Name :Rob Shepherd
Where are you from:
A little about your self `ie your education Family life etc :
In terms of family I am the youngest of 3 sons. But definitely the most talented and handsome. I am married to Michelle with 1 son Daniel. Both of whom despair greatly at both my ability to annoy, my madness, willingness to embarrass them in public and my inability to form any kind of effective working relationship with any form of modern technology. As for education. There isn’t much to say, it is all very basic, I wasn’t the most academic of kids and I left college with little more than I began. Although I did somehow manage a science qualification, not that it means anything now because it is no longer recognised. But that’s the way life goes.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
Latest news from me is that I have, as some may have already noticed, released a couple of short stories direct to kindle as a thank you and as an experiemnt to see how they get on. I am currently waiting on confirmation as to my next official book release, which is taking a little longer due to some unforeseen technical issues with getting the desired book design completed to be able to go to print. I am progressing with my next book. As to whether it will end up as a novella or a full novel is yet to be decided and ultimately will become clear once I finish actually writing it. And those that enjoyed my book to the film-short by Silentwood Films’ “Sofiah” will hopefully be pleased to know that there are more film projects of different kinds in the pipeline.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I can’t remember not writing to be honest. I think I have always written something down but for most of my younger life, I never used it for anything let alone showed it to anybody. It wasn’t really for anyone, just me. It was like a form of company and a way to excise the different darknesses that permeated my head for much of my childhood.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I don’t know if I ever did. I still have a problem referring to myself like that now. I just write things down that maybe if I am blessed in some twisted way, others get enjoyment from as well.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
It was oddly, a strange off the cuff remark during a rather amusingly odd conversation with a friend. The conversation seemed to progress around the particular remark and before long I had already written down the first scene of the book.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
I don’t know if I have a particular writing style, I would find it difficult to say, my readers would probably be best placed to say that if I do. But I do think that all my books and stories have a commonality and that is a twist or a certain twistedness to them. Nothing is ever all that it seems in my stories. You always have to be prepared to have your assumptions challenged or turned on their head.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
It was rather self explanitory to myself at the time but it can be a little misleading in a way. But it gets its name from both the main characters within the story (the type of characters they are, that is to say) and from the ending of the book, the final page is what really leant the itself to the title by it’s construction. It is hard to explain without giving the story away.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
I guess the message is common throughout all my books. Never judge on face value, there is always something deeper going on inside, sometimes that is for the better and sometimes it is something much darker. But all my stories and books work around the idea that things are not always as they seem and you need to expect the unexpected, even when you have discovered or know all there is to discover and know, there is always something waiting to surprise you and undo everything you thought you knew.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic ?
The most realistic of my books is Sofiah. The others vary. It depends on how you look upon life and reality. There are many things that we think we know are real and unrealistic and yet the strangest of things can turn out to be real and mundane life can be just a persons simple fantasy. Reality is all relative to the experiencer.
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Very rarely do I use real life events or people because there are so many possibilities for me to explore without resorting to personal experience and people I have met along the way. Having said that there is one story where that is the case, but that was mainly down to necessity. The situation was still lingering with me many years later, where I hadn’t resolved it in my own mind and so the story came about mainly as a release mechanism that I was able to finally put some of my own ghosts to bed once and for all. The upside is that it made for a particularly twisted story. But I won’t say which story it is, people can have fun trying to see if they can figure that out for themselves.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? a mentor?
It goes without question really, Imagica by Clive Barker, along with The Books Of Blood. Edgar Alan poe has been a huge influence of the years and Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations. There is so much more to that book that people do not see. They see the surface level mostly and don’t get beyond it, mainly because school use it in the curriculum and that is a death for any decent book.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I am currently reading Viral Snow by PM Barnes. After which I need to get back to reading more TJ & Kris Weeks books so that I can leave a proper review. Then there are the many books that are lined up on my kindle that I really should have read by now.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
There are so many great authors around right now, as for new, I couldn’t say who is new and who has been around for some time. Some would class me as a new author whereas others would say I am new, it all depends on your perspective. I would say simply to read, read as many different authors as possible, and not just from one genre. Read everything you can get your hands on.
