Can you give us a quick update on the pursuit of your dream since we last spoke?
For sure! My dream is to be a prolific, published Young Adult and Fantasy novelist – so it’s a bit of a lofty dream and it’s going to take a long time to get there. Meantime, I’m doing the hard yards (and years) as an indie author as I try to break through. Since we last spoke in May, I’ve had an incredibly busy winter (keeping in mind I’m down here in Perth, Australia).
The biggest news is that I released my latest e-book, THE BLACK FLOWER, in mid-July. It’s a short story that tackles some big stuff like alcoholism, violence and relationship breakdown. Nick, the protagonist, is probably not someone you’d want to be friends with, and yet you come to feel sorry for him once you find out everything that made him who he is. THE BLACK FLOWER is set in my hometown of Geraldton, Western Australia, and I’m proud of this, since not many stories are set there. You can get a free copy of this story here.
In late August, I completed the first draft of my second novel. This is a heavy YA novel which is very close to my heart. It flowed out of me like I was channelling something ethereal: when I look back over it now, there are some lines that I can’t even remember writing, which is a bit freaky. I am really excited about this manuscript and I’m looking forward to getting it out to more beta readers in the next few weeks. I also had some success with my fantasy e-book THE SCROLL OF ISIDOR in late July and early August: it had a sales spike in the USA and UK, which was incredible. It peaked at #3 on the iTunes Epic Fantasy Chart (Free) and #19 on the Barnes & Noble Fantasy Short Stories Chart. I was pretty blown away by this – especially since it was released way back in March.
Apart from those three big milestones, I’ve also kept myself busy with writing a couple of articles for the Huffington Post. One of these, about Australia’s upcoming same-sex marriage postal vote, went viral across the country and even landed me an interview on breakfast radio, which was great fun. I also started a regular weekly blog and established my official YouTube channel. Ahead of me this month is some editing work on the second novel. In late October, I’ll be releasing a new fantasy e-book from the same world as THE SCROLL OF ISIDOR, so I’m excited about that, too. And November I will be starting a rewrite of my first novel … so there really is no rest for the wicked.
What have you learned while pursuing this dream that you would like to share?
I have found that my dream depends on me. That is, I have to be the one in the driver’s seat: I can’t sit around and wait for a moment of inspiration, or just hope for opportunities to fall from the sky. As a writer – or, frankly, as anyone with a big dream – you are in charge of your dreams and it’s down to you to take them from nebulous ambitions and turn them into tangible goals that can be achieved, piece by piece.
The other thing is that you have to learn to be resilient. I get rejections all the time. When I first started getting them, they would really knock me around, but as Cat Stevens once sang, “The first cut is the deepest” – and this is really true. Over time, the rejections hurt less. I got one last week and essentially just shrugged. The important thing is to learn from the rejections and mistakes and use them as fuel to keep driving yourself forwards. If you believe in yourself and your dream, your determination will carry you to your destination.
Remind us where we can find you to continue following your journey?
I’m on Twitter every day (@V8Sheppard), so come and say g’day to me there. I’m also on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/HoldenSheppardAuthor …)
and my weekly blog is at http://holdensheppard.wordpress.com . All of my e-books are available from Kindle, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, Kobo and Smashwords, and you can also find all of them for FREE at http://www.holdensheppard.com .
The Dreamer Blog features two people each week in pursuit of their dreams, large or small everyone has a dream that deserves support. Douglas Geller, the author of this blog is also the author of the book The Dreamer; you can learn more about The Dreamer and purchase it at: http://amzn.to/2j7W79P