Saturday, March 9, 2013

Interview with Shanae Branham Author of DiSemblance

1. Please share a little about yourself, your genres, any other pen names you use.

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 I 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.

2. Are you a mom (or parent)?

Yes, I am a mother of six children who were all born in a ten year span.

3. If yes do you find it hard to juggle writing and parenting?

When I finally graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Creative writing with a minor in grammar, I had four kids under the age of six. I started a master’s degree in creative writing, but dropped out of the program after a year when I became pregnant with my fifth child. Since then, I have continued to write in my spare time. As my kids leave home, I have found more and more time to focus on my writing career.  Juggling writing and parenting isn’t easy. It takes flexibility, focus, and persistence. Flexibility because you have to be willing to stop what you are doing at the drop of a hat and pick the train of thought up later when everyone is settled or the kids have been put to bed. Focus because without focus you will never complete any writing project or task. With kids, there are always diversions that can throw you off track. Persistence because things will come up that you don’t expect. When everyone gets sick and the hours you had set aside for writing get put on hold to comfort a sick child, you can’t get discouraged. You have to believe a time will come where everyone will eventually be well again.

4. What would your readers be surprised to learn about you?

I was in Moscow, Russia during the 1991 coup with a three month old baby. I saw tanks roll down the city streets. In a parking lot amid a huge crowd, I watched Yeltsin proclaim independence. Three months after that, I was on the other side of Russia in a small town above Japan. My husband, my baby, and I were sight seeing with some Russian friends. We stopped to take a picture of a bridge. The Russian guards stationed nearby shot at our car. My husband was taken away at gunpoint. He had our money and my passport. I could not speak the Russian language. It took forty-five long, agonizing minutes for the KGB to interrogate him. As I waited, wondering what would happen to me and my baby if he did not return, I swore to myself that I would never be that vulnerable or naïve again.

5. If this book is part of a series…what is the next book? Any details you can share?

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. Have you ever based your book or characters on actual events or people from your own life?

Not on purpose. 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. I have chosen not to do so because it was one of the hardest experiences in my life.

7. Is there a theme or message in your work that you would like readers to connect to?

As a mother of six children, my concern about the negative effects too much television, video, and computer games have on young people led me to choose digital reality as the subject of my first young adult techno-thriller novel.  I wanted to play with the idea that there can be a point where digital reality can seem so real that you lose track of where you are -- thus the name DiSemblance, which means the state of being disguised or concealed behind a false appearance. Realizing that this theme will not carry on into the next three novels in this series, I am currently researching relationships. I would like my next novels to deal with healing relationships.

Cheers, 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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