I have another awesome author to introduce you guys to this afternoon - Kelly Crigger. He is the author of Curmudgeonism: A Surly Man's Guide to Midlife (you can find my review here). I've been excited about sharing this interview with you guys - this man is not afraid to share what is going on inside his head and cracks me up, plus finding out more about the man behind the book is always super interesting to me. So, here we go ...
Hi, Kelly. Welcome to The Gal. Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I spent 24 years in the Army and thought I knew who I was but then I got out and found the civilian world to be far less hospitable than what I dreamed it was. In the military everyone worked toward a common goal and you watched the backs of the men on your left and right, but on the outside it was every man for themselves. Being lied to and stabbed in the back was incredibly common and easy for more people than I wanted to believe. I freaked out a little and quickly learned not to trust anyone and took comfort in booze, skepticism, caffeine, and hate.
What are 5 things about you that most people don't know?
I drink a lot of bourbon. Well, that's probably not true. Everyone knows that or cant inure it out from my author picture. Let's see, 5 things? Really? That's tough because I laid out 100 things about me in the book and the rest I want to keep to myself.
What is the first book you remember reading?
The Outsiders. No, wait ... The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. But I don't remember much about it. The Outsiders was the first book that punched me in the gut.
What made you decide to begin writing?
I was stationed in Korea and my wife complained one day that there was no selection in the English bookstore. I always had that typical "I want to write a book someday" fantasy and saw this as the universe holding the door open to try. So I wrote her a novel and gave it to her on her birthday. It sounds way more romantic than it was because it sucked and 11 years later I'm still rewriting that story to get it published. She probably would have preferred a new washing machine.
Do you have any quirks or processes that you go through when you write?
Drink and read news stories about horrible people. Puts me right in the mood.
Do you have a special place you like to write?
Is there anything about writing you find most challenging?
Not when it comes to this book. It flowed easily. Now, fiction is a different story. That's tough. It's incredibly challenging to keep the reader interested. Even with 200 articles and 6 books under my belt (7 if you count the unpublished novel), I still haven't cracked the code on fiction.
What do you think makes a good story?
Characters you can't take your eyes off of. Homer Hickman said it best ... "People are interested in other people." The story is just a backdrop for the struggle of the individual.
What book(s) have most influenced you?
The Ambassador's Son by Homer Hickman
The Orphan Master's Son by Adam Johnson
The Road by Cormac McCarthy
The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
The Deceiver by Frederick Forsyth
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter Thompson (the book, not the cheesy movies)
Got Fight? by Erich Krauss and Forest Griffin
Why Jews Don't Camp by Steve Spiro
What inspires you most?
Young people who think they know how the world works but are actually wrapped in a cocoon of stupid. And yes, I was one too. When I was 19, I had moved around constantly because of the Army, parental divorce, and Boys Homes. I thought I was the shit, but in fact I was an idiot. Young people today who think they know everything (or think they're owed anything) need to be put in their place.
Where do the ideas for your book come from?
I wake up. I guess that's weak. I get a lot of my ideas from work and social media actually. I see the way people interact and develop an angle from there. For some reason I get a lot of writing ideas while I'm driving.
What have you learned creating this book?
I give less a damn about what people think than I thought I did.
What do you think your readers will take away from this book?
Be who you are, don't apologize for it. If you're a crusty bastard or just opinionated, don't hide it. Don't let the pressure of societal norms and the wussification of America change you.
What makes your book different from others that fall under this genre?
I'm not afraid to voice my contempt for people. Everyone says you have to be open and accepting of others but that's bullshit. You only have to acknowledge them and if you feel like it, tell them they're idiots. Everyone wants you to be politically correct, but when you hit middle age that goes out the window. I am who I am and I'm not changing. I'm going to say what I want because I don't have enough years left on this earth to sugar coat my opinions. What's anyone going to do to me anyway? Now, that doesn't mean I'm mean at everyone and in fact, I'm a polite person. Curmudgeons believe in 'live and let live' because we don't have the time to waste on morons so we avoid them. In those cases when we can't avoid them, we hold up a mirror (in the form of a curmudgeonly insult) so they can see they're idiots and hopefully benefit from it.
What can we expect from you in the future?
Nothing like this book. Zak Bagans (hose of Ghost Adventures on the Travel Channel) and I wrote a book in 2008 called Dark World and we're working on a sequel called I Am Haunted. After that I'll try one more time to get that crappy novel published.
Well, Kelly. Thanks for stopping by. Before you go, where can we find you?