S. CHRIS SHIRLEY

Playing by the Book
Playing by the Book

MEANINGLESS FACTS ABOUT THE AUTHOR OF PLAYING BY THE BOOK

DISTRIBUTOR

FAQs       .



(Transcribed from an Interview by Julie Aaron, one of Jake’s love interests in Playing by The Book)


- Julie -

Hello, my name is Julie Aaron, and I’m interviewing S. Chris Shirley for a stupid school assignment.  Chris wrote this book called Playing by The Rules.


- Chris -

It’s actually Playing by The Book.


- Julie -

Whatever. Is it true that you quit your day job to write this book?


- Chris -

Yes, I quit my day job on a Friday and started film school the following Monday.


- Julie -

Why did you go to film school?


- Chris -

Well, I first wrote this story as a screenplay so I went to film school to make it into a movie.  Unfortunately, it took me two more years to figure out that I really wanted to be a novelist.


- Julie -

Wait--this book was originally a screenplay?  Isn’t that sort of backwards?  I mean, don’t people usually write the book then do the movie?


- Chris -

Yes, typically, but that’s not the way it worked for me.  I got the story down first then wrote the book.  A screenplay is sort of like a blueprint so a lot is involved in adapting it to a--


- Julie -

So is this book or movie or whatever based on your life?


- Chris -

No, I wouldn’t say that.  Certainly, there are elements of my life in it but--


- Julie -

Well, what inspired you to write it?


- Chris -

The inspiration for Playing by the Book struck me while sitting in church, listening to a fundamentalist Christian pastor—whom I respect very much—say some awful things against homosexuals from the pulpit.


- Julie -

So that pissed you off so you decided to write a story to put this man in his place. I get it.


- Chris -

Not at all. Even as this preacher was saying that gay people would burn in hell, I still had great respect for him. He is a pillar of his community and a good and caring man. I know that many of my New York friends--many of whom are atheist--would see him as ignorant just as this preacher would dismiss them as plain wrong. I had lived long enough in both “worlds” to understand them and felt a bit trapped between the two. So I wrote a novel about a gay preacher’s son in such a way that it straddled these two “worlds”: where red state meets blue state, fundamentalist Christian meets Atheist, and gay meets straight.


- Julie -

Was this book based on your life? Like Jake, you’re from Alabama, you went to Columbia and you were a HUGE closet case, right?


- Chris -

Well, I don’t know if I was a HUGE closet case... 


- Julie -

How old were you when you came out, again?


- Chris -

Okay, I was a HUGE closet case.  And I am from Alabama and I did go to Columbia, but the similarities pretty much stop there.  What is nearly identical for both Jake and me are the internal demons we had to overcome.


- Julie -

So, are you the son of a preacher too?  Wait--were you a boy preacher?!


- Chris -

My father was the Sunday School director at our church so he stood behind the pulpit a lot but he wasn’t a preacher, nor was I.


- Julie -

I have to ask about your writing process as part of this assignment.  Snooze.


Chis

My favorite question!  I get up every morning at 5:30 AM and write for an hour.  Sitting on the exact same spot on my old leather sofa, I first re-read what I wrote the day before--


- Julie -

Okay, that’s about all the time we have.  Can we bring this baby in for a landing?


- Chris -

Well, I brought you a copy of my novel.  Here--I hope you enjoy it.


- Julie -

Aww.  That’s so sweet.  Would you mind dropping it with my doorman?


S. Chris Shirley