Fiona: What are your current projects?
I have a slowly completing new book, with hopefully another book of short stories to follow some time later. There are some film projects to be getting under way, some I am the writer/scriptwriter for, others I co-wrote with others for. There are also some personal projects which I don’t want to say much about, that I hope to at least start experimenting with.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
So many people especially outside family have been wonderful, but there are a key few that to my mind have gone far beyond mere fellow author/artist support. But if you press me on just one particular name, it is always Gregory Norris. He is always doing or saying something to me or others to encourage me or promote me in different ways. But I would like to say hello and a massive thank you to my Official Freakpeep Army who are currently blowing my mind with their help and support of my work.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
No never. Many people do and obviously that is right for them and I have nothing but respect for all writers and however they see the process. But for me, it is never a career and I don’t ever want to see it as one. It is my passion, my blood. I write because I love it and can’t live without doing it, no matter how long the pauses between sessions could be, I will always come back to it. I don’t write for other people. That is very important. Don’t get me wrong, the more people read my worjk the better obviously and the more delighted, proud and honoured I am that they do. But I don’t write for them, I write for myself first and foremost. Writing is my love, my passion, my desire, my darkness, my hate, my hopes, dreams, fantasies and my devotion. Writing is the mistress that can not be denied, it is something I have to do and something that without, inside I die. To me, the moment I see it as a career is the moment the career is over, because the danger is ever present that when you see it as a career, the passion dies and you get into a work routine, that’s when the natural flow of a story is killed off. If I have to set myself specific goals and targets to achieve in terms of words, plots, haracterisation and time spent doing such, I wouldn’t achieve any of them but would achieve killing off the love of the art of writing within myself.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
To be honest, I don’t think I would start it. I would have started something else. This particular book is so complex dynamically and in so many areas that I wouldn’t think of doing it now. Especially when the genre it is losely set in is about to wane in fashion, the trend is going as always to another topic. A trend in books usually spreads throughout genres, not just one.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
The amount of time I spent either in detention at school for one reason or another and the time I spent in libraries or any place with a bookshelf where I wasn’t seen as in the way or trying to amuse and entertain myself. The biggest instigator of the interest would be my English teacher, Mr Smith. He taught me how to really see a story, how to feel the passion within it and how to really love a story.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
As I and Cole rummaged through what little there was in the cupboards, finally settling on a tin of ravioli and some cream crackers, Flo came back down, appearing at the kitchen door with an armful of clothes. After I had finished my strangely tasty concoction of cold ravioli on cream crackers I made way way to the bathroom, at the insistence of Flo to get dressed. Being shut away from society for so long, I didn’t even think about privacy, instead starting to undress in front of both Flo and Alex. After all, inside both the prison and hospital, there was no such thing as true privacy, only so much as for you to feel you were alone, but really, you were doing everything in front of company, one way or another. After a while you just get used to it and don’t even think about it anymore.
She may be defensive, wary and suspicious of any one who isn’t walking around with festering or rotting wounds, but Flo also clearly still retained her eye for fitting clothing. In a house that had belonged to some poor bastard who had either died long ago or made a run for it and died in his escape, Flo had still managed to find clothes that fit me perfectly. Was it just old fashioned luck? Or something more? Maybe fate or serendipity. I don’t know, all I know is that I had to relearn how to get dressed or changed in the bathroom and not in public all over again. These clothes fit perfectly and they felt great after years of starchy patient pyjamas.
After returning to what was the lounge, Cole offered me one of the beers he had managed to rummage up from the kitchen. The three of us sat there on barely usable furniture and said nothing for a few minutes, neither of us seemingly able to create or sustain small talk. After what had felt like an eternity of awkward silence, I managed to muster the ability to speak again.
“I, uh, I just want to thank you both for letting me stay here tonight. And for sharing your rations. I appreciate it. I know it’s a problem to you, so I’ll be gone in the morning, I don’t want to cause you trouble or put in danger or anything.” I stuttered nervously as my brain wrestled desperately, trying to offer me the right words to speak.
