I read and reviewed author C.P. Sheppard’s novel Flint of Dreams in the summer of 2018. I love everything about this author. His positive attitude, determination and of course…his amazing writing. That is why he is one of my favorite authors and has earned a position on my Author Spotlight page! Please see his interview and upcoming work below.
1. What inspired you to write a book?
Concerning ‘Flint of Dreams,’ I worked for the California Youth Authority in the 1990s, which housed young male criminal offenders, some of whom elected to attend Native American Indian services, as opposed to traditional Christian services. I found the emphasis on Native spiritism and diverse ancestry quite fascinating. Another motivation centered on my desire to write about upstate New York, where I grew up in a small town near a lake, with so many interesting childhood friends. In school, I learned about the the Iroquois Nation, and the Seneca Tribe as part of that nation. That is what truly inspired me; all those things combined.
2. What does your typical writing day look like?
I do research first. For instance, if I write about a locality or event, I deeply research it. Once I am ready to write, I will voice-record my thoughts, or ‘act out’ a dialogue, just like an voice over actor. I become the characters, or speak the event into being. Then I write, referring back to the recording for reference. It’s like writing from the top of my head, once removed. I generally edit large sections before moving on.
3. Do you have a favorite book you have written?
I really like Flint of Dreams. I believe it expresses very much a part of me. There are certain parts, that even now if I read them, effect me deeply emotionally. Certain portions I wrote almost in a trance state, deeply feeling, deeply experiencing the fiction from an emotional and spiritual level. I sometimes wonder if readers sense the deep emotionality the way I did when I wrote the words. Also, I like the characters in Flint of Dreams because they are based on people I know in real life.
4. What advice would you give to a new writer just starting out?
Funny you should ask! My grandson Christopher asked me the same thing recently. I told him, “Roadmap, roadmap, roadmap…and side trips.” I meant that the the best novels have a pre-destination for the protagonists and main characters… key sites along the way that must be visited, but that you can’t be afraid to let the story side-trip, because that’s where magical things occur!
5. Are you on social media and can your readers interact with you?
Yes I am very active on Facebook and Twitter.
Twitter @CPSWorks14560 (the numbers are my hometown zipcode)
6. How do you handle literary criticism?
I am silent to negative criticism and effusive in my thanks for positive criticism. I believe the negative is important; you have to swallow it and digest it without complaint, and try to learn from it. I don’t believe it’s a good look to defend or argue a negative criticism. You have to take the bitter with the sweet. I am always thankful for the positive, of course.
7. Please describe your writing space.
My home office. My wife and daughter often note it’s dark. I keep the blinds closed. The lighting is low. I write better in the shadows. In fact, I should probably invest in a lighted keyboard. The older I get the harder it is to write from monitor screen glow.
8. Who is your own favorite author? Dead or alive.
Ernest Hemingway; more the style than the content, really.
9. What is the most helpful thing to you in this industry?
Other authors. They have granted me tremendous support, inspiration, exposure and a form of kinship like no other. I love sharing others’ work, and that goes a long way in building goodwill and camaraderie.
10. If you had to describe yourself in 3 words…what would they be?
Creative. Generous. Friendly.
Upcoming Work and Projects:
I am writing a novel called “The Ant Lords.” It takes place in two eras of time, Today and about 25,00 years ago. It’s the story of three teen friends who discover a race of tiny , super-intelligent insectoid beings who came from another place in our galaxy. The insectoid beings have an agenda which is revealed in the narrative. This is my initial cover, to give you a feel of my vision.
Charles Peterson Sheppard grew up in rural upstate New York, the eleventh of twelve children. He studied English Literature and Journalism at UCLA (BA) and has a Master’s Degree in Education. He worked as a school teacher, educator, counselor, and adult Parole Agent during his career in California. Now retired, he currently promotes books and writers through social media and graphic arts.