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Author Spotlight with Craig Crawford

We are delighted to be able to present you Craig's disturbing tale titled "Thirteen" in our upcoming anthology "It Calls From The Forest: Vol 1"

Craig started writing in middle school, having gotten introduced to science fiction, fantasy and horror by a new troupe of friends.  A voracious reader, he started thinking about these people who actually wrote the stories he loved and thought he might be able to do it too.

In college Craig followed a track to expand his literary and writing smarts.  He got his first publication free lancing for a gaming company called Palladium Books Inc., where he published two indices for source material for their RPG, Rifts.  More interested in fiction, Craig turned his attention to novels.  In 2008-2009, he earned a chance to workshop one of his fantasy novels with the Wolf Pirate Project. After the editor helped him flesh out another angle on the book, he earned a second spot with them the following year for another shorter fiction work.

Craig currently splits his time between writing short stories and novels.  Mostly he writes fantasy, sci-fi, YA and of course, horror.  You can check out his website to see what he’s been up to.

We are really excited about what you wrote for "It Calls From The Forest". Without giving too much away, tell us about your story featured in “It Calls From the Forest” and what inspired you to write it?

Thirteen.  I've always been a believer in spirits.  I've seen at least two I can confirm.  I worked as a teacher and then administrator in a childcare center for many years, and our center moved to what used to be an assisted living center.  Remodeling it, we moved in and there were lots and lots of incidents recorded by staff on the premises.  We had a notebook in the kitchen where anyone could write down happenings called the "Ghost Log," because it happened so often.

I've had other encounters too, so I've always been interested in ghosts/spirits, etc.  With Thirteen, I just started thinking from the entity's point of view, playing the usual writer's game of:  what do spirits do from their perspective?  And what about malevolent spirits you read and hear about?  Why would something like that stay in a locale?  What would keep it there, and so on.  Fleshing it out, I was inspired and Thirteen was the result.  I'm grounded enough to always be trying to tie our world with the paranormal in realistic terms, and when you break everything down, you still have to follow the rule of the conservation of energy:  energy cannot be destroyed.  It can be changed or manipulated but can never be eradicated.  

And that's how Thirteen was born.

Have you always written, or was there a catalyst that prompted you to begin this journey?

It’s like I said in my bio: I always blame my best friend for pulling me down this path. I met him in middle school, writing in cardboard journals from the local bookstore. He also introduced me to a group of pals who were into RPG’s and I decided story telling was as much fun as playing RPG’s or reading good novels.

I also give credit to teachers in our school at the time.  I had several who either saw our creativity, or at least our independent willingness to write.  I remember Dan Gogerty, Betty Ross, Linda Bettendorf and Peg Graham.  Peg actually took my friend and I aside one day and told us we didn’t have to follow the same syllabus for the creative writing class—all we had to do was turn in a writing project each week.  It was awesome.  Betty submitted one of my stories to a magazine before I knew you could do that—it didn’t get published, but I received positive feedback.

What is your favourite genre to read?

I’ve always loved the fantasy genre.  I’m a big Jim Butcher fan, and also Simon Greene.  From my earlier days, Roger Zelazny, Piers Anthony, Fritz Lieber and Patricia Wrede are favorites.  For science fiction, my favorite book of all time is Liege Killer by Christopher Hinz—very dark horror sci-fi and some of the best story telling I’ve ever read.

I’m a fan of graphic novels and love the Preacher series by Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon.  V for Vendetta, Grendel and Batman are go-to’s: I like darker, edgier stories.

I’ve also been reading the YA genre, having a fifteen-year-old, and we’ve read many books together:  the Amulet series, Harry Potter, of course, but I’ve discovered a great writer named Mary Downing Hahn who wrote One For Sorrow.  She’s got a great voice.

Do you remember the first piece of writing shared publicly?   What were people’s reactions, but more importantly how did you react getting it out there?

It was a creative writing class in college.  It was mostly poetry oriented—which is not my thing.  Ironically, most of my “poems” had too much structure and were driven by story.  We had a reading during an open-mike-night at a local iconic eatery.  I shoved down a couple of beers and read three pieces.  It was fun, and felt nice to read aloud even though I was completely on edge.

As for publishing, I published a non-fiction reference book for Palladium Books a while back.  I was heavy into RPG’s and we were playing a game called Rifts.  I put together my own index of their source books and successfully sold it to them.  It was successful enough they asked me to do a second, which I did. It felt great to see my name on the spine of a book, but it wasn’t for fiction.

What is your workspace like?

A cluttered mess.  I have my “computer room” but there are notebooks, folders and hand written notes everywhere.  I usually get ideas and snippets when I’m no where near a device and I end up scribbling on pieces of paper, napkins or whatever’s close.  I have apps for my phone, but I can write a whole lot faster than I type.  My writing space looks messy, but everything is organized…just not for most people 😊.

What kind of atmosphere do you need to write?

When I’m writing it’s usually with music, and louder, which becomes my white noise.  I don’t have set playlists, but usually go through my music lists and whatever jumps out at me gets cued up.  However, I can write almost anywhere.  When I was first married, we had a duplex and the only place for my desktop was in the living room so I learned to write amidst distractions.  Occasionally at lunch, I’ll find a table downtown surrounded by the bustle of the afternoon, away from my job, and either bring a pen and paper, or use a Remarkable tablet I have to write notes and stories.

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