Interview with Rob Christian, Author of Unholy Shepherd

06 Apr 2021

What can you tell us about your new release, Unholy Shepherd?

Unholy Shepherd is the first novel in a psychological thriller series called The Demon Sight. It follows the story of Maureen, a woman who was born with the disturbing ability to see through the eyes of those doing evil in her dreams. After having been instrumental in the discovery of her kidnapped brother’s body when she was just an eight-year old girl, her religiously fanatical mother has her sent to an abusive boarding school in order to exorcise the “demon” inside of her. Upon her escape at 17, she spends the next decade and a half of her life roaming the country, trying to shut out the nightmares that show her the evil of the world until she finds herself entangled in the investigation into the murders of two young boys in a small Missouri town. Now forced to use her abilities for good, she embarks on her mission to help a struggling local detective track down a killer and hopefully lay some of her own demons to rest. I first self-published the book with Kindle Direct Publish on Amazon and soon found myself drowning in the tide, as it were. While shopping around the sequel, I was fortunate enough to be offered a contract by a local publisher here in Wisconsin, Ten16 Press, who is a sub-company of Orange Hat Publishing, and was able to negotiate the re-release of Unholy Shepherd under their brand as well as the next book, A Perfect Victim (debuting sometime in October, he says in a shameless plug!). The new cover and interior design are fantastic, it already had several reviews on Amazon which they were able to merge into the new author page, I got serious and created my own website,, and off we went! Things are getting real now and I’m doing all I can to make this author thing my full time gig.

What or who inspired you to become an author?

People are going to laugh at this, but it’s true. Nathan Fillion and Castle. I was always a good writer and storyteller when I was younger, but I never felt like there was much of an opportunity for a career there. The first time I watched the show I said to myself, “I know it’s all fiction, but damned if Richard Castle (and let’s not get it twisted, Nathan Fillion, who I’ve been a fan of since Firefly) doesn’t make being a mystery writer look fun.” So I dabbled here and there with some ideas for other manuscripts that didn’t really go anywhere until I landed on the idea of The Demon Sight. Then I just sort of bounced around, writing scenes and chapters completely at random before I came to the conclusion that there might actually be a story here. At the time, my wife and I were expecting our son and I was already working from home as it was, so she just told me to go for it for real. And here we are.

What’s on your top 5 list for the best books you’ve ever read?

Lord of the Rings is my favorite book ever and that will never change. I’m a big fan of the Wheel of Time series as well and I would have to say that my favorite book of that series is the third one, The Dragon Reborn. Angels and Demons by Dan Brown will always be up there. I thought it was better than The Davinci Code and miles above his more recent stuff (no offense, meant). I suppose I need to put a “classic” work in there and I’m going to cheat a little and name a Shakespeare play: Julius Caesar is my favorite. Best dialogue, best characters in my opinion. And I’ll throw another oddball one out there. I was a big fan of Cracked back in the day and my favorite writer/online presenter was Daniel O’brien. He wrote a book called How to Fight Presidents that I’ve read so many times and it still makes me laugh.

Say you’re the host of a literary talk show. Who would be your first guest? What would you want to ask?

George R.R. Martin and “When are we getting Winds of Winter”? Or better yet, Nick Petrie, author of the Peter Ash novels and I’d say to him, “Hey, we’re both Wisconsin-based thriller writers who worked in the Real Estate industry (he was a home inspector, I still have my real estate sales license) before we became authors. How about introducing me to your agent?” (I’ve been rejected by over 30 literary agents to date and I’m not bitter at all! Haha! Maybe we with go with the GRRM version?)

What’s your favorite thing about writing?

I like creating worlds and getting inside the heads of my characters. With The Demon Sight, I spend a lot of time delving into the darker corners of the human mind and the extremes that certain societal institutions can be taken to in order to highlight the dangers of going too far. In that sense, it helps me come to terms with things that I see in everyday life that disturb me and leave me questioning how a person could do such things. And, unlike in real life, I get to control the ending as a writer, so that’s always nice.

What is a typical day like for you?

I have a toddler running around the house so there’s no such thing as a typical day. I try to cram in as much work as I can during nap times and on weekends when my wife is around more to watch him. (She’s the one with a “real job” in the family)

What scene from Unholy Shepherd was your favorite to write?

Chapter 14. It’s just a quiet scene between Maureen and the priest, Father Patrick, inside of an empty church but I felt so many layers to it in the dialogue in the subtle physical actions of each of them and it’s there that we first begin to see the cracks in the armor that Maureen wraps herself in against the rest of the world. I also made it a point to place the scene inside a church, which I believed gave it more power as for her entire life up til then the church represented nothing but punishment and pain to her. I loved writing all the scenes between these two characters, but this one was my favorite. It sets up everything that takes place later.

Do you have a motto, quote, or philosophy you live by?

I am a big Whovian and even though Peter Capaldi got off to an inauspicious start in the beginning of Season 9, by the end of his run, he became my favorite Doctor. One of the last things he says (as a reminder to his next self) before his regeneration is “Always try to be nice, but never fail to be kind.” I think that’s a perfect way to live one’s life. My wife had a print of those words made and we framed it and hung it in my son’s room. It’s the perfect reminder.  

Rob Christian is the author of the new book Unholy Shepherd

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