Today I am interviewing Peng Shepherd, author of the new dystopian novel, The Book of M.
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DJ: Hi Peng! Thanks for agreeing to do this interview! For readers who aren’t familiar with you, could you tell us a little about yourself?
Peng Shepherd: Thank you for having me! The Book of M is my first novel, and it still feels like a dream that it’s actually out there. I’ve been writing ever since I was a kid, but really decided to get serious about it several years ago. I moved to New York to attend NYU’s MFA in creative writing program, which is where I first got the seed of the idea for this book, but it wasn’t until after I graduated that I finished it. Before that, I studied International Studies and Diplomacy and worked for several years in the private security industry. Very different, I know!
DJ: What is The Book of M about?
Peng: The Book of M is about a mysterious phenomenon that first causes one person’s shadow to disappear, but then rapidly spreads across the globe, with terrifying effects—those who lose their shadows also start to lose their memories, but at the same time gain a new, dangerous kind of magic, and this begins to tear the world apart.
Husband Ory and wife Max have survived unscathed for two years, until at the beginning of the book, Max’s shadow suddenly disappears too, which forces them decide whether to keep hiding or to confront the nightmarish land outside their hideout in the hope of finding a cure.
DJ: What were some of your influences for The Book of M?
Peng: I love big, sprawling stories set in our world but with some kind of fantastical or sci-fi twist, like Stephen King’s The Stand, Justin Cronin’s The Passage series, or Elizabeth Kostova’s The Historian. I really admire how those authors made each character feel so real, and how frighteningly possible their fictional realities seemed. Continue reading