Interview with Lincoln Crisler

Jen: Please help me welcome Lincoln Crisler to Book Talk this week. Lincoln, will you please share a short bio with us?
Lincoln: I’m from Rochester, NY and I’m married with three children. I’m a noncommissioned officer in the United States Army and a two-time combat veteran (currently serving round three, this time in Qatar). I play electric bass and drums and I’m a damn good cook. I like dark beer and Scotch and Irish whiskies.

Jen: Tell us about MAGICK & MISERY and where it’s available.
Lincoln: MAGICK & MISERY is my second collection of short work; it’s got the last of the stories I wrote back in 2006 while I was in Afghanistan, a few other brand new pieces and a couple of great reprints: ‘Old Stooping Lugh’ from last year’s Abominations anthology (from Shroud Publishing) and ‘The Seven O’clock Man,’ that I wrote with Allex Spires for my now out-of-print Our Shadows Speak anthology. My first collection, Despairs & Delights, is still available as well, through the same vendors, but I think this is a more mature and tighter body of work. That’s as it should be; I should be saying the same thing about MAGICK & MISERY when my next collection comes out. Right now, though, I guess the best way to explain it is that when I eventually collect my short work into one massive volume in twenty years or so, there’ll be stuff from the first book I’ll consider leaving out, but I wouldn’t cut anything from this new book.

Jen: At what age did you discover writing and when were you first published? Tell us your call story.
Lincoln: With the exception of a five year span from about 2000-2005 (corresponding with my marriage to my first wife, though I’m sure there’s no correlation) I’ve been writing my whole life. My first published story was in first grade I think, and I wrote editorials and articles for a community newspaper when I was in high school. I’ve only been writing fiction for public consumption since 2006. When I deployed to Afghanistan, my wife and I promised each other that we’d make the year count for something; still make some forward progress with our lives, right? So I started writing again, found a great workshop at Zoetrope.Com and met a lot of great people, and the rest is history.

Jen: How does your family feel about your career?
Lincoln: They’re supportive. My wife’s really proud of me and she’s getting a kick out of watching me do this from the ground up, because she’s so certain I’m going to be famous someday and she gets to see it all play out.

Jen: How do you approach your writing? Do you plot or go with the flow?
Lincoln: Typically, the story just throws me over its shoulder and drags me back to its cave. I just go with it and sometimes I’m as surprised with what I come up with as anyone. I’m working on a novel right now, and all I have is a 3-paragraph outline. The book’s writing itself. I’m about a tenth of the way into it, and it has already evolved from my initial conception, there’s been another supporting character added… it always amazes me what happens when I’m able to sit back and let the story take the wheel.

Jen: Do you have any “must haves” with you while you’re writing?
Lincoln: I’m partial to a wee bit of whiskey when I’m writing, or a couple beers, or coffee if it’s morning time. I like music in the background, but nothing too catchy or I’ll start getting distracted. Some early 90’s rock does the trick or some good Irish punk rock. Also, I like to be by myself when I work.

Jen: How do you shut out disruptions?
Lincoln: I don’t really. If I’m in the zone, I’m in the zone and part of that for me is not having distractions around. I’m trying to train myself to write at work again after two years of not having to, and it’s uncomfortable for me because I like to relax and be away from my work environment when I write. I’m in front of a computer for twelve hours a day at work, though, so I don’t want to pass up the extra writing time.

Jen: What did you do to celebrate the sale of your first book?
Lincoln: I called my wife immediately, I remember that much. I don’t remember what else I did, but I’m sure it was loud, obnoxious and undignified.

Jen: Is there a genre that you’d like to write? Is there a genre you’ll probably stay away from and why?
Lincoln: I’d like to write a meaningful sci-fi book; something like The Stand was for horror, or the Shannara books were for fantasy when they first came out. A long, sweeping thematic epic. Who knows if it’ll ever happen, though. I can call myself a science fiction writer because of my superhero work and the occasional short story about robots or aliens, but honestly? Sci-fi is the hardest for me to write, to come up with ideas for. As far as a genre I’ll probably stay away from? Romance. I should definitely stay away from romance. Read ‘Devotion’ in MAGICK & MISERY if you want to know why.

