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Mr Tumnal, Aspergers, and Me

Mr Tumnal, Aspergers, and Me

Today sees the start of World Autism Awareness Week. Autism and aspergers are hidden conditions. At their most pronounced autism is a condition that can isolate people from the world and make it hard for them to cope, but even at it’s mildest it is a challenge to live with in a world where other people don’t consider to be a problem what they can’t live. Just because they appear to be normal, hold down 9–5 jobs, and appear to have normal family lives, does not make their day to day lives any more of a struggle.

It took until I was 30 and put through workplace bullying before I discovered I probably had aspergers and it was another couple of years before I had a semi-official diagnosis and 1-2-1 coaching to overcome some of my biggest challenges. Since then, I have had progressed in my career and found my one-true love (and accompanying menagerie of furry, feathered, and fishy beasts), and I am so much better than I was at understanding the world and those unspoken cues. Sometimes I think I understand too well, and that it makes it all too easy for other’s to forget that sometimes Thomas, through no fault of his own, just doesn’t get as quickly as you might expect him too, what others understand straight away.

In my writing life, the thing that I struggle most with is showing not telling. Considering that probably the single-most lofted criticism at a writer is that they tell not show, this is unfortunate thing to be lacking in. The fact that I pull off the very personal story of Mr Tumnal is something that I feel very proud of, and if I can do the same with it’s forthcoming sequel, then I will be extremely lucky in deed.

Mr Tumnal is outwardly a story of a man who married his imaginary friend. How much that imaginary friend has to with fairy magic is something the reader must discover. At a more personal level it is a story of a man who is not friendless but without that one close friend; who is not alone but is lonely. It is a story of a man illequipped to deal with the complexities of ordinary social situations that most people take for granted. He finds comfort in his own company because that is where he is understood. Some might brandish him a weirdo. I would argue he’s just different. And like everyone who is ‘different’ from the norm he has his own gift to bring to the world.

In supporting World Autism Awareness Week and the work of the National Autistic Society, I would like everyone to find out a bit more about what makes some of us different, and the challenges we face, and to give us a bit of space of understanding in the world.

binäre optionen.org TE Shepherd is the author of binary options put call parity Mr Tumnal and The End Of All Worlds. In support of World Autism Awareness week, from 27 March to 2 April 2017, he will be donating 50% all profits raised from the sales of his book to go to help support the work of the National Autistic Society.

Inspiration from the streets

Inspiration from the streets

I’ve never been homeless and I do not pretend to know what that must feel and be like. Each morning though, on the way to work, as I walk across the city from one bus to the next, I see them sleeping in shop doorways. At 7.30 in the morning it is like the city is switching over between two worlds that don’t co-exist. Come back at any other of the day and these homeless people will not be found.

I often wonder what their stories are, how they come to be living rough; I wonder what they do during the day, and where they go. If I was any other writer (or just anyone else) I might ask them, find out their stories but that would being someone who wasn’t as shy as I am. It doesn’t stop me wonder though, and wonder at the stories…

Mr Tumnal is the story of a man and his imaginary friend, and The Imaginary Wife, is the story of the the man’s imaginary friend. Sequel to them both will be Forgotten Friends – the story of all the imaginary friends out there who have been left behind by the people who dreampt them up and then cast aside by society. What if the homeless were these imaginary friends – people with their own lives and their own cultures, linked to all of us but unseen and forgotten, seen only at the edges of the day and night, and only if you really look for them.

Christmas Traditions

Christmas is a time for the confort and traditions. Some of these traditions are whole family traditions, and some are more personal and come and go. I was thinking about this today, because I’m making huge progress through Alan Bennett’s Untold Stories. It’s been on my shelf for probably the best part of the decade after I got it for Christmas upon it’s publication – I only read about 70 pages. Clearly something didn’t grab me, or circumstances were not the same as they had been a few year’s previously when I remembered fondly devouring his Writing Home along with two novels, and a nature book whilst also installed on the end of the sofa scanning old slides into the computer. I remember wanting this book and organising my time between Christmas and New Year to try and relive that joy and happiness.

