The Creative Minds of Oklahoma – Laura Hughes
The Creative Minds of Oklahoma is a new weekly feature that will tell the story of people around Oklahoma and their contributions to art, music, film, dance and literature.
Writers have the ability to turn what is fantasy and create a living breathing world that teleports the reader into a grand adventure. They are able to use the power of words to paint powerful images with the help of the greatest artist of all, the imagination.
One such author takes these skills and creates a world with magic and fantasy, this wordsmith is Laura Hughes creator of ‘The Sara Chronicles.’
Laura was born in the state of Connecticut; her father was in the Navy so she moved around the country when he would get transferred to another base. As the years progressed she would go from military kid to spouse when she married her husband Dave, who joined the Air Force and is now retired. They reside in Altus with their daughter Sara.
During the day Laura is a R.N at Jackson County Memorial Hospital. At night she takes out her notebooks, a pen, computer, and a crime drama to play in the background as she crafts a magical world filled with adventure in the ever-lasting battle of good and evil.
Before ‘The Sara Chronicles’ was put on paper and in the digital frontier, Laura would make up stories for her daughter and each story would be more detailed and have more wonder than the last.
“I used to tell her stories, everybody wants to be the hero of their own story,” Hughes said. “That’s where it started and I thought that it could actually go further, so each time it did.”
Laura explained that whenever a good idea to add to the story strikes her she will write it down on a notebook or a post it note.
Although her daughter is now a teenager, she will still contribute to the story by giving her mother suggestions on where the story could go next and Laura will write them down in her notes.
When Laura began writing the series she started by self-publishing on her blog and other websites where writers display their work.
Laura was then picked up by a publishing company called ‘Tate Publishing’ and in 2008 with their help she released the first book of the series ‘The Beginning.’
‘The Beginning’ starts off with our hero Sara who is living a miserable life with her adopted family, The Finklesteins. They are not taking proper care of her, not feeding her, loving her or even providing her proper clothes. They are treating her like she is nothing and yet during the whole ordeal she keeps a level head and keeps saying to herself “Do not let their neglect get down, do not become full of hate like the Finklesteins.”
After going through verbal abuse about getting an ‘F’ on the Finklesteins biological daughter’s report, Sara is then transported to a magical world, The Land of the Keepers, with the forces of evil known as The Garren, are upsetting the balance of good and evil. It is up to Sara to locate the Healing Stone and find a powerful Guardian named Olie that will help restore the balance.
The mission of finding Olie is in the first entry and other books have Sara and her companions partaking different missions each more challenging than the last.
There are currently five books in the series and but Laura has plans to end the series after the seventh entry.
“The storyline dictates that I have to go one book further, I’m working on book six now, but in order to wrap it up I have to go one more,” she said. “You can only go so far in one story and then you just have to wrap it up and in order to make it all fit I have to go to the seventh to have it all make sense.”
Readers have compared her work to Harry Potter, both characters were raised in a harsh home and both were meant for greatness. Laura explained that she actually has not read Harry Potter series but has plans to read the books after she completes ‘The Sara Chronicles.’
As the series continues the books also become more detailed and action oriented. Hughes explains that her books are great for kids and adults for the theme is mature enough for adults to enjoy and the action is not overly violent for kids to enjoy.
Laura is also working on re-releasing the current released entries with improved cover art. She has been working alongside with Joe Pee, a freelance artist from New Zealand on the artwork whom she found on the website freelanced.com where freelance artist display their work and find clients wanting to hire them for their artistic ability.
“As an artist, we create our client’s favorite, not our own favorite,” Pee said. “It is more challenging to do something that didn’t even cross your mind ten minutes ago rather than doing what you’ve kept in mind for years.”
Pee's path as an artist began when he was a young boy when he drew a picture of a dragon. When he showed it to his uncle, he mistook it as a snake and this drove Pee to become a better artist.
Pee is currently working on multiple comic book projects as well as novel and children's book projects.
Pee's favorite method is using digital painting and Photoshop. He says that as an artist he always has a pen and sketchbook with and takes it everywhere he goes.
Laura also had her first book signing event on Jan 19, at Hastings in Altus. Laura explained that she has more book signing events scheduled and that she is currently working with Tate to book other events in Oklahoma City and Lawton.
Laura keeps a daily blog that keeps her followers informed of her progress as well having excerpts from her released books. Her blog also contains short stories that she works on as well. To view her work visit http://laurasday-laura.blogspot.com/