Wednesday, March 23, 2011
Interview with Damnation Press author, Lincoln Crisler
Today, my guest is Damnation Press author, Lincoln Crisler.
1) Tell me a little about your book.
WILD is a western/detective story with zombies and black magic thrown into the mix. It's based loosely on the unsolved disappearance of Colonel Albert Jennings Fountain. It's my first novella, and I wrote it while deployed to Qatar last year.
2) What gave you the idea for this particular story?
I offered my Facebook fans and friends a choice between a western/horror/Sherlock Holmes-esque story and something else. They chose the former. Colonel Fountain's disappearance fell around the time of Sherlock Holmes, and I fell in love with the idea, even though the final product is pretty far from being anything like Holmes!
3) Are you a full-time writer or part-time, and how do you organize your writing time?
I'm a part time writer. My main occupation is as a Staff Sergeant in the US Army and my wife and I run a Virtual Assistant business together on the side. As I'm sure you can imagine, organizing my writing time means writing when I can! I can't really set a schedule and count on sticking to it, but if I can squeeze some writing or promotional work into my lunch break, I do my best. Otherwise, I just have to grab it when I can in the evenings. I'm on the computer a lot. I'm pretty sure my wife's going to leave me for an Amish man if I'm not famous in five years.
4) When did you first know you wanted to be a writer?
Always. When I was a little kid, I was published a few times in school magazines. In high school, I wrote for and edited a community newspaper with a circulation of 10,000 copies monthly, which led to an internship at the city paper. While I was there I became the only intern to publish an article in the paper with a byline like a paid reporter. I wrote one of the stories in my first published collection, DESPAIRS & DELIGHTS, when I was in high school.
5) What do you hope readers will take from your writing?
I hope my readers are entertained, more than anything else. If someone can come home from work, get the kids in bed, pour a glass of whiskey and have fun reading about cowboys shooting zombies, I've done my job. Some of my short stories might make you think a bit. I want readers to pick me up like they would a good movie, and for pretty much the same reasons.
6) Which genres do you write, which do you prefer, and why?
Most of what I write is dark, be it straight horror, science fiction or fantasy. I'm half-done with a novelette that would be most appropriately termed a 'thriller.' I have two novels on the back burner; one is horror and the other is mainstream. I just enjoy writing. If a story grabs me by the short hairs and doesn't let go, I'm not terribly concerned with the genre it falls into. As long as it's good!
7) What is the toughest part about being a writer and how do you get past it?
Being patient with editors, publishers, artists. I broke myself of it real quick by actually putting together an anthology while deployed to Afghanistan in 2007. After reading slush, sending out rejections and submissions, laying out the pages and working with a cover artist, I had a lot more appreciation for everyone else's time constraints.
8) Is there anything in your story based upon a real life event? If so, tell me about it.
In 1896, Colonel Albert Jennings Fountain and his son disappeared in New Mexico. He was on his way back from assisting in the prosecution of some criminals, so it wasn't too hard to put things together. The authorities couldn't pin anything to the most likely suspects, and they never found any bodies. After reading about the case (which you can do at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albert_Jennings_Fountain, if you're interested!), I knew the answers had to be zombies and a black magician. Nothing else makes sense when you examine the facts. Or something.
9) How much is your protagonist like you? How different?
Matt Jacoby is logical and carries a gun; we have those things in common. Unlike me, he's confident enough to ride out into the desert with the leader of an outlaw gang. I'd have just shot that joker in the face and cut my losses!
10) What kind of research did you do for this type of story?
For starters, the Wikipedia article I mentioned earlier. I also lived in the area in which the story takes place for three years, while stationed at Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas. That's about it, other than the occasional bit of Spanish.
11) Do writing violent or highly sexual scenes bother you? Why or why not?
No way. Anything necessary to the logical progression of a story, I'm fine with. I don't typically write the most gruesome depictions possible, mind you, but I don't cheat my readers, either. I'm not going to lie, though; sometimes it's a fine line, and you can't please everyone!
12) What about your book makes it special?
WILD is special because it's my first novella; not first published, but first ever. That's got to count for something. I wrote it while deployed with the Army; not every reader can say they have something like that on their shelves. If that wasn't enough, I've produced a lettered hardcover edition to go with the Damnation Books digital and paperback versions. The limited features a painted cover by Tom Erb, interior illustrations by Ash Arceneaux and an exclusive introduction and bonus short story.
13) What is your marketing plan?
Work my ass off.
Really, though; I'm running a blog tour throughout the month of March and I have a spreadsheet loaded with reviewers that probably have an ARC on their hard drive or shelf at this very moment. I'll probably run a couple of contests in April or May. At the end of April I'll be at World Horror in Austin, Texas, kissing hands and shaking babies. And there'll be a few more convention appearances throughout the year.
14) Where can people learn more about you and your work?
My website is http://lincolncrisler.info. For those who'd like to stay up to date without having to visit the site all the time, I have separate RSS feeds for my complete blog and my book reviews, and I also have a newsletter. Subscribers to the newsletter have been known to receive advance excerpts from projects, sneak peeks at art, free fiction and the like. It's a pretty good deal.
15) Any tips for new writers hoping to write in the genre of your book?
Don't run with scissors. And don't be impatient. You'll shoot yourself in the foot. Promise from me to you.
Lincoln Crisler's debut novella, WILD, is due in March from Damnation Books. He has also authored a pair of short story collections, Magick & Misery (2009, Black Bed Sheet) and Despairs & Delights (2008, Arctic Wolf). A United States Army combat veteran and non-commissioned officer, Lincoln lives in Augusta, Georgia with his wife and two of his three children. You can visit his website at www.lincolncrisler.info.