“Where are you going to go?” Cole replied quickly and without hesitation. “I don’t know, I’ll keep moving and find a safe house or something eventually. Hell, a bunker will do.” I responded with a certainty that I was surprised of. After all, certainty was the one the thing we didn’t have anymore in this world. Once upon a time we used to say the only certainties were death and taxes, but now, thanks to this madness, even death was a certainty, well not a good one any way.
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
I don’t want to follow a direction others have long trodden. So even if the genre or topic may be the same or similar to what others have done before, the direction and the experience is usually very different. So I am very keenly aware of not structuring my stories out much, if at all, and just let the stories write themselves as I stroke the pen or keyboard. The stories themselves dictate the direction and thus the genre and I follow for the ride sometimes, just keeping them in safe reach of a guidingn hand.
Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
Again it is between Poe, Dickens and Clive Barker for many different reasons but the one common theme is the exploration of darkness within oneself and how that exploration is explained and dictated, if you like, back to us.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
I can do, depending on where I am asked to appear etc. I haven’t been abroad yet but am hoping to travel and appear in the US for my books etc in the next year or so.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
I did initially but laterly they were changed and they have been designed between my publishers and Micki Wolf Art, who is a fantastic artist, photographer and all round creator.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
The writing is fine. The hard part is always making it stand out and grab peoples attention. An interesting and striking cover is essential, but the hardest part is making people want to take a look. With so much choice these days, getting your voice heard is very hard. So marketing/promoting the book in as many places and interesting as many people as possible is very important but very tiring.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
How particular my writing style is. I can’t describe it, oddly for an author, but essentially it is just very different to everyone else I read in some way, quite how I don’t know, but the last book really underlined that notion and defined it for me.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
If you have a passion for writing, you love doing it, and have something to say, whatever it may be, then go for it, don’t let anybody make you feel bad, silly, foolish or that it is a waste of time, it is none of those things, it is always the opposite. Writing will always be there, especially whe you need a voice to help you, people won’t.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Keep reading, keep supporting and stay twisted. I will be there with big ideas, big projects and sick, freaky, twisted shit to enjoy one way or another.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
The first proper book I read would probably be either Dr Seuss or Roald Dahl. I should imagine it was Roald Dahl but as to which book I am not sure.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Misfortune, Karma, desire, determination and ignorance all do that in different ways.
Fiona: Is there one person pass or present you would meet and why?
Freddie Mercury. He was both a genius and a perfectionist in terms of artistry and yet his hand could stretch across many different artistic fields. I would love to be able to learn, one artist to another on how you can transform art in different fields using the other forms to create new and wonderful things. Plus his insatiable appetite for artistic exploration would definitely be too much to resist.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why?
“If I had told you that I would be standing behind you as you read this, you wouldn’t believe me. Yet here you are, reading this headstone while I stand behind you, laughing. You’ll look around now. But I won’t be there. Just the eerie feeling that I am.”
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?
Not many. I like to just relax, enjoy a spot of gardening every now and then, walk the dog and occasionally visit the local pub for a weekend drink.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
I like watching old classic and vintage films from the 1900’s to the 1960’s. When films were ALL about shadows, lighting and atmosphere. In terms of TV, I don’t watch much these days, I am usually working on my own stuff, besides most tv is brought dowen to the lowest common denominator in order to make it seem more exciting and with as many people they can get away with being labelled celebrity as possible. Not for me thanks.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
Favourite food; I’ll try most things, I don’t know if I have a favourite food any more. Favorite colours, Green, Black, Amathyst and red. Music, all sorts except, dance, trance, jungle, Chart, pop and the current crop of stuff laughingly being called rock and metal. For a complete change to it all, my current musical addiction is to the band “Steam Powered Giraffe” fantastically fun, humorous, eccentric and very clever.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
Maybe a Marine Scientist, if I’d had the brains.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
My current website is