Welcome to The Glister Journals Bronze Author B.B. Shepherd! Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to answer some questions about your life and book!
A graduate of Cal Poly with graduate work at Chapman and U C Santa Cruz, B. B. Shepherd has lived most of her life in California and loves the diverse beauty of its many landscapes. Music, horses, literature, and art have been her passions as long as she can remember. She enjoys road trips, almost all horse sports and extreme sports (as a spectator), and is addicted to research.
As a writer, Shepherd enjoys exploring emotions and motivations: why do people do what they do? She also likes trying to find the funny side of things. She admits to being a hopeless romantic and often gets in trouble for her sense of humor. Bronze is her debut novel, the first in a series of four called The Glister Journals. She currently works full time as a music professional and educator, and lives in the San Francisco Bay area with her youngest daughter and a very silly cat.
The Glister Journals Bronze Interview with B.B. Shepherd:
Welcome to Cuzinlogic! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how long you’ve been writing?
I am currently a full time professional musician and educator, but I’ve been many other things in the past, including a home-schooling mom, semi-professional artist, wrangler, and life guard. I’ve been a musician all my life—professionally for at least the past fifteen years. I love working with other people on music, especially singing. I also love animals, Thai food, winter, and sci-fi/fantasy! I wrote my first full story (at least that I remember) in sixth grade (a very long time ago!) but did not begin this version of what is now The Glister Journals series until November of 2008. Book two in the series will be released in 2014.
Please tell us in 20 words or less, why we should read your book.
Beautiful California locations, mystery, relatable characters and the best friends ever, falling in love, fun, family, gaining confidence, and horses!
What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
I loved everything about writing it, from the first draft to the research, revisions, and editing. I even loved the things (and characters) that woke me up in the middle of the night (mostly Dave) or made me pull my car over to the side of the road in order to write things down. I’m finding the second book a little more difficult because of time constraints and distractions, but I’m still loving it!
What was the hardest part about writing this book?
Time. I work full time and my job, though I truly love it, physically and mentally exhausts me so I don’t get much writing done during the week. That leaves weekends and holidays. Sometimes I can get a paragraph or two written if I can get a lunch break—maybe a whole page—but it’s very difficult. And then I’m often completely exhausted by the time I get home. I have all the inspiration and motivation I need, but very little time!
Tell us something about the book or main character that isn’t mentioned in the synopsis.
The main character, Allison, has Aspergers but it’s not mentioned in the first book and will barely be touched on in the second. Her symptoms are mild enough to go unnoticed by most people, though there is a difference that comes through. I didn’t write a story about a girl with Aspergers. I wrote a story about a girl and her friends, and though the story is told from her perspective, her friends are just as important to the story as she is. She happens to have a mild version of this disorder, but it is not obvious.
What makes this book different from other books in the same genre?
It is not strictly a ‘genre’ book. It is classified YA because of the ages of the main characters. Allison is fourteen at the beginning of Bronze, and because of her disorder seems even younger. By the end of the series she will be eighteen. In between will be normal teenage angst, problems, and situations including romance, but there’s quite a bit of dysfunction in the characters’ lives too. It is more of a literary read, but it’s not stuffy! It’s a fun and easy, though long read. The depth of character development and back stories I think sets it apart from most of what I’ve seen in the YA genre.
What time of day do you like to write?
I used to be such a night person! Ha! Now I try to write as much as I can early, usually on the weekends as it’s hard to find time when I’m working. But I try to get something written every day, whenever I can.
What makes a book appeal to you?
The synopsis. If a friend or acquaintance has read it and recommends it, I’m more likely to look closely at it. I love book covers as an art form, but they never dictate what I read. I’ve been burned too many times that way. The cover may grab my attention, but it’s the idea of the story that will decide whether I try reading it or not. I have so very little time for reading that I’m very particular. I don’t think I’m a book snob or anything. I like plenty of books (and movies and TV shows) that ‘critics’ probably panned and I don’t care. But I know what I like and I hate to waste my time.
Have you ever written anything that you thought would be controversial and found it wasn’t?
The Glister Journals, as a series, has some potential for controversy. There’s nothing in the first book, Bronze, for people to get upset about—at least I don’t think so. As the series progresses I—and the characters—will be tackling more difficult issues. I hate sensationalism and would never write anything just to shock people. But I do want to engage people’s emotions and hope to facilitate thinking about things, the kinds of things that people, especially teenagers, are dealing with. I’m into critical thinking and creative answers for problems; not, “The world is out to get you and everything sucks, so it’s okay to be depressed and hopeless.” I don’t get that. There’s so much despair and meanness in the world. Writing characters that readers will care about and telling their stories is the most important thing to me. I think controversy is often caused more by the handling (or mishandling) of a topic than the topic itself. And if it’s not controversial, that’s okay too, but it’s too early to tell.
What can your readers expect from you next?
Book 2 of The Glister Journals. And yes, it has a title but I’ll reveal that closer to the release date. It wouldn’t be too hard to guess it! If you like the first book I think you’ll really love the next. I hope to have it ready for release in the first half of 2014. I’ll be finishing the series before seriously starting anything else, but I have enough story ideas to last the rest of my life. Those include a more adult contemporary romance, a historical romance, and both adult and YA fantasy.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with us?
Yes! Yes! Yes! In case you aren’t already aware, there is a soundtrack that goes along with each book of The Glister Journals. It’s not just a playlist but is a puzzle linked to the chapters of each book. Yes, I’m a nerd. The songs for Bronze will be revealed before the release of the second Glister Journals book and there will be a contest with great prizes for guessing the songs. Details and clues can be found on the book’s website!
Thanks B.B. Shepherd, for joining us today and good luck with The Glister Journals!
The Glister Journals Bronze
Some ancient secrets should remain buried.
Allison Anderson knows she’s a little different, but it hadn’t bothered her too much-until now. Moving away from everything she’s ever known to a new house, new neighborhood, and new school is bad enough, but it’s her first year of high school too, making it even more intimidating. She’s more aware of her social and physical limitations than ever before. And then there are the new people she meets: the tough-looking girl in her home room; the cute but dangerous-looking boy she first saw before school even started; the quiet, older girl who keeps to herself; the sullen-looking, seemingly isolated junior that doesn’t seem to trust or like her at all. Can she trust them? While the peaceful situation of her new home only amplifies the sound of her own doubts, she begins to learn that things are not always what they seem, and her world is turned upside-down by these new friends, two-legged and otherwise. Life soon becomes more complicated, and much more interesting!
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