I love science fiction! And as such, I am very pleased to have writer A.B. Shepherd here with us today. Her first publication is the science fiction story "Lifeboat", but as you will see she has more going on than just that.
"Never stop dreaming or reading." - A.B. Shepherd
A.B. Shepherd grew up in Lansing, Michigan, but moved to Australia in 2009. She now lives in the Limestone Coast region of South Australia, with her husband and their imaginary friends. She can usually be found seaside at Port MacDonnell, or lost in a fantasy world.
"Lifeboat" is her debut novel. "The Beacon", her second novel, has an anticipated release date of Christmas 2013.
A.B., please tell us about your journey in writing. What made you decide to try to be published?
My journey has been a long one. I’ve always wanted to write, yet I always thought I had to have the whole story plotted out beforehand. That led to many stops and starts over the years because I just couldn’t figure out where to go. Basically, I got in my own way. Last year I discovered NaNoWriMo and decided to try something new - writing without plotting the entire story in advance. I “pantsed” it. I loved the experience and learned so much about myself and my writing in the process. Lifeboat is the end result of that experience.
We know what your bio says. Tell us one thing about yourself that you think might surprise us.
Okay, here’s something that is not obvious based on my bio. I met my Australian husband online and moved here to marry him after only having spent 12 days together physically. How’s that? We did have a three year online relationship before that. Are you shocked? While I recommend doing it with eyes wide open, sometimes in life you just have to take a risk.
Do you remember what it was like, the feeling you had when you learned your first novel “Lifeboat” was out there in the world?
Honestly? It wasn’t the feeling when I learned it was out there, it was when the first person bought it. I cried. It was overwhelming. I thought, wow - this is real. I can call myself a writer now.
Tell us a bit about your story in “Lifeboat”.
Lifeboat is an alien abduction story that is a bit different than most. It is highly character driven. Cassie is in a bad place in her life. She’s lost her husband and young son and is extremely depressed. Her life has no focus. One night she sees a UFO and she becomes obsessed with them. She meets a couple of Ufologists and they become friends. But one fateful night she is abducted - or rescued - by the UFO because natural disasters have destroyed the Earth. She and some others are taken to a new world where the human race can start again. But not everything is as it seems and people start disappearing. It’s a bit dark. A bit suspenseful. And highly entertaining. So far my readers have reported really enjoying it.
What do you have coming up next?
Something a little bit different than Lifeboat. I am about to release my second book on December 1st. It is also suspenseful and a little dark, but it is not science fiction and there are no aliens. It is a psychological thriller - and a novella. It is called The Beacon. I hope you will keep an eye out for it.
If there is one character you’ve written or are writing that you would really like people to meet, who would it be?
Oh boy. You know that is a really tough question Aaron. I think I would really like to meet MOST of my characters, except for one in The Beacon that I find a little scary. Okay, well there might be a couple in Lifeboat that are a bit scary for me as well. Hmmm.
What other ideas do you have bouncing around in your head?
I have a couple of other works in progress. One that I’ve kind of put on hold which is another psychological thriller, and the one I’m most excited about right now, which is a sequel to Lifeboat. When I finished Lifeboat I felt it was a stand-alone book and there was no way for me to write a sequel and I held onto that belief for a long time. I honestly think I was grieving the end of the book and wouldn’t let myself see beyond that. But not too long ago I came up with an idea for a sequel and I am really eager get those ideas written so I can share them with all the wonderful people who begged me for a sequel after they finished reading Lifeboat.
What about being published and the book industry in general has most surprised you?
Since I am self-published I will tell you that what I have found most surprising is how hard it is to get the word out about my book(s). I’ve had such great feedback and I think many people would enjoy them. It’s just a matter of helping those people find the book(s), and as a self-published author all the marketing falls on my shoulders. It is a part of the business I don’t enjoy much. I like the writing part best.
What other things besides writing do you have going on that keep you busy?
Besides writing? So my blog and my writing group don’t count. Okay, well I do a little bit of fiber crafting, and I spend a lot of time with my husband, and less time with family and friends. We live about 30- minutes away from the Southern Ocean and we like to spend time down there on the coast when the weather is nice. It is a special place for us. I like my life. It’s a good one.
To close the interview, I have ten questions for you, plus one. Here they go!
- What is your favorite word? Periwinkle. I just like the way it sounds.
- What is your least favorite word? Impossible.
- What turns you on? Readers who tell me what they think of my writing - even if they don’t like it.
- What turns you off? Marketing my book(s).
- What sound or noise do you love? Laughter - especially my husband’s.
- What sound or noise do you hate? Almost everything mechanical.
- What is your favorite curse word? Fuck. I know it is pretty crude, but sometimes there is just no better word.
- What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? I love music. I’d love to be a singer. I’m not good enough though.
- What profession would you not like to do? Plumbing. Ick.
- If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates? All the people you love are here waiting for you.
- What question have you never been asked, that you wish someone would ask you? I’m cheating a little on this one, because I have been asked it before but it’s been over 30 years ago. My brother used to ask me to sing for him while he played his guitar. He passed away, but I wish someone would ask me to sing for them.
A.B., thanks so much for spending time with us. Can you let us know where to follow you, and where we can go to purchase your work?
And you can get Lifeboat now (and soon The Beacon) on Amazon in Trade paperback, Large print paperback, or Kindle.
Rudy and Trish are the main characters in Patricia and my published short stories in the "Evernight: Romance in a World of Darkness" anthologies. You can get to know them as well as get 23 other great stories! Here's where you can find them: