then that I realized I’d been plotting all along: that’s why I could write The Silver Braid so quickly! Since reading Susan’s articles, I outline every chapter before I write it. Magical Cookies and Skeleton Bones rule!

So you’ve got a full-time job. How do manage both your job and writing at the same time?

Simple: I eat behind my PC as I’m working and use my lunch break for writing! I’m not kidding. I work 9-6 with an hour for lunch and instead of getting away from my PC, I use it to work on my story. The reason for this is that when I get home from work, I know I’m shattered and it’s very likely that I’ll hold off on writing. This way I usually write something during the week days.

I usually arrive early at work to catch up on my e-mail etc., but quite often during the drive to work I will daydream about my stories (it’s a wonder I haven’t had an accident yet–I feel like I completely zone out) so by the time I arrive at work, I know what the chapter is going to be about and I use my lunch break to write it.

I don’t often write when I get home during the week, but I will write during the weekends, though I’ve found that my lunch break is almost always my productive moment of the day. I carry my notebook with me wherever I go nowadays, so I can write ideas down when inspiration hits me.

You’re working on your first novel at the moment. Would you like to tell us a bit about it?

Oh, tough one since I’m still working on it! It’s called Starstruck and it’s a young adult, stand-alone novel. The short synopsis below is subject to change. 😉

It follows the story of Megan Richardson, an antisocial sixteen-year-old who struggles with a strange empathic ability. She must determine why she keeps having these strange dreams of popular Hollywood actor Keith Dale. When they finally meet in real life, the stars collide… and strange things happen.

That’s all I can tell you I’m afraid, otherwise I’m going to give everything away!

Also, vielleicht hat ja der/die eine oder andere von euch Lust Shannas Kurzgeschichte zu lesen und sie weiterzuempfehlen, wenn sie gefällt! Ich jedenfalls fand sie super und kann euch nur ans Herz legen, sie ebenfalls zu lesen! Und ich bin mir sicher, dass wir in Zukunft noch mehr von Shanna zu lesen bekommen!
Bis bald!
Eure Kim
So, go and read Shanna’s short-story! And if you like it, it would be awesome, if you’d share it with the rest of the world ;-)! At least I personally loved the story, so I really recommend you to give it a try, too! And I’m positive we’ll get to read more by Shanna in the future!
 
Until then!
 
Yours, Kim
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