Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Interview with Shanae Branham

1. What inspired you to become an author?

Although I was discouraged as a child to pursue writing, I have always loved to tell stories. When I was young and would write plays at home and bring them to my fifth grade teacher, she told me I could never succeed at writing. The same was true in high school. It wasn’t until I was in college that I found out I had dyslexia. With this diagnosis, I was able to begin learning to write in “out-of-the-box” ways. I became a master at diagramming sentences. I looked at language as most people would look at solving math problems. I write because I love to write. It has taken me more than twenty years to learn to write on a professional level. My inspiration has not come from authors, but motivational speakers whose messages have told me to never give up on my dreams.

I was interviewed on Live On Purpose Radio about my experience. If you are interested in hearing it, you can go to  The episode is called, Can the Can’t.

2. Do you have a specific writing style?

I am a screenplay writer. I use storytelling techniques from screenplay books to plot out my novels. That is probably why many of my readers have told me that reading DiSemblance felt more like watching a movie than reading a book.

3. Do you write in different genres?

The first novel I ever wrote was a “genre” mess. The agent who was looking at selling it told me that he liked my writing, but I had inappropriately blended together three different genres and he did not know how to fix it. I was so frustrated that I went home and literally burned the manuscript in a burn barrel. Next, I chose to write two fantasy novels, but was too chicken to try and sell them. Then, I wrote DiSemblance, my first young adult techno-thriller novel.

By now, I understand how to cross genres effectively. Officially, DiSemblance could be classified as science fiction, but it’s not really Sci-Fi because I did not create a new, futuristic world. Instead, my main character’s father invented a hologram machine. I like playing with the “what if” part of sci-fi. Add in a mystery, plus a deadly plot twist and now you have a fast-paced, suspenseful novel. Some book reviewers have even classified DiSemblance as paranormal, because there are times in the book when you don’t know what is real or not.

3. How did you come up with the title for your latest book?

As I was writing DiSemblance, I called the book Abductions. When I found out a movie was being released by that same title, I went searching for a new title that would add a deeper meaning to the theme of my book. I chose DiSemblance because the dictionary term, dissemblance, means the state of being disguised or concealed behind a false appearance.

4. Do you title the book first or wait until after it’s complete?

I always title the book first because it gives me a general sketch of the tone of the book. Many times, the title changes before it is finished.

5. What is your current “work in progress” or upcoming projects?

DiSemblance sets the stage for three more books. I am currently working on the second book, Boston’s Quest.   …Someone has hooked the hologram machine up to the internet and is forcing kidnapped victims to fight for their lives inside an online computer game.
I love to blog about the current book I am writing. You can check it out at

6. Can you share a little of your current work with us?

DiSemblance is written in third person with two main perspectives: Jason and Bruce. With Boston’s Quest, I decided to cater to my female readers. I am writing first person through Boston’s perspective. Although, I may add one or two more character’s perspectives. It is too soon to tell for sure. I have included a short scene at the beginning of the new book as seen through Boston’s perspective.

I sit in the back seat as Bruce climbs into the driver’s seat and Jason slides into the passenger’s side. The garage door opens. The police vehicle backs out and then rolls down the street. The tension inside the car is so thick I feel like I might suffocate. We move through the neighborhood in complete silence, stopping only once to let Jason out to ride my motorcycle home.
 “Thanks,” I say, twenty minutes later when Bruce stops in front of my house. Jason is already there. He has parked my Nighthawk and is climbing into the front of the car as I climb out the back.
“Wait,” he says, rolling down his window so he can hand me my motorcycle key.
Our hands touch. “Good luck,” I say.
“Have a good life,” he says.
I nod and the car takes off down the street. As I walk towards my doorway, I feel lonelier than I have ever felt before.
7. Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

Right now, I have been challenged with getting permission to use an online game like World of Warcraft in my story. After speaking to the legal head at blizzard entertainment, I decided to use the characters I created in a fantasy novel I wrote to design my own online computer game to use in Boston’s Quest. I contracted with a computer programmer to help me.

8. Is the book, characters, or any scenes based on a true life experience, someone you know, or events in your own life?

No. If any of my characters resemble people that I know, it is only by coincidence. Many people have asked me to write about the year and a half I lived in Russia just after the Coup of 1991. I have chosen not to do so because it was one of the hardest experiences in my life.

Shanae Branham

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Shanae Branham

Genre:  Techno-thriller 
Subgenres: Sci-fi, suspense, mystery, paranormal

ISBN: ISBN-10: 1477527761
ISBN-13: 978-1477527764

Number of pages:  272 pages

Word Count:  55, 894

Book Description:

Jason Tanner lives between two worlds. Problem is, only one is real.

As a computer prodigy, Jason has spent his life with limited social contact due to his father’s secretive work on a hologram machine that can create digital immortality. When his father is murdered and framed as the Comfort Killer, Jason is targeted as the killer’s new fall guy. Having spent much of his youth living in the virtual world his father created, he must now go on the run if he is going to save himself, his brother, and the beautiful girl next door.

An exciting, action-packed ride to a future happening today, Shanae Branham's modern techno thriller is the perfect exhilarating adrenaline rush for a technosavvy generation. Expertly weaving cutting-edge technology with almost unbearable suspense, she crafts a wild, white-knuckled thriller that pushes the boundaries of science. Full of intensity and extraordinary vision, DiSemblance attacks the senses as it challenges the mind and imagination.

“Branham does a brilliant job creating suspense….She ramps up the tension by keeping readers guessing over the identities of Jason’s foes and about how Jason’s situation ties in with the hunt for the killer.”

“Jason’s love for his father and his motivation to find out what happened to him are particularly refreshing.”

“The characters of Jason and Isaac are … cool enough to rise to the occasion … making readers feel like they are rooting for real young men.”~  Jill Allen, Clarion Review (4 Stars)

About the Author:

I am a professional writer with a bachelor's degree in creative writing and a minor in grammar. I have also attended several years of classes and workshops in screenplay writing at the Los Angeles Screenplay writer's Expo.

I love suspense thrillers and am a master at plot and character development. I enjoy stories with happy endings. I promise all my readers that when they put one of my books down or walk away from one of my movies, they will be enthused with excitement and joy. This does not mean there will not be some sad parts, because you have to feel the bitter in order to understand the sweet.

I was born and raised in a small town in Idaho. I am the second out of six children. When I was in my early 20's my mother was killed by a drunk driver. This one incident drastically changed my life. I have always had a passion for reading and writing fiction. Owing to a life long struggle with Dyslexia, early teachers discouraged me from pursuing a career in writing.

As I have spent over twenty years wrestling with my language disabilities-turning them into professional writing skills, God has honed my insatiable passion into an incredible vision.

My Christian upbringing has instilled within me the belief that "...with God nothing shall be impossible" (Luke 1:37). This has sustained me through the hard times. Because of my language disability, I have had to learn the structure of the English language like other people learn math - building block upon building block.

I am grateful for this experience because it developed in me a skill and love for diagramming sentences, which unfortunately is becoming a lost art.

I want my life to be a living testament that with God's help anyone can achieve their worthwhile dreams. What God requires is the humility to change, a childlike teach-ability to learn, and the patience and persistence to practice and work until their weaknesses are transformed into strengths.

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Unknown said...

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