Photo by Rachel Crittenden
Peng Shepherd, a Valley native, was inspired by nature and art from a young age. She trained in classical ballet and explored the outdoors on her trusty steed. Following her dream, shepherd continued her education and development at New York University, where she earned her master of fine arts in creative writing. Since then, Shepherd has lived in cities all over the world including Beijing, London, Los Angeles, Washington D.C. and Philadelphia and has been keeping her creative juices flowing by writing her first novel titled the book of m. The Book of m was a project that did not come naturally at first. She had the general theme she wanted to incorporate but was unable to conjure up a unique take on shadows… until she ran into the astronomical phenomenon, zero shadow day. Zero shadow day occurs when the earth’s rotation causes a certain area of land to become perfectly aligned with the sun for a few minutes. This alignment causes objects placed vertically on the ground to not cast shadows.
After the earth has had a few minutes to continue its rotation, your shadow, of course, returns and everything is normal again…except in the book of m, it doesn’t return, and that’s where the story begins. In this exclusive interview, shepherd gives insight on her novel and how her life led up to writing her first novel.