Jen: What five authors or people, from the past or present, have been important to you as an author? What question or comment have you always wanted to say to them?
Lincoln: Well, for people, I’d say Jesus Christ, my wife Consuela and my brother Shawn; Jesus saved my soul, my brother saved my life and my wife’s doing a little bit of each. A couple of writers to throw into the mix? Stephen King and Isaac Asimov (and if I can break the rule a bit, Terry Brooks, too, just to cover all of my horror, sci-fi and fantasy bases!). I say stuff to Connie and Shawn all the time already, but I’d ask Jesus how many freckles are on my wife’s face (it’s a running joke) and I’d want to get hammered on Guinness and Jameson with Messrs. King and Asimov.

Jen: Do you have a favorite character or one that you identify most with?
Lincoln: Absolutely. In my first collection (Despairs & Delights), there’s a story called ‘Game Over.’ The MC in the story was in a custody battle with his estranged wife and came up with a rather… exotic… and over the top solution to the whole deal. Around the time I wrote that, I myself was battling my ex-wife in court over visitation with our daughter. While I don’t condone the course of action Jack took in the story, I have to admit writing ‘Game Over’ was particularly therapeutic.

Jen: If your book was made into a movie, which actors would you choose to play the hero and heroine?
Lincoln: Well, since both of my books are short story collections, I could see something like ‘Creepshow’ being done with a few of the stories; I’d cast Colm Meaney (Star Trek’s Chief O’Brien) as McKennally in ‘Old Stooping Lugh’ and maybe James Marsden and Leisha Hailey (Alice from ‘The L Word’) in ‘Devotion.’ Gary Oldman would do great as the lead in either ‘The Gambler’ or ‘Vacation’ (from my first collection) as well.

Jen: What’s next for you?
Lincoln: I have the script for an eight-issue superhero comic out to a couple publishers. It’s called ‘Safeguard’ and there’s some preliminary work on my website. I really want to break into comics, since I’ve been reading them since forever. I’m working on a novel; I don’t want to give too much away, but it’s about a young lady who runs afoul of a rather sinister stage magician who doesn’t handle rejection too well. I’m fiddling with a novella about a serial killer who suddenly discovers he has teenage daughter and ends up becoming a single parent. And of course it should go without saying that I’m toying with a handful of short stories in various stages of completion.

Jen: Where can you be found on the web?
Lincoln: If you only look for me in one place, it should be http://lincolncrisler.info. That’s my blog; there’s excerpts from my fiction, book reviews, the occasional interview and much, much more. I’m also on MySpace and Facebook. If you want to buy my books, please visit http://www.horror-mall.com before going anywhere else… I love those guys and if we don’t support indie horror, no one’s going to do it for us; not even the Obama administration, God bless and keep it.

Jen: Is there anything you’d like to ask our readers?
Lincoln: A lot of the horror I read, though inspiring (as a fellow author) and entertaining (as a reader), doesn’t exactly horrify me… I guess I’m a bit jaded, perhaps. What does it take to push you over the line? (I’ll tell you mine… freakin’ cannibals, man. Ew.) Oh, and while you’re waiting to check out MAGICK & MISERY… consider giving Despairs & Delights a try. You won’t regret it!

Jen: Thank you Lincoln for being our guest this week. Readers, for the giveaway, I’ll pick three commenters at random to receive a PDF ARC via email. The winners will be on the honor system to post a review online, at The Horror Mall, Amazon, etc… (we’ll even let you post it at Book Talk) whether it was so bad it made them want to punch a baby or it’s the best thing they’ve ever read, Lincoln wants to know what they think! The contest will end on Wednesday, May 27 around 5 pm PST.

Updated: We’re going to extend the contest. If you’re interested in winning a PDF copy of Magick & Misery, please send an email to admin.bookblog@gmail.com. We’ll pick winners on Sunday, May 31.