Interview: Chris Sherrill, Author of What Rough Beast

What Rough Beast

Where were you born?

New Albany, Mississippi.

What did you want to be when you grew up?

Any number of things.

Other than author, what jobs have you had?

I’ve been poet, a preacher, a clown and a king. Actually, I was a preacher. My wife thinks I’m a clown, but it’s not a paying gig. I pay the bills by doing paralegal research.

About Chris Sherrill’s writing

How did you come to write What Rough Beast?

I was thinking about the improper, and sometimes bizarre, impulses that people have, and I wondered, what if it were suddenly universally impossible to control those impulses. What if a series of events sent the public into a panic, and we lost all self-restraint?

What’s the opening paragraph?

“Ours was not the worst generation of people.  I’m sure of that.  In my heart of hearts, I’m sure that our generation was no different from any that came before it.  Yes, the seven deadly sins were well represented among us, but in fairness it has to be said that they had been just as well represented in every preceding generation.  Were our weaknesses so much greater, were they so much more pronounced than in generations past?  Were they so great in our day that we should earn the distinction of being the last generation of human beings?”

Chris said he would rather:

Sell a million copies of this book but never win an award than win a Nobel Prize for Literature but only sell 20,000 copies.

Now for a bit of fun…

What’s the most exciting book you read last year?

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson.

Describe your perfect weekend…

To be wakened by the warm sun coming gently through my window. Breakfast is ready. I eat, drink leisurely coffee, after coffee, write awhile, eat lunch, write some more, nap, write, eat, walk along the beach as the sun sets, write some more. Go to bed, composing in my sleep.  

Describe a more realistic weekend…

Get up, prepare coffee, fuss at the kids-they haven’t done anything, but sleep-tossled hair makes me ornery for some reason (what else could it be?), drink coffee, write, drink coffee, write/review/drink coffee/edit/rewrite/drink coffee. Whew. Do some errand(s) for my wife. Tell her she’s more beautiful that ever and watch her snurl up her nose, but grin. Write, watch some TV, go to bed.

You’re having a dinner party and you can invite one writer, one musician, one monarch, one villain and one president. Who do you invite and why?

Hemingway – to see just how much he could really drink.

Leonard Bernstein – I don’t know why.

Louis XVI, hoping he would bring the lovely Antoinette.

Jack the Ripper – to learn his identity. There’d be a bestseller in that.

Bill Clinton, to watch the interaction between him and Antoinette.

You get to spend the afternoon with my six cats – heaven or hell? Explain!

Gosh, I don’t know. Ask a poligamist with six wives.

Share one blog you love to read


Fill in the blanks – how did Chris finish these openers?

He took her trembling body in his manly arms…

…”My darling, did you take my chewing gum? I had it between my cheek and gum when we kissed and now…” She slapped him solidly.

He tipped his hat and turned away. After a few steps he stopped,…

…”You know, that slap hurt like hell. Are you sure you didn’t take my chewing gum?”

In the darkness, he heard the sound of…

….her high heels marching across the wooden floor. She stopped, cursed. “I found your damned chewing gum!” 

Word association – how did Chris respond to these word prompts?

Writer… Artist

Bestseller… Marketing

Ambition… Prize

Cheese… Yogurt

And finally…

Now you get to ask me a question…

Really? Six cats? Don’t they fight for your attention and affection?

Rarely – they seem to have developed a bit of a timetable plus they are very close and get lots of affection from one another!

Thank you so much to Chris for joining me today!

About What Rough Beast
What Rough BeastThe Reverand Jonathan Taylor finds himself fighting for his life- and his very humanity- in a world suddenly gone mad. Skyrocketing news reports of random acts of violence around the globe, rumors of a deadly virus gone airborne and a spike in seismic activity seem far removed from the small town in South Carolina where Jonathan leads his well-ordered life. But as the world loses its grip on self-control, Jonathan realizes he, too, is susceptible to the madness gripping the world’s population, a madness that is like the awakening of a horrifying inner beast.
About Chris Sherrill
“I’m an earthy man in search of the divine, and I find it everywhere, usually hiding in plain sight. I’m an observer, watching people and trying to figure out what they’re saying by their demeanor as much as by their words. And I’m enamored of words, written and spoken, and their power to build or destroy, incite or calm, woo or repel. I’ve done manual labor so greasy and dirty it became part of my fingerprint. I’ve done clean work, first as a minister and then as a paralegal researcher, and both of these became part of my fingerprint, too. And I write. I tell the stories that tell themselves to me. I think readers will come to recognize my fingerprint. It’ll be coarse and gritty at times and at times respectable and clean, and it will show the nicks of someone who grapples with what it means to be.”
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Dave Brown

I was born in Barnsley, South Yorkshire, England and have always been a bookworm and enjoyed creative writing at school. In 1999 I created the Elencheran Chronicles and have been writing ever since. My first novel, Fezariu's Epiphany, was published in May 2011. When not writing I'm a lover of films, games, books and blogging. I live in Barnsley, with my wife, Donna, and our six cats - Kain, Razz, Buggles, Charlie, Bilbo and Frodo.
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