Sheshena Pledger considers herself to be a military brat, having spent the first seventeen years of her life traveling around the United States and abroad with her active duty parents. Although she attended three different high schools in two different countries, she was still able to graduate from High School in the Top Ten percentile of her graduating class. She went on to obtain both a B.A. in Media Arts and a M.B.A. in Business Administration with academic distinction.
After obtaining her Master's Degree in 2007 and working as a Revenue Officer for the U.S. Treasury for her first full year, Labor Day rolled around and it was the first September since before preschool that she didn't have to start new classes for a new school year, so she pursued her lifetime goal: writing a novel. Ms. Pledger started writing Secrets Unveiled that day, which she cites as her greatest achievement. She currently resides on Long Island, New York, where she is actively working on her second novel.
Ella: Hello Sheshena! Introduce us to your book, Secrets Unveiled.
Secrets Unveiled is a thrilling crime noir about a notorious crime family's ongoing fued with their biggest rival. The story unfolds to reveal how one family's deepest secrets can become another family's bait, used to hook their enemy and reel them in for the kill. The novel contemplates the role that family plays in self-discovery, weighing a gained sense of belonging against an individual's loss of control. Is there always guilt by association? Is our destiny pre-determined? The plot goes on to reveal that it is a slippery slope on which we travel, when one family's secrets can be another family's bait.
Ella: Finish this sentence: I am Powerful because...
I am Powerful because... I have a voice.
Ella: Where are you from? How did you start your writing journey?
I’m a military-brat. Both of my parents were in the Army during the first seventeen years of my life, and I did a lot of traveling. So, I guess you could say I’m from a little of everywhere. I was born in El Paso, TX. I spent a few years in other parts of Texas, South Carolina, Georgia, Germany, Louisiana, and a year in Kansas. But I’ve been living in New York for the past five years.
I started writing when I was in elementary school. But it was music. Songs. One of my friends and I use to write songs together. And then I eventually began writing on my own. Which led to other interests, such as poetry when I was a teenager. When I got to college, I realized how easy writing was for me after writing paper after paper and being able to go on and on about any given topic with minimal effort. But I didn’t really realize my interests in writing until the first September that rolled around after I’d finished Grad. School, and for the first time since I could remember…I didn’t have to go to school. I had all this free time on my hand, and I needed something to fill it. So on Labor Day, I sat in front of the computer and just started typing. And by the end of the first page, I felt like I had finally found what my life had been missing. So I continued writing. Day after day. Until I finished my first novel, Secrets Unveiled.
Ella: Who are your two main characters and what do you like most about them?
The main character of Secrets Unveiled is Nicholas Miller. Nick, as he’s most commonly referred to as, is what could be considered the protagonist of the story. He’s the guy everyone likes. But what I like about him is his laid back nature and personality, his hustle, and the way he analyzes things. He’s the type of guy that almost everyone can identify with in some way. And he has a unique sense of humor that is both relieving and surprising at times. But most of all, I like his heart. He’s not afraid to do whatever needs to be done in any given situation, no matter what the cost.
On the other side of the story is the Harris Family, who may be considered the antagonist of the story. They’re a family that consists of criminal-minded individuals who have a very personal vendetta against Nicholas Miller and his family. A beef that comes to the forefront on the day that Secrets Unveiled takes place. What I like most about the Harris Family is their criminal savvy, ruthless nature, and how they operate. They have certain principles that they abide by, yet they’re also notorious for committing crimes of an extremely offensive nature. But they’re very organized in their operations and keen on how they conduct their business.
Ella: What makes your book stand out and would entice a reader to pick it up?
Secrets Unveiled stands out because it is one story that’s really told two completely different ways, in a sense. From two very distinct voices that basically oppose each other. It’s a novel that takes the reader through both sides of a very unique story. It’s told both in present day and past tense. But the story unfolds within one suspenseful, action-packed, thrilling day. A day that’s filled with events that turn out to be completely surprising, unexpected, and unnerving for everyone involved, including those who set the events into motion to begin with.
Secrets Unveiled is a story that will appeal to readers from sixteen to sixty. There’s a character in there for everyone. And the voices of the characters are unique to each character, so the language of the story is upbeat, vibrant, urban, and explicit enough for young readers while remaining to be compelling and non-offensive to older readers. I think that the thing that would most entice a reader to pick up Secrets Unveiled is it’s unpredictable, suspenseful, roller coaster plot. You never know what you’re going to get or when you’re going to get it. Key parts of the story are scattered throughout the book, so the reader never knows what to expect as they’re reading. And additionally, the chapter titles of Secrets Unveiled are a mixture of titles from movies, shows and songs to quotes from various sources from Nikki Giovanni to Jay-Z, adding an added element of suspense to readers.
Ella: Ultimately, what do you want readers to gain from your book?
More than anything, I just want readers to enjoy a good story. I want them to read Secrets Unveiled and enjoy it the entire way through. And I want them to feel something from the story. Anything. Whether it be a tickle in the stomach from Nick’s sense of humor or unsettled by the Harris Family’s brutal nature. I just want them to be able to read the story and have some kind of reaction from it.
Ella: What is the most surprising thing you have learned in creating books?
The most surprising thing I’ve learned from creating books is how many books are out there. There’s a book on everything, and the book industry is swamped with hardbacks and paperbacks on every topic known to man. Thus, it’s a hard industry to really break through.
Ella: What would you say has been your most significant achievement as a writer? I’m not sure that I’ve achieved my most significant achievement just yet. So, I’ll have to get back to you.
Ella: What advice would you give a new writer? Would you change anything?
I’d tell anyone who’s taking their first steps into the book industry to do it because they like to write or because they like the topic they’re writing about. Don’t do it solely for financial gain or any other reason other than it’s something you enjoy doing. And do adequate research on the book industry, publishing process and the challenges for newcomers and veterans in the industry. And to start this research early on and well before they finish writing their book. Also, read what’s already out there in your genre. Reading good examples of how stories could and should be told is a priceless education on how to write a story yourself.
If I could change anything about my journey as a writer, it would probably be the extent of my research on the industry and the services that are available to authors. Having a better idea of what was available to me early on in the publishing process could've saved me a lot of time in the long run. And researching the reputation and qualityof a lot of the services that are readily available could've saved me a lot of unnecessary distress.
Ella: Name 3 things that it takes to make a successful author, in your opinion?
In my opinion, three things it takes to make a successful author are a passion for writing or the subject matter the book is based on, the ability to take all criticism and feedback to one’s advantage, and never-ending persistence.
Ella: What can we expect from you in the future?
You can expect more novels from me in the future. I have a lot of stories in me that are aching to get out, but more so a passion for writing that I cannot ignore.
Ella: Share with us your latest news, events or upcoming book releases.
Secrets Unveiled II: The True Miss Harris is the next installment of Secrets Unveiled, and it should be out by this Fall. I will also be starting my own blog coming February, which will consist of short stories, poetry, and general blogging about topics of various natures that are of particular interest to me.
Ella: Can we get your contact info?
Author: Sheshena Pledger
Book: Secrerts Unveiled
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