Interview: Rob Shepherd
Bachman: When did you know you were a writer, when you caught the infectious bug?
Shepherd: I guess I have always had the bug, I was always infected but didn’t necessarily realize until much later in life. I have always written things, ever since I was a kid, but never really took it seriously, or been taken seriously. But a number of years ago, I had hit one of a few very dark periods of my life and so began to write to myself to exercise the darkness that was consuming me. At some point I think I realized that the bug was still there, waiting to germinate. That moment was the time it had obviously waited for and so was finally able to feed and begin to grow; hence, here I am today. Although not with other very testing moments in that time.
Bachman: Let’s talk about your recent book, what do you want readers and especially new comers to know about this gem?
Shepherd: Well “The Grays Anatomy” is a collection of classic ghost and horror stories. It bridges the gap between classic dark authors such as Edgar Allen Poe, classic horror tales such as those experienced in Hammer Horror, Tales From The Dark Side and Tales of The Unexpected and the emotional, psychological, physical and fantasy of modern horror from today’s authors and films. It is a book that creeps beneath your skin, crawling beneath the Goosebumps it creates, explores the human body, it’s weaknesses and it’s dark(est) desires. Some stories are classically creepy, others emotionally charged, whilst other stories are more physically orientated. But each has a twist, an element behind it that makes it different, that shapes it in a different way to other ways of telling the same essential stories elsewhere. It is not a book for everyone. It polarizes opinion, it seems people either like it or hate it. Which is exactly what I want, because at least I know I am getting a reaction, it means the stories have had an effect on the reader, hopefully a long lasting one.
Bachman: Anything, spoilers you would like to share?
Shepherd: Spoilers? All I will say on this is too look out if you are interested in or on the lookout for books on the slightly apocalyptic side, don’t expect all desert and new world orders. Maybe it isn’t the last of the “Majique” either, those who read or have read The Grays Anatomy will understand that. As for the book itself, here is what two respected authors had to say about it:
“THE GRAYS ANATOMY reads like a beloved classic—a modern, updated literary companion akin to all those classic Hammer Horror films so many of us grew up loving. Especially stories like “Jennifer,” “Majique,” and the superb “The Poe Paradox.” Delicious, dark, and unforgettable”
“These stories defy expectation. Rob Shepherd creates unique visions of hell on earth by introducing us to normalcy, only to rip open reality and let in unspeakable horrors. He populates his world with intensely creepy and wonderful creatures and deeply flawed people. He gives us terror in the familiar, and quite often the enemy is us. The resulting stories are reminiscent of Barker’s visionary style in the Books of Blood. But Shepherd’s tales are absolutely original, clever, and absorbing. A thoroughly satisfying read!”
Bachman: What’s the future looking like for you and writing?
Shepherd: Who knows what the future holds but it looks hopeful and I hope more people reading my books and enjoying them. There is always something that I am planning, it is more of a case of which of them come to any kind of fruition. There are some finished projects involving films, sort and possibly full feature that are either finishing, about to come to light or waiting for the green light for production. There are plenty of books and book ideas either in the works or awaiting their turn to get attention and get started on, to keep me going for long into the next several years. As for book signings, I will be appearing at the Essex Author Extravaganza in June 2016. I’ll be appearing, signing books, meeting and greeting and generally having fun getting up to nonsense. You can find details for the event online and on Facebook. Hopefully I will also be attending Screamacon event in the US in 2017, this isn’t finalized yet but should all go well, I’ll be there.
Bachman: If you could collaborate with anyone, independent or traditionally published, who would you love to work with and why?
Shepherd: Hmm, that’s difficult, I’m not sure I would be very good in a collaboration, I am far too stubborn when it comes to my writing and also far too critical of it, which means the time spent working on my part(s) would be far in excess of what is reasonable so I can’t imagine anyone being prepared to work with me, which I can’t blame them. But hypothetically it would have to be Poe, Dickens or Barker. However there are many independent authors that I both admire and enjoy reading and so working with them would be a real honor to work with to name specifically.
Bachman: Most writers love to read, are there any authors or books that you have grown to love?
Shepherd: There are a number of well established writers such as those mentioned above but some authors that I have come to adore the work of are Susan Wingate, Alex Laybourne, Kyle M. Scott, Tj Weeks, Gregory Norris, Paul Flewitt, Carol Gill, Jake Needham as well as others but I could end up here all day listing the names of authors whose work I love.
Bachman: What inspires you and keeps you motivated to write?
Shepherd: Everything or anything inspires me. It may be a real life situation or a song lyric, a piece of art such as a painting, drawing or a sculpture or it can be something someone says to me, a simple phrase or statement. Aside from that what inspires and motivates me is the desire to write something different. Something new; something people don’t expect, let alone expect from myself. Obviously kind words, support and encouragement help to keep your motivation up by continuing to touch and excite you, so I never downplay that and make a point of stating loudly and publicly how much it helps and means to me personally.
Bachman: Is there a genre you’d like to try and write in but haven’t yet?
Shepherd: I do enjoy Science Fiction to some extent and Lovecraftian fiction and would love to write at least one short story for both genres but I don’t know enough about and my skill doesn’t reach into these areas to any extent that I would be happy with sharing the result with. I find them infinitely difficult to write effectively about and I don’t write any genre unless it naturally occurs as the stories evolves and completes itself or unless I feel I can add something worth reading to, that I can add something worth saying about. Up until now that hasn’t happened, but I never say never to anything in the world of writing.
Bachman: Is there anything you would like to say to your fans? Any announcements?
Shepherd: There is nothing earth shattering in terms of announcements except to say I aim to have several books completed and released between now and this time next year. I am currently half way through a longer book with some smaller ones getting close(r) to a release date. For UK readers/fans (all dozen or so of you) I will be the Essex Author Extravaganza 2016 in Southend, I can’t wait to see you there and meet you all. Hopefully with a new book if not a host of new books.
Bachman: Is there anything you haven’t done that you’d like to do in your author career?
Shepherd: I have been very lucky in my writing career, as short as a professional career it has been thus far, to have been able to work with some wonderful fellow authors in some wonderful anthologies as well as be able to be/get involved in some marvelous film projects with some wonderful kind and genuinely awesome filmmakers and film companies on short and micro films as well as forthcoming full feature productions, which include penning the screenplays and scripts for. There are possibilities in this area again for the future, but let’s see what the future holds and see what happens. The one thing I guess that hasn’t happened yet is to be involved with television work, whether that be in respect of my own work (book adaptations etc) or otherwise. There has been very brief and casual conversation on the subject but there is nothing serious in terms of offers, or anything like that yet and I am concentrating on my books first and foremost.