Christmas traditions is something that are brought to life in a short extract from Mr Tumnal which I recorded recently for That’s Oxfordshire television for broadcast over Christmas 2016. For readers not in Oxfordshire, this reading is now online to watch.

This is my first bit of television I’ve done! What do you think?

The comfort and the curse of the sequel

If the first half of my Easter holidays was a holiday-from-home with Emma, then I’ve wanted the second part (with the random extra holiday Tuesday that I get from day job working in the university) to be a bit more of a serious ‘writing week’.

And I have been writing lots, progressing the story on quite a bit. Or at least, I think I have progressed it on. Here, I hope that it’s natural to go between feelings of “I’ve got it” to “I’ve lost it” when ‪writing‬ The ‪Sequel‬? ‪I hear that it is.

I didn't write my book in a visit to the Gruffalo's woods, but I felt that I ought to have done!

I didn’t write my book in a visit to the Gruffalo’s woods, but I felt that I ought to have done!

22026 / 80000 words. 28% done!



It’s fair to say that October was a very busy month for me and the day job. All the way to the end, with the busiest of busy weeks to take me all the way up to November. During that time I abused my novel, and left it lying.

This month I have been determined to do something about this, and to get back to the business of The Novel. For some, November means http://www.psinternational.net/?soys=bin%C3%A4re-optionen-broker-1euro binäre optionen broker 1euro NaNoWriMo, and whilst  I haven’t actually signed up myself I am trying to take the NaNoWriMo approach to the month. And so far it seems to be working.

I can’t say that I’ve written my 1000 words a day, every day, but I am writing most days, even if it is just those snatched moments and I am, bit by bit, taking the story forward, sometimes in surprising ways…

The other side of the story

The other side of the story

It’s not been a Writing Week per se, but I have been writing this week, and progress has been made to Mr Tumnal 2: The Imaginary Wife. Hero of the first book, Louis Tumnal is yet to make an appearance, but I can feel his time nearing as his former-imaginary friend pieces together the story of her life.

11293 / 80000 words. 14% done!

I’m really enjoying telling the other side of the story, and getting my Lewis-fix through flashbacks to their happy, if unconventional, childhood together.

Mr Tumnal, Aspergers, and Me


Aspergers syndrome is a condition on the autistic spectrum. People with Aspergers (or aspies) can find it harder to read the signals that most of us take for granted. This means they find it more difficult to communicate and interact with others which can lead to high levels of anxiety and confusion.

Mr Tumnal is a story about people, and acceptance, and of how different people can be. Louis Tumnal is ‘different’. Much like myself, he doesn’t always ‘get’ social situations and he can’t always read those cues that NTs (Neuro-typicals) take for granted. It’s never an issue that’s raised in the story, but Louis does almost certainly have, like many adults, never formally diagnosed Aspergers. But he lives with it nonetheless and it makes him who he is.


Some people with Aspergers go to university, hold down jobs, and live perfectly normal lives, but for others they need a lot more help and support. That’s what makes it so difficult to recognise if someone has the condition or not. As a writer there’s actually probably more of Me in Kathryn but the aspie in Louis is Me.

It’s because of who I am, and of who the hero of my novel is, that I want to help. Also, I’m one of the lucky ones. I have a job, a house, a whole menagerie of furry and feathered friends, and a wife.

 Help me raise £50 for the National Autistic Society

The story of Mr Tumnal – the man who married his imaginary friend celebrated it’s ninth anniversary last Sunday, and so from today, Saturday 15 August until the end of September I am pledging to donate 50% of all the profits from print and ebook sales of the book to the National Autistic Society. I would like to raise at least £50, are you up for helping me? And helping all those other people who you know, or don’t know, who find dealing with the ordinary difficult?

And you get a cracking good read out of the deal too!


Book_Cover_final_Front_thumbnail autopzionibinarie progamma Everyone has an idea of their ideal family. Not everyone’s become real.

Lewis Tumnal is a man with the life he always dreamed of: a job he loves, a wife who loves him and the smartest, sassiest daughter he could wish for. It’s also the imaginary life of Louis Tumnal, an English teacher and lonely bachelor.

