Monday, March 17, 2014

Shane Berryhill and the Outlaws

If you don't know Shane Berryhill, you're missing out on one of the most down to earth guys I know. He's also one hell of a writer, who likes to hit the convention circuit pretty hard, so you should definitely look him up. Oh, and he's gonna be part of this year's Free Comic Book Day celebration with his new book from 12 Gauge Comics. But enough of me talking about him. Let's go straight to the horse's mouth.


Tell us a bit about your latest work.

SHERWOOD, TEXAS, my creator-owned comic with the 12-Gauge Comics team, is a re-imagining of the Robin Hood legend as a modern day biker gang epic with spaghetti western style. The Free Comic Book Day edition drops 5/3/14 with a BOONDOCK SAINTS co-feature. Tell your comics retailer to order “Item Code JAN140051” (Heck, tell them you want the series at large!). You may learn more about the FCBD edition here: http://www.freecomicbookday.com/Home/1/1/27/1042?stockItemID=STK634422

What are the themes and subjects you tend to revisit in your work?

Heroes and Villains, I suppose, as my published work to date has been aimed predominately at a younger audience (My first prose novel, CHANCE FORTUNE AND THE OUTLAWS, was a NY Public Library ‘Book for the Teen Age.’ Another novel of mine featuring kaiju and young outsiders, DRAGON ISLAND, was praised by Wired Magazine’s Geek Dad). SHERWOOD, TEXAS certainly has heroes and villains, but—as it’s adult-oriented—I’m enjoying being able to dabble in Game of Thrones style-shades of gray. “Rob Hood” (aka, “Loxley”) may be the hero of the piece, but this first story arc has him engaging in some pretty ruthless behavior (It will be up to the reader to decide if Hood’s actions are warranted or not). And even my villain, “John Prince,” holds his family dear (at least, in his own way).

What would be your dream project?

My dream project? I’ve got about a hundred of them, both in regard to creator-owned stuff and licensed properties (In regard to the latter, check out my Valiant Kindle Worlds story, X-O MANOWAR: THE GOLDEN CIRCLE, in which I give Aric the Visigoth is own personal Ragnarok—an ending that may very well also be his/the X-O armor’s beginning: http://www.amazon.com/X-O-Manowar-Golden-Circle-Novella-ebook/dp/B00EQENA3K). But what would make me happier than anything would to be able to write, create (and direct and produce?!) full-time.

If you have any former project to do over to make it better, which one would it be, and what would you do?

To look back is madness.

What inspires you to write? 

Anything and everything. But the truth is, I’m helpless to do otherwise.

What writers have influenced your style and technique?

Ol’ Stevie King is why I decided to try my hand at writing—or, at least, he was telling the kinds of stories I enjoyed and wanted to emulate. George RR Martin has shown me how to take a character from Point A at the beginning of a chapter and lead them to Point B at the chapter’s end in a way so their motivations are on display/the action has impact. But as far as my nuts and bolts style—when I’m writing prose for adults (and even when I’m not), my favorite is the minimalist, no bullshit style found in a lot of detective fiction (Lean and mean, baby!). Specifically for me, authors like fellow novelist and comics scribe Charlie Huston or James Sallis (I love DRIVE!), John D. McDonald, etc., etc. (I get competitive with myself, trying to paint as big a picture as I can with as few words as possible). When it’s working, I’m able to induce some Bradburyian-style poetry into my work, as well (In all humility).

Where would you rank writing on the "Is it an art or it is a science continuum?"

Why? They are two sides of the same coin, and one helps the other. The late Frank Herbert, author of the bestselling DUNE saga, talked about how, when he’d come back and read what he’d written over the course of a week, etc., he’d be unable to tell what he’d written while in the “zone” and what he’d written while he was out of it.

Any other upcoming projects you would like to plug?

The second arc of SHERWOOD, TEXAS with 12-Gauge Comics is on deck. Daniel Hillyard--the artist on SHERWOOD’--and I have another creator-owned comics project in development. Further down the road, I’ll be publishing a novel with Ragnarok Publications (check out my story, HEARTLAND, in their KAIJU RISING: AGE OF MONSTERS anthology) called BAD MOJO (Think “Harry Dresden combined with the Dukes of Hazzard”). If you’d like to keep up with me and my work (and I hope you do), you may do so via Facebook, Twitter, and shaneberryhill.com.