Behind The Book With Peng Shepherd

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Behind The Book With Peng Shepherd 

I recently did a regular Q&A with Peng Shepherd where we briefly spoke about her new release All This And More as well as her books and many other fun topics which you can read here . I finished reading the book myself and I’m glad to be doing this mini Q&A about All This And More. 

Q: For those who haven’t read All This And More, would you please give a brief description of the novel?

A: All This and More is a speculative thriller that weaves together mystery, romance, and a little bit of darkness. 

Marsh has spent her whole life playing it safe, but when her careful, risk-free world implodes anyway, she realizes she’s done it all wrong and missed her chance at everything—until a mysterious new game show makes a miracle possible. “All This and More” has figured out how to send contestants back to specific moments in their past, so they can make different choices and change their present lives. And when Marsh is chosen out of millions to be the next contestant, she can’t believe her luck. 

But everything we do has consequences. Especially if the prize is happiness. As Marsh seizes one dream after the next, she begins to worry that the show’s promises might be too good to be true. Because while her life keeps getting better and better, something seems a bit off…

Q: What made you want to have All This And More as a build your own adventure novel? 

A: In our own lives, all of us have had to face difficult choices or grapple with regret over things we wish had gone differently, and that very human struggle is the heart of All This and More. What if you actually could go back and fix your past mistakes? How would that change your life? And would it be worth what you’d have to give up?

I really wanted readers to not just read a novel about these questions, but also get the chance to experience firsthand the miraculous situation Marsh finds herself in. You still can read the novel straight through like a typical book, but at certain points in the text, All This and More will give you the chance to help Marsh choose what she alters about her life, and you can decide whether to keep reading her story as it’s laid out—or to change her path.

By giving you the option to make these choices, it allows you to really declare what matters to you, as a reader and as a person.

Q: In our Q&A we recently did, when I asked where your ideas for your stories come from & what made you interested in writing you wrote But I wish I knew where my ideas came from, because it would make the writing process a lot less terrifying! In truth, my books take years to develop. That being said, how long did it take for you to plot & write All This And More? 

A: All This and More came together much faster than I expected, given its complicated structure! Of course, the idea was percolating for a few years in the background while I was finishing The Cartographers, but if you just count actual writing time, I think I spent about six or eight months writing the first draft, and another six months in edits.

I’m not saying I never had to delete half a chapter or rewrite a subplot, but the idea was just so exciting to me that the pages just flew out of my fingers! Even for the same author, every book’s process is a little different.

Q: Let’s say we did have the option to go back and make different choices just to see what if, would you be curious like Marsh and change things if offered the choice? Or would you rather not? Honestly, I wonder but I’m the type of person that is fine with only looking forward and not torturing myself with “what if”. 

A: Having written this book and imagined all the possible ways even the best-intended choice could go sideways, I think I’m with you! Plus, what scares me even more about the idea is that, if your choices did go well, the power would become so addictive, it would be so hard to stop making changes.

Q: Which character in All This And More is most like you & why?

A: Probably none of them! The main character Marsh is definitely my most polar opposite. But that’s what made her so interesting to write. Getting the chance to inhabit the mind and life of a character so different from yourself, and go on their adventures—as a writer or a reader—is really what it’s all about.