11 Oct 2013

Guest post with fantasy author Keren Hughes

What inspired me to write the Freedom of Souls series
Firstly, let me tell you a little bit about myself. My name is Keren Hughes and I am 30 years old. I am your typical Leo; feisty, fun and a little bit loud. I have a 6 year old son called Calum whom I adore; he is my world.
I live in the UK, not far from Birmingham in the West Midlands. I have always enjoyed reading since I knew what the written word was. In my younger days, I used to spend my Summer holidays (6 week off from school) reading books like What Katy Did, What Katy Did Next, Black Beauty, David Copperfield, The Hobbit and I read a lot of Point Horror books such as R.L Stine’s The Boyfriend.
When I was a teenager, I wrote 2 books. One was called The Angel of Death and was about a babysitter who killed all the children left in her charge. The second one was called Skye’s Secret but I don’t really remember so much what that was about.
Back then, I never thought it would be possible for me to be a published author. Little did I know back then that at 29 years old, I would be offered a publishing contract for a series I had written the first book for.
My first book is called Stolen and is with my editor as we speak. Also, my cover is in the process of being designed and I am really looking forward to the finished result.
So, what actually inspired me to write Stolen? Well, it’s more who than what. Author Kira Saito and I struck up a friendship when I first began my journey as a book reviewer 2 years ago. She kept telling me that I should write. She loved that I wrote such in depth reviews and thought that I had the talent to write a book and publish it.
Last year, I had an operation on my spine in October and this led to me having a lot of time on my hands whilst I recovered. I was reading and reviewing a lot of books and Kira told me it was the perfect time to start writing.
I had had the idea for Stolen in my head for about a year, but had only ever written a few notes. I looked at what I had and knew that with courage and perseverance, I could turn it into a novel. I had first planned to self-publish as I have a fear of rejection and didn’t want to get one after another from publishers.
This is the synopsis for Stolen:
“Roshanna O'Dare wakes in her own home with part of her memory missing and is shocked when she finds her parents dead in their home. With no family, or any clues as to what happened to her parents, Roshanna makes a plan to move away from Cypress Hill to Texas, Austin, to live with her last living relative, Uncle Joe after the funeral. But it means leaving her best friend, Marissa Mason behind.
During her Uncle’s visit, she meets his chauffeur, Bodhi Vincent, who seems to understand Roshanna in a way no one else has. Bodhi is her rock after the death of her parents and the longer she stays with him while with her uncle, the closer they become.
Before moving away, Roshanna is confronted with a shocking secret that Marissa had kept from her, a secret that changes how she sees life and the people in it—Marissa is a pure soul and her foster parents are soul drainers who need her pure energy to survive.
Marissa gives Roshanna an amulet, knowing she will want to search for her parents’ souls and, after moving to Texas, Roshanna does just that, even as she begins to wonder how she'll ever find her parents' souls or track down the man that stole them.
When Roshanna goes back to Cypress Hill to talk to Marissa’s foster parents, she finds out that her best friend kept another secret from her.
Will Roshanna find her parents' souls and set them free? Will she find love along the way?”

What inspired the story? Well, I have always wanted to write something paranormal and this novel is a YA Paranormal Romance.
I obviously wanted to try to write something that hadn’t been written before and I felt that this storyline was intriguing.
I started writing in the October, took December off due to preparations for Christmas, and then started writing again in January. I finished in February and sat back to think about my options for publishing.
I must admit, I procrastinated for ages. I wanted it to be good enough for a publisher, but at the same time, I didn’t think it would be. I have very low self-esteem, and this forced me to sit and evaluate the situation.
A couple of authors I was friends with read my manuscript and told me to submit it to their publisher. So I eventually did. Another friend knew how I felt about rejection and so she asked someone at her publishers to read it to see if it was any good.
The result of this was offers of contracts from BOTH of the publishers. I chose to accept the contract from Limitless Publishing.

I felt this was the best contract for me, though I am totally grateful that the other company also offered me something.
So, my book is in edits. My cover is being done. I am sat nervously awaiting my first round of edits but it’s the best feeling because I know that my editor, Kathryn, will help me make my manuscript the very best version of itself.
All in all, I am amazed at how far I have come and it’s all thanks to Kira-Kat for pushing me to do what she knew I could.
I was offered my contract in August, just before my 30th birthday. So when we went on holiday for my birthday, I had a glass of cava with my birthday cake to celebrate becoming a published author. When we returned from holiday, I had an appointment at my local tattoo shop to get a tattoo in honour of becoming an author. The idea was to have a quill and ink well but somehow I wanted to incorporate the LP logo. This was the result:

It’s on my left forearm as I am left-handed. My friend Sophie came up with the idea of having my publishers logo on the label of the ink well and I think it’s proved to be a fantastic idea. I LOVE my tattoo!!
Thank you for coming and reading what inspired me to write. You can add my book to your Goodreads TBR list here.

If you want to contact me, here are some links. I love to hear from readers, reviewers and just anyone who is interested in my book.
Goodreads author profile
Facebook author profile
Facebook book page
Facebook Author Page
I look forward to hearing from you!
Thank you Suzy for asking what inspired me to write! I enjoyed giving you an answer!

It's an absolute pleasure, Keren! :)

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Hiya! Thanks so much for stopping by the Fiction Dreams site. If you have the time, I'd love to hear from you so please do leave a comment :D xx