Out gay author, Holden Sheppard, has just released his second book: a coming-of-age story about a group of “school-leavers” who face a death on a Schoolies trip which changes them forever.
In the works since 2014, the book, called The Brink, touches on subjects of masculinity, sexuality, mental health and identity.
Sheppard: I’m in Everything I Write
Currently on a national book tour from August till November, Sheppard talked with Star Observer about the book, his writing process, and his life as an author.
Revealing that all his books are somewhat autobiographical, the country boy who grew up in Geraldton, a regional coastal city more than 400km north of Perth, Western Australia, said, “I’m in everything I write. I draw on real-life experiences, so my books are about growing up as a young gay man in country Australia.”
He maintained that while the characters and events are made up, the “emotional truth of the story is real.”
Sheppard’s debut novel, Invisible Boy, was released in 2019 and received many awards, including the 2019 Western Australian Premier’s Book Prize for an Emerging Writer. He is currently writing his third book, which is about “a Sicilian-Australian gym junkie grappling with anger and addiction as he hits his thirties.”
Sheppard Writes to Express Himself
The self-professed “binge writer” writes to fulfil his “desire for unfettered self-expression.”
“I write for myself: for catharsis, and also because it’s really bloody fun and makes me happy,” he said.
When asked about what he does after finishing a book, he said, “I crack a can of strong Woodstock bourbon the moment I type the words ‘THE END’. And then usually get a meal with my husband to celebrate.”
For now, Sheppard is looking forward to his next book advance in anticipation of his first tattoos and a custom number plate for his ute.
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