Hi Alexandra, can you tell us about yourself?
Hello! My name is Alexandra Sheppard and I’m one of those rare things: a Londoner who was actually born in London. I live in Holloway, the same area where I was born. Before my debut YA book was published, I worked in advertising as a social media manager for over a decade.
Can you tell us about your latest book?
My debut novel OMGs (Oh My Gods) was published by Scholastic in 2019. It’s a novel about fourteen-year-old Helen Thomas, who is very much a normal teenager apart from one thing: she’s half Greek god. Her Dad is Zeus, king of the gods, and she’s just moved in with her family of self-obsessed immortal siblings. Can Helen navigate new school, new friends and her first potential romance while keeping her half-mortal identity secret?
When did you decide to become a writer?
I suppose I’ve always been a writer. My parents still have my short stories and poems from when I was Reception age! But it wasn’t until much later that I permitted myself to dream I could become an author. I started to knuckle down and write my story when I was twenty (with much procrastination along the way) so OMGs was ten years in the making.
Once I gave myself the title of ‘writer’, I was able to take the act of sitting down to write much more seriously. I think it’s important for writers to do that, even if they haven’t had anything published yet.
What’s the best bit about being a writer?
For me, it’s interaction with my young readers – especially at school visits. They’re so funny, honest, smart and switched-on, and it’s the highlight of my job for sure.
Can you tell us what you’re working on next?
I’m currently writing my second YA novel, which is truly the story of my heart: it touches on themes that fascinate me such as magic, sisterhood, inheritance and gentrification – as well as a healthy helping of Jamaican food.
What other interests do you have?
I love to cook and lockdown has really brought the latent baker in me to the surface. Right now, I’m obsessed with making the perfect shortcrust pastry, whether it’s for apple pie or Jamaican beef patties. I still have some way to go!
OK, here are the questions everyone needs to know the answers to:
Chocolate Hobnob or Lemon Drizzle cake?
Lemon Drizzle cake! It’s my all-time favourite, but only if it’s very lemon-y.
Cream soda or Limeade?
Ten year-old Alex would say cream soda, but now I’d have to say neither. Fizzy drinks make my teeth itch.
Jollof or plantain?
I do love them both but plantain wins for its versatility. Is there a single meal that that wouldn’t be improved with a side of fried plantain?
Trainers or Flip-flops?
Trainers. I live in my comfy Nike Air Forces and reserve my Havaianas flip-flops for the beach.
Tucking your shirt in or leaving it out?
I can’t remember. Have I even worn a shirt since lockdown started?
What’s your best celeb spot?
I’ve seen a few ex-Labour politicians while walking the dog on Hampstead Heath. Bo-ring! Though I did spot Damian Lewis washing his car on my road. He lives in the posh end, apparently.
Thanks, Alexandra, where can we find out more about you?
Where can we buy your book?
OMG (Scholastic) is on sale now.