Lloyd Shepherd grew up in Kent to Mancunian and Welsh parents. He was educated at Sevenoaks School and Peterhouse, Cambridge. He spent a decade as a journalist writing about the film and television industries, before becoming a digital producer for the likes of the Guardian, the BBC, Channel 4 and Yahoo. He has written two novels to date: The English Monster, his first, was shortlisted for the Authors' Club Best First Novel Award and the Historical Writers Association/Goldsboro Books Crown for Debut Fiction. Lloyd lives in South London with his family. He blogs at Lloyd Shepherd.
Why do you blog? > To maintain enthusiasm for as many things as possible. I find that when I'm not blogging, I'm crabby and uninterested in the world.
What has been your best blogging experience? > Writing about book piracy and the state of the book business. It helped me learn a lot about an industry I was new to, and seemed to hit a lot of sweet spots and nerve endings.
What would be your main blogging advice to a novice blogger? > Write every day, even if you think you have nothing to say. And don't worry if nobody's listening.
Who are your intellectual heroes? > Hugh Thomas, Simon Schama, Greil Marcus, Robert Hooke, Roy Porter, Kenneth Clark, Ben Goldacre, Jared Diamond, Steve Jones, Michael Pollan, George Orwell, Clive James, James Fallows, Tyler Cowen, Tim Harford, Antony Beevor, Nick Cohen, Ian Macdonald.
What are you reading at the moment? > War and Peace, The Marlowe Papers, Hellblazer.
Who are your cultural heroes? > Kurt Vonnegut, Henry James, Stephen King, David Thomson, David Mitchell, David Bowie, John Milton, Andrew Marvell, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Graham Greene, Christopher Hitchens, Anne Tyler, Alan Moore, Garth Ennis, T.S. Eliot, Thomas Middleton, Tomas Tranströmer, John Donne, Neal Stephenson, Robert Johnson, Richard Thompson.
What is the best novel you've ever read? > The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James.
What is your favourite poem? > 'Ample Make This Bed' by Emily Dickinson.
What is your favourite movie? > Alien.
What is your favourite song? > 'This Is A Low' by Blur.
Who is your favourite composer? > David Bowie.
What philosophical thesis do you think it most important to disseminate? > That the freedom to think and to say what you are thinking are the most fundamental of all freedoms.
What philosophical thesis do you think it most important to combat? > That any political or religious settlement is more important than the freedom of the individual to think or express themselves.
Can you name a work of non-fiction which has had a major and lasting influence on how you think about the world? > The Slave Trade, by Hugh Thomas. It caused me to question many of the ethical underpinnings and assumptions of British history.
Who are your political heroes? > My father, Neil Kinnock, Clement Attlee, Tony Blair, Alan Johnson, Barbara Castle, Abraham Lincoln. Practical politicians, not visionary ones.
What do you consider to be the main threat to the future peace and security of the world? > Economic inequality.
Do you think the world (human civilization) has already passed its best point, or is that yet to come? > The world is better now than it ever has been, and will continue to improve.
What would be your most important piece of advice about life? > Kindness is good for you.
What do you consider the most important personal quality? > Kindness, again.
What personal fault do you most dislike? > Selfishness.
What commonly enjoyed activities do you regard as a waste of time? > The Apprentice.
What, if anything, do you worry about? > My son. My daughter. My wife. And everything else.
If you were to relive your life to this point, is there anything you'd do differently? > I would have started writing, seriously, earlier. I was too scared of not being any good at it. It's stupid to be scared of something like that.
Where would you most like to live (other than where you do)? > By the sea, in a warm country, with a boat bobbing against the jetty.
What would your ideal holiday be? > In a house by a beach with my wife, my family and our closest friends.
What talent would you most like to have? > I'd like to be able to make interesting conversation during social occasions. Rather than clamming up like a panicked mannequin.
Who is your favourite comedian or humorist? > It changes all the time. Currently, Louis C.K.
Who are your sporting heroes? > Bryan Robson, Eric Cantona, Jimmy and Brian Greenhoff, Lou Macari, Sir Alex Ferguson.
Which English Premiership football team do you support? > See above!
What animal would you most like to be? > Chas Chandler.
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