A yearning for a happy and meaningful life, as well as struggles with fear, guilt, and unfulfilled wishes, are common to mankind of all ages. My books combine historical and fictional characters to address such timeless spiritual issues from a Christian perspective. During a hiking tour of the Isle of Elba, I discovered the cave where the saintly 6th-century hermit San Cerbone lived in exile. Researching his life inspired me to write a work of historical fiction about that colourful character’s interactions with Silvanus, an unhappy local lad who longs to escape but finds new priorities.
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Shepherd is like wandering around your favorite bookstore but reimagined for the online world. We make book browsing fun and all the recommendations are made by authors, experts, and creators.
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As a 5-year-old boy, I was given a tin of watercolour paints by my Grandmother. I had no idea how to use them, and there was no one around to teach me. I had to find my own way. Around the same time I was taken on a day trip to London, where we visited the Tate Gallery. It was there that I was confronted for the first time by the magnificent paintings of J.M.W.Turner. My love for art was ignited. I became a serious student of art, and although I have had to make a living in the world like everyone else, art became my go-to therapy for relief and recreation.
I’m a bicultural writer from the U.S. who has always loved reading historical novels, and I recently “found” my writing genre when I published a debut novel, set in Ukraine during the Holocaust. Writing about that horrific time is fraught with difficulty and is often a frightening endeavor. As writers, we’re obligated to get every fact right, as the truth honors the victims and survivors. To that end, I read dozens and dozens of books—history, biographies, art books, memoirs, and fiction. There are many worthy books that could be on this list, but with just 5 to pick, these made a large impact on me beyond just factual research.
I’ve been reading for 69 years, writing fiction for 43 years. I’ve read many more than 10,000 books. In my own writing, I begin with characters I create from combinations of traits and personalities I’ve met in life. I get to know them as friends. I then put them into the setting I’ve devised and given them free rein to develop the story. I know the destination, but the route is left to them. This involves much re-writing once the story is down on paper, but allows me to experience the excitement, concern, fear, love, and delights felt by the characters as I write the tale.
I’ve been hooked on science fiction since I saw Westworld in its first run in 1973, at age 7 (it’s the first movie I saw in a theatre). I started drawing my own sci-fi comics at age 11, when the first Star Wars came out, and kept it up through adolescence. Eventually, my love of sci-fi led me to a passion for philosophy, which I majored in in college. And the philosophy I learned has since informed my later choices in sci-fi reading, and even more my sci-fi writing and illustration. The books I talk about below are very dear to my heart—I’m sure you won’t regret checking them out.
Stories that break the rules or attempt ambitious stunts have always intrigued me. Characters who break the fourth wall, non-traditional structures, winking nods to pop culture, hidden messages, silly wordplay, or good old-fashioned WTF moments nobody saw coming. My second novel L Extreme turns my favorite album into a fantastical song by song, chapter by chapter origin story for the record starring a fictionalized version of the musician who created it. Asking “what happens if I pretend this album is the soundtrack to a book?” took me on a long, strange trip in the spirit of these other bizarrely brilliant books that broke the mold for the better.
I’m a creative writing professor and the author of five award-winning YA and MG novels. Nevertheless, for decades no matter what I accomplished, I felt like a failure who wasn’t doing enough. Eventually, I drove myself to a breakdown. Having a breakdown (my lucky break!) gave me an opportunity to reassess what creativity is, and to discover better ways to go about it. I’ve since spent the past 5+ years researching creativity, and how to make creative endeavors more effective and enjoyable. I wrote Breakthrough to share some of the life-changing insights and techniques that helped me. Here are a few books that might prove useful in shifting your creative paradigms and enhancing your life. Happy creating!
I grew up in Long Beach, California and have always gravitated to port towns and saltwater. I had a summer job as a student working on the famous Hurtigruten cargo ship and traveled up and down the Norwegian coast as a dishwasher. Since then I’ve kayaked, sailed, and wandered the shores of many countries, including the Pacific Northwest, where I live now. Being Irish and Swedish myself, I wanted to make women’s history as seafarers in the cold waters of the North better known. I had a great time researching this travel book about little-known places and women skippers, fishers, and sea goddesses.