Abigail Shepherd lives in Aberfeldy, Perthshire. Her work has previously appeared in The Flash Fiction Press, Mystery Weekly and Platform for Prose. Her debut novel, Victoria’s Victorian Victory, will soon be published by Rainy Day Reads Publishing. When not writing or reading, you’ll find her fishing, napping, or drinking very good wine.
2016 has been a great year for you. Did you begin the year with some goal in mind?
In a way I did. I’d been trying, unsuccessfully, to get a publisher for my novel for about a year. So I decided I needed to do something different. I started publicizing myself as a writer on Instagram and I wrote some short stories. I sent them to some smaller magazines and online platforms to start with and was blessed in having quite a bit of success with them straight away. So that kept me motivated. The end goal was always to find a publisher for my book, but having a few publishing credits to list in my submission letters, as well as a decent online presence, definitely helped me get one.
What’s your favorite story you’ve written?
My favorite short story is called A New Life. It received a commendation in the 2016 William Soutar Writing Prize. I was so proud of myself! It’s since been published by my local library in an anthology.
Have you ever felt hopeless about your writing? How did you deal with it?
I definitely doubted that I’d ever have my book published after trying unsuccessfully for a year. But deep down I just knew, have always known, that I’m a writer. So I just had to keep reminding myself that if I kept writing, it would happen for me. Maybe not with that book, but one day. And it did, just as I was about to give up on sending that book out.
What inspires you to blog?
I really just want to share my experiences with other writers. I got so much help myself from other writing blogs, (especially this one) I want to add to that, continue it. So at the moment, when I’m mostly learning to market my novel, I’m sharing what I’ve found works well and what works less well.
Which book has inspired you as a writer?
I really love the old fashioned children’s books. Think Anne of Green Gables, Little Women, Little House on the Prairie, Huckleberry Finn. I suppose that’s why I ended up writing a children’s story set in Victorian times myself!
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Just keep trying.
What according to you is the one thing a writer must always keep in mind?
A book can be many things, but remember that it’s main purpose is to entertain!
What is your motto?
“Don’t be ‘a writer’. Be writing.”- William Faulkner.
Anything else you’d like to add?
Only that, please, don’t let fear stop you from writing. It can be scary to put your work out there but, if it’s authentic, there will be people who love it.