After the critical and commercial success of Unknown Children (Fremantle Press), our favorite WA author is back with a time-traveling adventure of teenage horror in his new book, The Brink.
Author, coach and footy lover Holden Sheppard has just released his second book The Brink. Heady, hard-hitting, and viscerally confronting, Sheppard dives headfirst into the world of teenage freedom.
The Brink (The Text Publishing Company) is an exciting story about a group of friends, fresh out of high school and determined to find out who they are and why they were created.
Going to the beach after school, the young people find themselves in a remote town, where the residents say not to disturb. But when disaster strikes, young people are faced with a level of responsibility they never saw coming.
Unafraid to broach difficult subjects, Sheppard’s work cuts across the spectrum. Euphoria, section Women’s educationhalf the beach, and half Lord of the Flies story of the tragic freedom that can be found on the cusp of adulthood.
We caught up with Holden to talk about some of his favorite things, among them, WWE Smackdown and a cozy night in watching a movie with his husband.
Be happy: Hey holden, what are you doing today?
Holden: Today I opened the boxes of my new book THE BRINK that was sent to my house for me to sign and then return to a bookstore. There are hundreds of copies sitting on the table I pulled out in our living room (we don’t usually have a table inside) and the entire table is covered in bookshelves, so I’ll continue to work for most of the arvo. Then I’ll do a few emails, go for a walk, and then maybe sit down with a cup of coffee to read a script from an emerging author I’m mentoring. Rockstar life, right?
Be happy: Tell us about your community, what do you like/dislike about where you live?
Holden: I live in a redevelopment area (read: bogan) near the beach in the far north of Perth, about 42 kilometers from the city. I go for walks around my neighborhood, mostly during the day, and I like the beauty of everything if it’s not rough around the edges in parts (like me). Some areas are under construction so I look at the construction of new buildings and roads which I like because I have become an urban planner. I don’t like that I live too far from the CBD, so it often prevents me from going too far south for events on the weekends because it’s not worth the trip. My friends make fun of me because I carry a backpack if I’m going south of Perth like Fremantle or Rockingham. What a trip, man!
Be happy: Describe your typical work day.
Holden: Although writing music is my full-time job these days, I do a few hours of regular work in the garden every week. So on the days I work, it’s a bar from dawn to noon or so, then smash a meal at home because I’m starving after lifting heavy things all day, then I spend my arvo at home. office to process emails and lead or take meetings, phone calls or media work. On days when I don’t have a day job, I hit the gym for two hours in the morning, grab takeout coffee, and spend the afternoon writing or editing my stories. orotherOther, then the arvo is the admin and email time. I almost always knock on the door at 6pm every day and keep the evenings free to spend time with my husband and then catch up on my emails for the day, but during busy times I I finish work at night. And of course, when I’m in a publishing cycle for a new book, almost all author events happen at night, so that makes for a few months of chaos.
Be happy: How was your last day?
Holden: During footy season, Saturday is my favorite day of the week, and it’s my last day. I get up and go to footy training (I play AFL 9s with the Perth Hornets Football Club), smash brekky with one of the boys from footy, then grab a Gatorade and come home to having fun with my husband and watching WWE Smackdown with him. In the arvo, I’ll knock back a few bourbons before every AFL game on TV, then my husband and I will have a cheat meal for tea and watch a movie. It’s low key but I’m a bit of a hermit and more involved than most people realize, so my idea is heaven.
Be happy: If we paid you $500,000 for this interview what would you do with the money?
Holden: Hookers and smokes, baby! Yes, I get rid of the big boy toys that I always wanted but couldn’t get because the life of a writer is you’re always living on food. I did some mods to my ute, bought a dirt bike or quad bike, and bought a jet ski. I have some ink. Maybe go to Europe with my husband or hit places like Japan and Canada. And the rest I’ll probably do something cool like a home library. I want a house on a few acres somewhere.
Be happy: What did you read or watch growing up that sparked your interest in storytelling?
Holden: When I was young, it was a book by Enid Blyton (the Malory Towers nursery school program), Emily Rodda (ka Teen Power Inc series), the Cairo Jim series by Geoffrey McSkimming, and the Usborne Bag Complaint series, the Tintin songs by Hergé and Perfect – I loved the Pokémon anime and I wrote a lot of Pokémon fanfiction. When I was young, I was afraid of the Harry Potter series by JK Rowling, the tomorrow John Marsden and JJ Abrams’ spy thriller TV series name.
Be happy: What book are you reading?
Holden: I started The great gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald because I haven’t read it even though it’s classic.
Be happy: What was the last book you read that opened your eyes and mind to a new idea?
Holden: I just finished The Hush by Sara Foster, a dystopian thriller but a timely statement about a world where women’s control over their own bodies and pregnancies has been taken away by the government. The eye was opened, and the prescient was published last year. I also read The Child from the Mish by Gary Lonesborough a while back and it’s a real insight into the experience of growing up gay and Aboriginal.
Be happy: If you had a first date book list, what would it be?
Holden: If he reads it and likes it The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho, I think we should get along like a house on fire.