A Little Bit About Thomas Shepherd…
I was born in 1973 and grew up in Lowestoft, Suffolk before moving to Cheshire to study a degree in Creative Arts. Having worked as an electronic production editor for science and academic publishers in Oxford, I now work as a Web Designer for a top modern university. I live in Oxfordshire with my wife, Emma, our six cats, four chickens and two bunnies. My favourite authors are Alan Garner, Diana Wynne Jones, Susan Cooper and David Almond.
I can’t remember a time when I haven’t created stories, first in my head, and then, as soon as I could write, on paper. At the age of nine I was given a toy theatre and wrote an epic drama called Rome which I performed for my family and friends on long Sunday afternoons. A version of the play won me first prize in a school ‘tall story’ competition, and a second – not quite so epic – play made its way in my first attempts at a novel. I have recently had coaching for mild aspergers, and looking back, I think that the ‘friends’ I found in my stories were easier to be with than real people.
In 1989 I was highly commended in the WHSmiths Young Writers’ Competition with my short story, Gold, and in 1991 I began writing screenplays, including a new children’s television series, Dreamscholars, which received some initial interest from the makers of ITV’s Press Gang.
Whilst at university I co-edited and contributed to Moments of Cragg Vale, an anthology of short stories and poetry, and in 1993, Flat East, a poem about the landscape of East Anglia was selected for publication in Valleys of Thought, an anthology of poems by local writers.
In 1995, a project proposal and pilot script for Riverhouse was highly commended in the Meridian Broadcasting Television Ideas Competition at the Southampton University Writers’ Conference. This led to me writing a youth drama series Eurojournal, based on my own experiences studying French at Eurocentre La Rochelle. The series was to be ground-breaking in its style, with the use of rapid scene changes acting almost as metaphors for the advancement of the story – a style which has developed into my novel-writing style.
I have Icelandic family, and in 2001 made the first of three visits to their country, and I knew from the very beginning that with a country so rich in myth and folklore and with an environment unlike anything I had ever seen, I had to write a story set there. The End of All Worlds is that story – begun in August 2001 only to be halted on 21 October for one and a half years after the family home burnt down. It took six years to write and over two years of rewrites and edits to complete.