When he joins a photography class he meets Kathryn Summers and the real and the imaginary become entwined, Louis and Kathryn need each other to free him from his childlike and innocent world and the magic that has bound him for twenty-two years. But at what cost?


50% Profit share to National Autistic Soiety is for all copies sold between 15 August to 31 September 2015 in either paperback or ebook formats anywhere in the world.
Neither book, Mr Tumnal, nor T E Shepherd are affiliated in any way or endorsed by National Autistic Society.


Stories begin when you are least expecting them


If, nine years ago, you had told me that my second published book would be about a man who marries his imaginary friend then I think I would have laughed. If you had gone on to say that the idea for this story would have come from a misunderstanding in the car on the way to just another day at the office, then I would have teased you mercilessly. But that, in short is the story of how my Mr Tumnal came about.

A little after 7.30am on Wednesday 9 August 2006 I had just collected my friend Caroline for the car-share to work. It was one of those beautiful summer mornings but with a slight crispness to the air. Some of the leaves had just started turning and the hedgerows were beginning to fill with berries.

I can still remember starting off a conversation and being (understandably, I think…) confused when Caroline replied by asking who Mr Tumnal was! And I was really confused because all I’d said was, ‘It’s a bit autumnal today’. But that little misunderstanding got us both wondering – about whom exactly Mr Tumnal really was. Certain facts came immediately: he was an English teacher, he loved photography, he wore corduroys and a jacket with patches on the elbows, he was old before his time… and a bit of a loner.

It being the summer holidays, we were spared the traffic chaos of the school run, and the commute took exactly 45 minutes and we had the character fleshed out. Another 45 minutes on the return journey and we had the beginnings of what his story was. I obsessed over the character for two days, and after a visit to the fish’n’chips shop on Friday came up with some early first pages – scenes that never even made the first draft of the book, but did see the appearance of his daughter’s friend Caz.

At the time I remember thinking that there might not be a full novel in his story, but certainly a novella. But I was busy writing the final chapters of Blood & Fire (the book that became The End Of All Worlds and my first novel) and so Mr Tumnal went to rest in my notebook for three years until I started writing it on my honeymoon in Scotland.

Even when I finished writing that second novel in the summer of 2013 (in a thunderstorm in the garden if I remember rightly…) Mr Tumnal’s story was only ever going to be a standalone adventure. It’s only in the last few months that the characters of the book have demanded I write two more stories based in his world. I never thought that would happen nine years ago today!

Here’s to mishearings and car shares! Cheers, Louis Tumnal!

If you had heard me correctly then we may never have spent the next 45 minute commute discovering who Mr Tumnal was… And then, a further 45 minutes in the afternoon working out what his story is. Thank you.


opcje binarne ranking platform To celebrate Mr Tumnal’s 9th anniversary, you can download and read the eBook for free for one day only today, Sunday 9 August 2015!

Book_Cover_final_Front_thumbnail binäreoptionen proker Everyone has an idea of their ideal family. Not everyone’s become real.

Lewis Tumnal is a man with the life he always dreamed of: a job he loves, a wife who loves him and the smartest, sassiest daughter he could wish for. It’s also the imaginary life of Louis Tumnal, an English teacher and lonely bachelor.

When he joins a photography class he meets Kathryn Summers and the real and the imaginary become entwined, Louis and Kathryn need each other to free him from his childlike and innocent world and the magic that has bound him for twenty-two years. But at what cost?


Writing Week: Day 4

Writing Week: Day 4

The day has been a little more overcast today than it has been, but no less pleasant. I busied myself with jobs this morning, getting the house all cleaned (in the full knowledge that with seven pesky cats, at least one of them would bring half the garden in with them and deposit it all over the floors – I think my efforts have actually survived quite well!).

And then suddenly it was lunchtime, so I made myself a nice chicken and ham salad, and sat outside and munched it whilst reading another chapter of The Story of Alice. Then I switched back to the novel du jour, Rosie Garland’s Vixen (which I’m discovering is a curious, very well written, but not entirely pleasant tale. And then after a chapter of that, I set to my own writing….

