Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Author Interview with C.K. CRIGGER

Award-winning C.K. Crigger is versatile and well-known for writing in a number of genres: short stories, mystery, fantasy, time-travel, and western historicals. Her Letter of the Law was a 2009 Spur Award Finalist (Audio), Black Crossing: A Novel of the American Northwest was a 2008 EPPIE winner, Liar's Trail: A Novel of the American Northwest was a 2009 EPPIE finalist, and her short story about the Aldy Neal lynching was a 2007 Spur Award short story finalist. C.K. lives in eastern Washington with her husband, three feisty dogs, and a reclusive Persian cat.


Who is the one person who most encouraged or influenced you to be a writer—and why?

No one actually encouraged or influenced me in my quest as a writer until I’d already written at least one book and several short stories. As a kid, I wrote lots of stories and wanted to be a journalist. My family looked at me and shook their heads. However, I seem to have been born with a gigantic “stubborn” gene, and when it kicked in, nothing could stop me from writing. I’ve often wondered what my mother would’ve said when my first book was published.

How long have you been writing? You write in several genres – tell us about what you write and what your favorite genre is.

I’ve been writing seriously for about fifteen years. My first published book was the first book of a (so far) four book time-travel series. I’m mulling over a plot for book five right now. It’s hard to say which of the several genres I write in is my favorite. The one I’m working on at the time, I guess. I get a kick out of writing westerns. Being a real local history buff, there’s usually some history included in everything I write, even in the time-travels. My latest release, a historical mystery/suspense (actually the first of a three-book series) has been great fun to write, and I can’t wait to get started on a story about bootleggers during prohibition which will be set in the Northwest.

Who is your favorite author and why do you like his/her work?

This is tough! I have favorite writers in each genre. Johnny D. Boggs is a wonderful writer of westerns—very different and not of the old, worn-out traditional type. Great stories that will make non-western readers forget they’re reading a western. Lois McMaster Bujold can’t be beat for science fiction or fantasy. She’s a wonderful storyteller who writes terrific characters. For mysteries, there are so many it’s hard to choose. Craig Johnson, Deanna Raybourn, Ann Parker, tch! My mind boggles. So many whose characters feel like old friends when you pick up the next book.

What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced as a writer?

The biggest challenge has been finding a publisher with adequate distribution willing to take me on. It’s hard to sell books when the distribution is lacking. Promotion is also difficult for me.

What is the title of your most recently published book? Briefly tell us what it’s about and let us know where we can buy it.

My newest title is One Foot on the Edge. Set in the 1890s, China Bohannon has inveigled her way into a job at the Doyle & Howe Investigation Agency, and when she blunders into taking on a murder investigation on her own, she becomes the murderer’s next intended victim. The book is available at,, from the publisher,, locally at Hastings books, and at the wonderful local independent, Aunties Bookstore (also online) in Spokane, Washington. And, of course, for a signed copy, from me.

What are you working on now and when/where do you expect it to be available?

I’m working on an Apocalyptic story, which, when finished, I hope to put in an agent’s hands. I also have two more China Bohannon adventures to sell. After that will come another in my time-travel Gunsmith series.

Writers, especially new writers, are always looking for tips and helpful information. What is the single most important “tip” you can give to a new writer?

You must persevere. Writing is not easy. I can’t tell you how many people have told me they plan to write a book one of these days, as if it’s the work of a moment. Hah! What about those rewrites? One of the first things a writer should know is how to format a manuscript properly. Follow the correct form and you’ll never need to worry about it again. Then it’s butt in chair, fingers on keys, and let your imagination flow.

What writers organizations claim you as a member? How has membership helped you as a writer?

I first joined a local critique group that has, in one incarnation after another, been together about twenty-five years. The feedback, both giving and getting, is invaluable. I’m also a member of Western Writers of America. Member judges have twice recognized my work by placing it in the top three of a couple different categories. I was a Spur Award finalist in 2007 for short fiction, and in 2009 in audio. The friendship and advice of the members in an inspiration.

Do you have any upcoming book signings or appearances? If so, give us all the details.

I’m working on a fall schedule as we speak, but the first will be on August 26, an online radio show with Red River Writers where I’ll speak about writing in different genres—differences and similarities. Next will be a signing at Aunties Bookstore in Spokane, Washington, from noon – 2.

Here’s your opportunity to tell us anything else you care to share.

There is much ado about e-books now, what with Amazon’s Kindle, a new model Sony reader, and several simpler, less expensive, ebook readers becoming more available. I hear so many people saying they’ll never read anything but a real book, and while I sympathize, there is definitely something to be said for the convenience, simplicity, and generally lesser cost, of e-books. The story, after all, is the same. And you do save a tree. And you can store dozens of books in the space of one paperback. That said, a very dear cousin recently gifted me with a print copy of Drums Along the Mohowk, by Walter Edmonds, when I told her someone had stolen mine. This is, of course, a used book in very readable condition, and when I opened it up, I saw it had been printed in 1936. That’s seventy-three years, folks. I doubt anyone’s Kindle, Sony, or otherwise e-book reader will last so long. As quickly as technology evolves, there’ll soon be something else. Still, print books, e-readers, or whatever the future brings, it’s all fine as long as people love stories and keep reading.

What are the addresses of your website(s) and blog(s):

My website is, my blog is

1 comment:

  1. Writing in several genres is something many writers have been advised not to do. I have a lot or respect for authors who do it anyway, and do it well. I look forward to reading C. K.'s work. Thanks for this interview, ladies.