Being a writer, I can appreciate the efforts and time it takes for a person to write a story and deal with everyday life. Add in the fact that Lincoln Crisler is in the U.S. Army, has spent time in Afghanistan and has a baby at home as well and the appreciation level goes up ten notches. So, what does he say when I bug him about stopping by the Donor Center and letting Herbie poke him with a needle? He says sure thing, let’s do this. Folks, sit back and enjoy this interview with the talented Lincoln Crisler.
AJ: Who is Lincoln Crisler?
LC: Most importantly, I’m a husband and father. Everything else I do is either in support of that or, at the very least takes a back seat. I’m a staff sergeant in the US Army and I write horror, science fiction and fantasy stories. I play music, read and review books, blog and cook. I’ve been to war a couple times, had a couple of books published and have a hot wife and three awesome kids. It’s safe to say that I could die happy right now, but I’d like to put that off for a little while longer.
AJ: When I met you, I believe you were in Afghanistan and you were pretty much just starting out in the writing business. If I’m wrong correct me on that. Does having been in a war reflect in your writing?
LC: No, and I make a special point not to let it! I can’t speak for every reader, but I read mostly to escape, and I write for the same reasons. I really hope that comes across in my work; that my readers find it easy to escape into my stories because I’m writing them with that intent.
I did try one time to write a story featuring a soldier protagonist, and I had to lay it down because it seemed hokey to me. Because I live it, you know? I’m not writing it off completely, though. If a story grabs me that is best served by drawing upon my experience, I’ll get ‘er done.
AJ: On the same note as drawing from experiences, I’m sure you, like most writers, draw from life’s experiences right?
LC: Absolutely, and I’ll even go so far as to say that I don’t believe a writer can create an honest work without at least some basis in life experience. I’ve been a disenfranchised youth, I’ve played music for people, I’ve pointed a loaded gun at another man and I’ve prayed to God in the middle of the night with bombs falling down. I’ve had homeless friends and been damn close to it once or twice myself. Pretty much all of these experiences have colored my work in some form or another, and in many cases, the stories based on these experiences have been pointed out in reviews as standouts in my collections.
I’m hardly the only writer one can hold up as an example of this. Weston Ochse drew on his military experience in his latest novel, and John Everson on his love of music in his most recent publication. Cherie Priest sets most of her novels in places in which she’s resided, as have Brian Keene and Stephen King (probably the most famous example).
That whole bit about the best lies being built around a grain of fact holds true in the case of the best storytelling, as well. You need to suspend disbelief as an author, and a little something one can hold up as true goes a long way.
AJ: I do the same thing and more and more I draw on the things that have occured in life to help me pen a good story. I feel life’s little nuances are the very things that make stories breathe.
Having known you for the better part of about four years, I’ve read many of your works, and yes, you can see ‘life’ in these stories, most notably in your characters and the pacing of each piece.
Speaking of your stories, you mentioned your short story collections. Talk to me about them.
LC: Despairs & Delights was my first collection. It was published in 2008 through Arctic Wolf, and contains the bulk of the stories I wrote from early 2006 to late 2007. Standouts from this book include my first ever published horror story, a rather cathartic story of a man’s desperate solution to a custody dispute, and a werewolf story I wrote when I was 16 that generally gets rave reviews.
Magick & Misery was published in August 2009 through Black Bed Sheet Books and collects most of the stories I wrote during 2008, plus a couple that were rejected by the editor of Despairs & Delights for being a little more brutal than he liked. My absolute favorite in this book is a tribute to Isaac Asimov, Seymour’s Descent, about a robot that learns to murder.
Anyone interested can read reviews and excerpts from both books and order signed copies at http://lincolncrisler.info/?page_id=71 and Despairs & Delights is available as a free PDF download from my website at http://lincolncrisler.info/wp-content/uploads/2009/11/despairs-delights.pdf
AJ: Wasn’t there a nonfiction book in there somewhere?
LC: I have the basic formatting and cover art for a collection of essays sitting on my hard drive. It was mostly collected nonfiction from my blog with a couple of new pieces thrown in. I put out some feelers to see what the interest would be in a limited run of 25, and got no feedback whatsoever. That’s alright. I think nonfic works better for someone that people already want to read nonfiction from. I know I wouldn’t just pick up some random guy’s memoirs. The material will still be there when the demand arrives.
AJ: I’ve read quite a few of your blogs and I believe there will probably be a demand out there sooner than you may think.
Other than your collections, you’ve been published in various venues. Where can we find some of your stories, either in print or online?
LC: My most recent online publication is a reprint of Three Blind Dice, a story from Despairs & Delights, in July 2009’s issue of HUB Magazine. I also have a great piece about Irish and Italian gangsters running afoul of a Celtic god, which is featured as part of Shroud’s Abominations anthology.
My debut novella, Wild, is slated for release in March 2011 from Damnation Books in electronic and trade paperback format. I wrote it during my last deployment and it’s based on a real unsolved missing-persons case from the Wild West. In addition to the Damnation release, I’m producing a 26-copy limited edition hardcover featuring cover art by Tom Erb, interior art by Ash Arceneaux, an introduction written specifically for the limited edition and a previously unpublished bonus short story. This is scheduled for release in January 2011.
AJ: A new novella? This is something I’ll look forward to. How about Shroud Magazine? Anything going on there?
LC: Yeah, Shroud’s keeping me as busy as I want to be, contributing reviews and interviews for their blog and digital and print magazines, and I love having yet another venue through which I can meet new readers and be exposed to more of my fellow authors’ work.
Regular readers of my site know that I’ve been reviewing books for the past few years and that I’ve also run interviews with midlist authors from time to time. When Kevin Lucia (Shroud’s reviews editor) gave me the opportunity to climb aboard, I jumped quick. As a matter of fact, my interview with Jeff Strand is part of Shroud’s ninth issue, and that interview and a few reviews are also available on the book reviews blog.
AJ: Okay, Lincoln, where can people find out more about what’s going on in your world?
LC: Google, Motha#^$%&!!!
I also have a website, http://lincolncrisler.info/, and a subscription-based newsletter that will come to your email when something cool happens, like a publication, interview or signing. I’m a Facebook BEAST, too. I loves me some social networking!
AJ: Okay, Lincoln Crisler, I think Herbie is ready to pull the needle. Thanks for the blood, the time and the information…
LC: Thanks for having me, AJ. Now what’s this I heard about complimentary Guinness?
AJ: Hmmm… I think you may want to check with the Herbster on that… Drawing blood makes him thirsty, so…
(Herbie’s Note: Herbie salutes Lincoln Crisler and all of our men and women in the military. Without them, our freedom would be in jeopardy on a daily basis.)
(Herbie’s Note #2: We Googled Motha#^$%&!!! And sure enough, it took us to Lincoln Crisler’s website—or at least the one that few folks know about…)