Another 1000 words or so done, and another chapter completed. If I can get another 1000 words written over the course of the weekend (weekend’s are usually less productive than weekdays, I find) then I’ll achieved a nice 10% of my novel written, which I think is a very good start.



7054 / 80000 words. 9% done!


Writing Week: Day 3

Writing Week: Day 3

I have certainly picked a good week to have off, with another day of glorious sunshine and outside living, and another day giving my shorts an airing. I didn’t feel like the words have been burning quite as fiercely today (although I did manage another 1000 words so  clearly they must have been), however I do now know an awfully lot more about this story and where its going.

What I’m not so sure about is at what point Louis is going to re-enter the story, but then when he left book one at the end of part two I wasn’t sure exactly when he would reappear. The alternate Lewis has made some appearances in flashback and I’m enjoying the ‘other side of the story’ nature of alot of this book.

5943 / 80000 words. 7% done!

I’ve also been reading more today. Vixen, the book I chose to read based on the cover being designed by a ‘social media friend’ and sister of a colleague, is proving to be an intriguing and enjoyable read. Written in almost poetic beauty about villagers in Devon at the time of the Black Death, I was amused to find that its author Rosie Garland was a singer in a band who sung on the soundtrack to the 1980s film Some Kind of Wonderful.

Inspired by this week’s Radio 4 Book of the Week, I’ve also started reading the non-fiction book The Story of Alice by Robert Douglas-Fairhurst, partly because I’ve discovered that Mr Tumnal 2: The Imaginary Wife has echoes of Lewis Carroll and of Alice.

Writing Week: Day 2

Writing Week: Day 2

Took myself off on a bike ride today into town to stock up on ink cartridges to fuel my week’s writing and to pick up some more soft fruit and daffodils. I also planted our new plants and dug a big hole to bury Miss Wiggy at the back of the vegetable patch where she used to enjoy dust baths.

One of the joys of holidays is discovering by chance a really good book by way of BBC Radio 4’s Book Of The Week. I don’t know what was wrong with the advertised programme, but I’m really happy that it’s The Story Of Alice. Whilst I was in town I popped in to our local Indie bookstore and had a look at it. It’s a hefty tome… I think that it might be one for the kindle!

Today has been a glorious Spring day with warmth and sun, and I felt the need to reacquaint myself with my knees and dig out my shorts for the first time this year. It’s been one of those days when I’ve possibly not been that active, but I feel healthy because I’ve been outside all day. And I have been productive too – another 1000 words or so done. This novel is beginning to come together in mind.






5047 / 80000 words. 6% done!

Writing Week: Day 1

Writing Week: Day 1

After the Easter Break, my plan was to devote some serious time to my writing. Today is that weird and wonderful day that sits between Easter hols and annual leave – the random extra day that those of us are given in the university sector.

It was one of those perfect days where I was productive (did washing, touched up paintwork in the house, re-oiled some bookshelves), relaxed (read some more of a good book in the garden), and I still had time to lose myself for an afternoon in my own writing – and in the garden and the Spring sunshine too.


3761 / 80000 words. 5% done!

Two-Story Thomas†

I’m writing again. This is good, however I’m not writing the right thing. I have Novel #3 underway and its a good novel and every bit as weird and wonky as Mr Tumnal. The thing is the characters from Novel #2 keep on talking to me and demanding that I write them their short story follow up. So that’s what I’m doing, and I am enjoying being plunged into a cold winter storm with visions and people hiding in the flickering shadows….


Thomas is actually filled with many than two stories.

The other side of the story

The other side of the story

Ever since I finished writing Mr Tumnal I’ve found myself missing my small cast of characters. I’m in the middle of a short story involving the character of my Sarah set in the cold, dark, winter. Today, on the final walk home from the bus stop, I ended up coming up with the idea for another, second sequel in short story form.

