Friday, December 7, 2012

TBR welcomes C.K. Crigger

TBR: Welcome to TBR, C.K. Will you share a little bit about yourself?
C.K.: Just as I don’t read in the same genre all the time, I don’t write in just one either. I frequently tell people my mind jumps around like an ant on a hot stove. Consequently, when my list of published titles comes up, you’ll find westerns, time travels, and historicals with a touch of mystery. I also read science fiction and tons of mysteries. Now comes a post-apocalyptic event story my publisher calls futuristic fantasy. When it comes to writing, I find mysteries the hardest because of the intricate plotting necessary.

TBR: Tell us about Hereafter and where it's available.
C.K.: My latest book, Hereafter, is from Amber Quill Press and was released electronically on November 4th. It’s available at the publisher’s website,
and several other online venues.

TBR: Please tantalize us with a story blurb or excerpt.
C.K.: Border Patrol agent Lily Turnbow is fighting a terrorist for her life when everything around her dissolves into a maelstrom of light and thunder. Awakening one hundred years later, she finds a ruined world in which bands of mutants are at war with normal humans, and discovers she is as changed as her surroundings. Resurrected into a society only now beginning to recover from the Event that almost wiped out humanity, she has become a Cross-up, acquiring magical powers she never had before. Driven by a bewildering set of circumstances, she uses these powers for the good of the O’Quinn clan, a sword and horse society who have, against their better judgment, taken her in. But with few exceptions these people are not as appreciative of her help as one might expect. Even after killing one of her “own kind,” the serial killer Philip Barnes—a Cross-up  known in this time as Screenmaster—the O’Quinns view her with fear and suspicion. With the exception of O’Quinn cousin Nate Quick who is her most vocal advocate, the clan can’t wait to get rid of her. Sent before the clan elders, her alternatives are banishment into a lonely, friendless world where no one trusts anybody, or death. But Lily isn’t willing to die--again.

TBR: What inspired you to write about the theme?
C.K.: I’ve always been fascinated by the idea of an apocalyptic event that nearly destroys the world and its population. What would happen to us if we were hit by fire, plague, or the destruction of everything we’ve ever known? What if we lost our technology? How would those few who survive this horrific event continue on? Would  we help each other or would it be every man/woman for herself? This story strives to answer some of these questions in this fictional world.

TBR: Are you a plotter or pantser?
C.K.: I go into a book with the main characters and a general idea of what’s going to happen and how the story will end. After that, I’m a pantser. I let characters and events carry the story—the old one-thing-leads-to-another syndrome.

TBR: How do you develop your characters?
C.K.: I start with a name and a background, then my characters are shaped by what goes on around them. Give them a problem and let them deal with it—that’s my motto. It’s amazing where they’ll take you. And, of course, the other characters have their influence too.

TBR: Did any music inspire your book? Do you have a playlist?
C.K.: For Hereafter, the Rob Thomas song, Ever the Same, has a verse that goes: “we were drawn from the weeds, we were brave like soldiers.” From that, I had the vision of the good guys moving through a field surrounded by the enemy. That short phrase became the scene where Lily Turnbow, Jacob Felix, and Harrison Bell connect with the O’Quinn warrior clan, fighting mutants all the way.

This isn’t the first time Rob Thomas, together with Matchbox Twenty, has sparked an idea for me. Likewise, Counting Crows inspired not only the title of the first book in my Gunsmith time-travel series, but also part of the action. Strangely enough, my mystery books are harder to connect with a song. For some reason, music seems to work better for straight action books.

TBR: Which of your characters would you most/least like to invite to dinner, and why?
C.K.: Least likely would be Lars Hansen from the China Bohannon Victorian West series. He may be a cop and a little enamored of China, but I wouldn’t trust him as far as I could throw him.

TBR: While creating your books, what was one of the most surprising things you learned?
C.K.: That research is never wasted and is never done. I became so interested in World War I history when writing Shadow Soldier, that the era became one of my favorites. Also, I’ve learned—and sometimes sort of forget—that a writer should fact check even the things she’s sure she knows. Stuff has a habit of slipping through the cracks; for instance, the kind of weapons carried by the Border Patrol. Praise be to all good copy editors! Thanks, EJ.

TBR: Tease us with one little thing about your fictional world that makes it different from others.
C.K.: Combining mutants and magic may be a little different, especially since it’s not the mutants who have the magic.

TBR: What's next for you?
C.K.: I’m working on a contemporary mystery right now.

TBR: Any other published works?
C.K.: This is my 13th published book—and there are a few short stories scattered around as well, so yes. Several. You’ll find a list on my website if you’d like to take a look.

TBR: What’s the most interesting comment you have received about your books?
C.K.: I don’t know about interesting, exactly, but one of the most heartwarming concerns my first western, Liar’s Trail. A lady from North Carolina contacted me because she had a new grandson. The baby was named the same as the hero in my book so she bought two copies, one for her and one for the baby, and sent them all the way across the country for an autograph. I still get a little thrill thinking about that.

TBR: Where can readers find you on the web?

TBR: Is there anything you’d like to ask our readers?
C.K.: What attracts you first to a book? The cover? The blurb? Having read something else by the same author? Recommendations, whether word-of-mouth or by written reviews? And another thing. Writing can be a lonely enterprise. It makes my day when a reader sends me an email. I like it best if s/he likes my book, of course, but I’ll even take some critical acknowledgement. And I need to take those words to heart myself. Just a few words on Goodreads is easy to do. 

TBR: Thanks for visiting TBR, C.K. All the best to you.


  1. Enjoyed getting to know more about you and your writing, C.K. Good interview.

  2. Thank you, Cate.


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