NK Chats To… S.L Briden

Hello. Thank you so much for joining me today. Can you tell me about From the Ashes, the first novel in your Shadows of a Phoenix series and how the idea originated?

Since a young age, I’ve always been fascinated with the Arthurian legend and, later on in life, the dark ages of the UK. My late husband shared this fascination with me and together we spent many years researching myths and legends across the UK.

From our research, we discovered that the roman era of the UK displayed strong possibilities that their gladiators who used two swords in their arena’s, could have extended this battle technique over to the UK. Thus, we drafted the series, ‘Shadows of a Phoenix.’

I’ve always loved reading and writing stories but over the years I’ve found that some fantasy stories, including historic ones, tell of the battles and feats of the heroes and heroines conquers but didn’t give a realistic feeling of how anyone would cope mentally to be a part of it, even if the characters are made up and can perform sorcery.

To believe you would be brave and just carry on with life as normal was completely absurd to me, the same as if the weight of a prophecy was placed on your shoulders which states that you are the one to bring peace, so that is where the idea came to me that there needed to be a story out there that showed the true effects these things could have upon someone and the mistakes they make along the way.

That a prophecy is nothing to be rejoiced about when you are the one prophesied.


What is your typical writing day like? Are you the kind of writer that needs endless amounts of coffee? Do you prefer silence? When and where do you like to write?

I mainly write in the evening at home but most of the time it’s not in silence. I write with my headphones on and listen to music to connect to me with different scenes that I’m writing.

I begin with a playlist that I add different scores to, to fit each scene, character or specific occurrence, be it just a single track or numerous ones for the same scene I am writing.

If whilst writing my draft I believe the track is suited to another scene, or it no longer inspires me, I simply move the track up, down or delete it.

I am always adding more tracks to each scene and deleting others whilst writing the novel which by the end of it gives me a musical outline of the story


Which fictional character would you like to meet and why?

Daenerys Targaryen. Putting aside that she’s turned into a mad queen toward the end of the Game of Thrones, she started as a scared young girl and turned into an amazing leader who sought to abolish slavery. Ok, and she can command dragons! lol


What’s your favourite word?

Muppet — I can be one myself at times lol


What are the challenges of writing a series of books?

I love writing and can’t seem to stop. I don’t want to stop. From the moment me and my late husband drafted Shadows of a Phoenix to me setting to work at writing the first novel alone after he’d passed, has made me realize that dreams can still be achieved — mine is creating epic stories with realism to them that I can share with the world.

I think the challenges though in writing a series is that it is very time-consuming, but with enough dedication and planning, these challenges can be overcome.


What’s your process for planning a novel?

I start with a timeline draft of what events I want to occur and when. I then write a rough draft of the entire book. From there I go over the book again, adding more and more detail and polishing up my characters’ interactions. It doesn’t stop there though.

I then go over the book, sending chapters to my editor for feedback, etc… Once that is done, the final stage is going through the whole thing again, tidying up and making sure it is exactly how I want it to be.


Are you able to tell me a little about the next book in the series and what we can expect?

Nothing is ever as it seems with Shadows of a Phoenix. In the next book titled Wings of the Sword, David, Andrew and Arread face a new threat from a situation none of them could have envisioned to occur.

We also discover who Arread actually is and why there has been so much secrecy over her background, plus David revisits a tyrant of his past when Arread gets sick.


How do you approach the editing process and what’s the most common mistake that new writers make?

I believe editing is a must for all written work, but I seriously recommend having an outside source to do so. No matter how many times you go through a novel, there will always be a typo you have missed, so just be mindful of this.


Do you think a character or plot is more important?

Absolutely. The story must lead to somewhere just as the characters you have created needing to develop through the book/series with their personalities and traits.

If you think back to a few years ago, you may think differently on certain things and have matured on certain aspects of situations. A plot and character need to do the same so show a realism to them.


Any other advice for new writers?

Don’t give up and never be afraid to express yourself in your writing. There is a story in everyone. 


About S.L Briden:

Born and raised in Sussex on the south coast of England, S.L Briden is a freelance writer and business owner with deep interests in the Dark Ages history of the UK. Inspired by the age-old myths and legends of King Arthur, she loves creating historic fantasy tales full of adventure and edge-of-your-seat suspense.

For fun, S.L Briden loves travelling and can often be found up and down the UK, delving into the legends of the places she visits. She loves the forest trails of her country and the dramatic coastlines of Cornwall. 

When she was widowed in her 30s, S.L Briden focused on writing ‘Shadows of a Phoenix’–an epic, historic fantasy series that she drafted with her late husband. She hopes to inspire other young widows not to give up on their dreams, whatever they may be.

Find out more at https://www.slbriden.com/


About From The Ashes:

For David and Andrew, Knights of the Phoenix Order, it was a simple mission… escort a young woman to the safety of the Order’s fortified citadel, but in the midst of a simmering war, a chance discovery sends young David down a path he could never have imagined…

Arread, their beautiful and haughty charge, bears the mark of a powerful sorceress, one whose mystic abilities make her the ultimate weapon in the coming war. David prefers to place his trust in cold steel rather than the fickle powers of the arcane but he soon finds himself drawn to the mysterious and tempestuous woman…

When dark forces led by the cruel and sinister General Sicarus kidnap Arread, the young knight is torn between his oath to the Order and the yearning in his heart. As battle rages across the land, David and Arread discover they are both swept up in an ancient prophecy, from which there may be no escape.

And soon they may be forced to sacrifice everything they hold dear, to stem the growing tide of darkness…

Click here to view From The Ashes on Amazon UK.


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I’m Laura. I started Novel Kicks in 2009. I wanted a place to post my writing as well as give other writers like me the opportunity to do the same. There is also a monthly book club, a writing room which features writing prompts, book reviews, competitions, author interviews and guest posts.

I grew up by the sea (my favourite place in the world) and I currently live in Hampshire. I am married to Chris, have a cat named Buddy and I would love to be a writer. I’m trying to write the novel I’ve talked so much about writing if only I could stop pressing delete. I’ve loved writing since creative writing classes in primary school. I have always wanted to see my teacher Miss Sayers again and thank her for the encouragement. When not trying to write the novel or writing snippets of stories on anything I can get my hands on, I love reading, dancing like a loon and singing to myself very badly. My current obsession is Once Upon a Time and I would be happy to live with magic in the enchanted forest surrounded by all those wonderful stories provided that world also included Harry Potter. I love reading chick lit. contemporary fiction and novels with mystery.

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