Just like in Mr Tumnal where we ask what its like for a man who marries his imaginary friend, in The Imaginary Wife I ask the question of what becomes of the girl when her boy grows up to live without her.

I’ve already written the first 100 words and I’m already very excited about it.

The Agony and the Ecstasy

The Agony and the Ecstasy

Mr Tumnal has now been out in the real world for a month and and a half, and its already out sold my debut novel by this point in the publishing cycle, and its starting to gather up a number of 5-star reviews.

Five star reviews! The joy, the ecstasy of it! People actually *like* my story…

Very Very Clever, Very Different – I Want To Read More!

Really really loved the story (very memorable, and very different) – certainly kept me gripped, and the characters were well rounded, fully formed and interesting

the dark, mystical elements which I have missed since childhood classics from writers like Susan Cooper and Alan Garner … this is a book in the same genre but for adults, which is refreshing

I was sad to have finished it

A great read that hooked me and I couldn’t put it down

instantly grabbing. You’re lured into two separate worlds between Lewis and Louis, and the plot keeps moving at a comfortable pace

You can binäre optionen glück oder können read the reviews in full – have you read it yet? I’d love to hear what you think it too!

But whilst I revel in people enjoying my story of a man who marries his imaginary friend, I also have the agony of discovering that I released my story with some lingering typos. I hasten to add – and this is from my readers too – that none of the typos hinder the enjoyment of the story but they are annoying and frustrating nonetheless. It’s the pain of the Indie Author: even with an editor, I am just one man at war with words. I’ve since corrected a good number of them and notified Amazon. Hopefully anyone who has downloaded the Kindle version will soon get an opportunity to update their edition, whilst owners of the paperback edition will have rare first editions.

Mr Tumnal is available as both a paperback and an eBook for Kindle.

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Shepherd, T E (Cover illustration by Silviu Sadoschi)
Publication date: May 2012
Ebook ISBN 978 0 9571756 6 2 (£2.99) binÃÃ� ’ÂÃ� ’ÂÂÃ� ’ÃÃ� ’‚¤r optionen legal Amazon UK | chi e marco moretti opzionibinarie Amazon.com
Paperback ISBN 978 0 9571756 7 9 (£8.99) opcje binarne bankier.pl Amazon UK | http://actioncooling.com/?kiko=bin%C3%A4re-optionen-broker-vergleich-60-sekunden&540=40 binäre optionen broker vergleich 60 sekunden Amazon.com

When the characters keep talking

When the characters keep talking

A week and a half on and its weird to think that all around the world there are people reading Mr Tumnal. A year ago the story was resting before I embarked on the editing, but that didn’t stop the characters talking to me. On a weekend away on the Wiltshire/Hampshire border I started writing a companion piece involving some old and some new characters from my second novel.

This particular story will never be a full-length novel, but I like it that my characters have continued to talk to me, and that their lives have continued. I guess its a bit like fan fiction isn’t it. Is it fan fiction if the author themselves writes new stories with old characters?


Mr Tumnal is available as both a paperback and an eBook for Kindle.

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Shepherd, T E (Cover illustration by Silviu Sadoschi)
Publication date: May 2012
Ebook ISBN 978 0 9571756 6 2 (£2.99) strategia trading attendibile per opzioni 1 minuto Amazon UK | steuerrecht binärer handel Amazon.com
Paperback ISBN 978 0 9571756 7 9 (£8.99) Amazon UK | Amazon.com

Mr Tumnal: a publication day book reading

Mr Tumnal: a publication day book reading

Mr Tumnal is my second book, but it is a standalone adventure to that of my debut novel published in May 2012. Fans of The End Of All Worlds though, might recognise a couple of characters from that story taking little cameo roles in this new story.

Of course I hope that if you’ve got as far as reading my blog, and following my social media channels then you will already have decided you just have to read the book. But if you haven’t, maybe I could tempt you by reading a bit from it.

I’ve chosen a scene that comes towards the end of Part Two, when things have reached a climax in the Louis/Lewis relationship with Kathryn. It’s tense and dramatic, although for the bit that actually made me break down in tears as I was writing it you have to wait until Part Four!