Sunday, October 2, 2016

The Gal's 62 Days of Horror Day 2: Among the Stacks: Austin Crawley


The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Hi, Austin.  Welcome to The Gal's 62 Days of Horror.  Thanks for joining us here for day two.  Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Austin Crawley:
I'm originally from West Hollywood where I grew up watching the posers and freaks of the Hollywood nightlife compete with the horror films of the day for pure weirdness.  When I'm not stretching my imagination with the pen or reading a book, I cut gemstones for a hobby.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What are five things most people don't know about you?

Austin Crawley:
Most people who know me don't know I write.  I figure the chances of becoming sufficiently famous for anyone to notice are pretty remote for the foreseeable future.

I used to get up at 5am to go surfing when I was a teenager.

I can read some Latin.

I still have some clothes from the 1970s that I save for costume parties.

I actually like them.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What is the first book you remember reading?

Austin Crawley:
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.  I remember reading it in school before everybody decided it wasn't PC.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What are you reading now?

Austin Crawley:
An old science fiction book called There Will Be Time by Poul Anderson.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What's a book you really enjoyed that others don't expect you to have liked?

Austin Crawley?
Watership Down by Richard Adams.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What made you decide you want to write?  When did you begin writing?

Austin Crawley:
I've always written stories.  All through school my English teachers loved it.  I decided to write something for publication about a year ago when the idea for a series kept nagging at me.  I thought it best to start out with a single book and wrote A Christmas Tale, which is a horror story about three women raising the ghosts from Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol and getting in over their heads.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Do you have a special place you like to write?

Austin Crawley:
Just at a normal desk.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Do you have any quirks or processes that you go through when you write?

Austin Crawley:
Nothing too unusual.  I tend to get a cup of coffee to sit next to me and on good writing days it goes cold because I get too wrapped up in what I'm doing and forget all about it.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Is there anything about writing you find most challenging? 

Austin Crawley:
Like many people, finding time.  Nobody starts out making a living from it.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What's the most satisfying thing you've written so far?

Austin Crawley:
Letters to the Damned, which I've just finished.  It was released yesterday, October 1.  It's about a haunted post box in England that takes letters to dead relatives who do favors for their surviving relatives.  Sometimes wicked ones.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What books have most inspired you?  Who are some authors that have inspired your writing style?

Austin Crawley:
I don't think I could attribute my style to anyone in particular, but authors I emulate would include Neil GaimanClive Barker and Ambrose Bierce.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What do you think makes a good story?

Austin Crawley:
Distinctive characters most of all and an unpredictable plot.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What does it take for you to love a character?  How do you utilize that when creating your characters?

Austin Crawley:
I don't always love my characters.  In A Christmas Tale, I had a strong liking for Amber, but Brittany got on my nerves.  I mostly like Cris in Letters to the Damned, but more at the end than at the beginning.  I'm working on some character sketches for the series I mentioned.  I want to use some very memorable characters for that.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Which, of all your characters, do you think is the most like you?

Austin Crawley:
Again, Amber.  She's resourceful and has some common sense.  I'm not a cross dresser or anything, but in a lot of ways she's a female reflection of me.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Are you turned off by a bad cover?  To what degree were you involved in creating your book covers?

Austin Crawley:
Book covers mean a lot.  So far I've done my own, but I'm thinking of using a professional for the series.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What have you learned creating your books?

Austin Crawley:
Patience.  You can't rush writing or you just end up with a mess.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What has been the hardest scene for you to write so far?

Austin Crawley:
The final conflict in Letters to the Damned.  I had to write a scary experience without too much repetition from what had already happened.  It needed detail and moment by moment suspense.  I wrote most of that chapter in small increments, developing it slowly.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What makes your books different from others out there in this genre?

Austin Crawley:
That's always a challenge for a Horror writer.  So much has been done before.  I make an effort to avoid being predictable and to bring in some original ideas.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
How important is the book title, how hard is it to choose the best one, and how did you choose yours (of course, with no spoilers)?

Austin Crawley:
The title is the first thing to catch a reader's eye, so it's very important.  I struggled over A Christmas Tale and actually started out calling it something else, but Letters to the Damned started out as a title and concept together.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What makes you feel more fulfilled: Writing a novel or writing a short story?

Austin Crawley:
I'm going to have to say novel.  Short stories always feel like there should be more to tell and the one I have online at the moment has drawn comments that there should be a book developed out of it.  I'm inclined to agree, that house is interesting and I want to explore it further (The Locked Door).

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Tell us a little bit about your books, your target audience, and what you would like readers to take away from your stories.

Austin Crawley:
My target audience are the readers who like supernatural stories.  I enjoy delving into ghosts and hunting's, even demons.  The series I'm planning is Dystopian rather than Horror, but knowing myself I'm sure I'll add some eerie happenings into the plot.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Can you tell us about some of the deleted scenes/stuff that got left out of your work?

Austin Crawley:
No such animal.  I've never had to take anything out, at least not yet.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What can we expect from you in the future?

Austin Crawley:
I'm submitting a few stories here and there, including to a Horror anthology that's coming out next year, but the main thing I want to get to is the series.  It's called The Provisioners.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Where can we find you?  (You know, STaLKeR links.)

Austin Crawley:
My blogFacebook, and Twitter

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Austin, thanks once again for stopping by.  I look forward to this new book and plan to read it this month.
            Before you go: Do you have any closing words for your fans or anything you'd like to say that we didn't get to cover in this interview?

Austin Crawley:
I'm going to participate in Virtual FantasyCon 2016 on Facebook, which runs October 9-16.  This is an event with games, giveaways, and lots of fun for readers of Speculative Fiction in all its guises.  My 'booth' will be on the day dedicated to Dark/Grimdark/Horror - Saturday, October 15.  Watch any of my links for information on how to get there!


About the books:
Few Christmas stories hold as much fascination as the story A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.
            Inspired by the Dickens tale, A Christmas Carol, three young women decide to hold a seance to raise the spirits of Christmas Past, Present and Future.  They don't expect a result, but what they call out of the aethyr gives them a creepy holiday they will never forget, if they live to tell the tale!

In a small English village, an abandoned black post box stands testament to the failing Royal Mail service where post box collections have ceased and letters must be delivered to the post office in the local shop.
            However, the residents of this village continue to drop irregular letters into the black box.  Messages to dead relatives are not only delivered, but often requests for supernatural intervention are acted upon in the world of the living where the dead and damned can only enter by special invitation.
            When a visitor learns of the black post box, he dismisses it as a local superstition and chides the villagers for their simple beliefs, until he accepts the challenge to test the box for himself.  What would you ask for, if you could send a message to the damned?


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