Interview with Crystal Crawford

When did you first start writing?
I don't remember ever not writing. My earliest memory of writing stories or poems goes back to Kindergarten and First Grade, when I wrote and illustrated a book about my dog as part of a class project, and my teacher and the school librarian bound it into a book. I remember walking into the librarian's office and selecting my own fabric for the cover, and how proud I was when the book was delivered to me a few days later, bound in cardboard and fabric. It had a stick-on label on the cover printed with the book's title and my name. It was a simple handmade binding job, but to me it was beautiful. I still have that book today.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
The freedom and the sheer possibility. I love that I keep control of my books. I do a lot of free promos, and I want the ability to give my writing away when I choose to. This is very important to me. Also, e-books in particular offer such ease in formatting and getting a book out there, and almost endless opportunities for connecting with readers and sharing my work to a worldwide audience. To be honest, I'm super excited about the future of the publishing industry for indie authors, and I love to explore new platforms and new opportunities. I teach writing as well, so I spend a lot of time researching the industry, testing things out, and then sharing my discoveries with my students.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Watching a whole world emerge from nothing. Really, it's amazing if you think about it, that every story starts as a blank page, and from that -- just a page and a writer's imagination -- people, societies, places, and worlds just appear. It's an amazing process, and one that I love being a part of. It can be a little scary at times! It's a lot of pressure, in a way, to make all the choices upon which characters and whole societies will function... but there's also nothing like it. I love doing it, and I love watching my students do it! I teach a Collaborative Novel Writing class , and some of my most exciting moments have been in the classroom, when my students are brainstorming and I'm not even the one creating, I'm just taking notes as fast as I can on the board as they build on each other's ideas, and it's like a whole universe just comes into being before my eyes. It's magical.
What do your fans mean to you?
They are my reason for writing. I know some writers say they would write even if no one read it, and... I don't know; maybe I would. When I was little, I wrote some stories that I never planned on showing to people. But those were few and far between. Writing, for me, is a form of communication. It's like I have this message, this feeling or idea, that is bursting to be shared. And so I put it on the page, and I craft it so that it communicates what I felt, what I saw, when it was in my head. It's not always easy to do. But without the readers -- the fans -- are the ones who receive the message, and then they take it and make it their own. They see things in it that I may not have even seen when I wrote it, and that connects us in a way, even if I've never met them, even if we live on opposite sides of the world. That's pretty incredible.
Who are your favorite authors?
I love fantasy authors who create beautiful relationships and captivating worlds. I'm a huge Harry Potter fan. I also love Patrick Rothfuss's writing style. There's something poetic and musical in how he crafts his sentences. I also love the depth of the characters and the complex relationships between characters in some of the classics. I think my favorite writers in this respect would have to be Dickens (David Copperfield!), Margaret Mitchell (Gone with the Wind), and Harper Lee (To Kill a Mockingbird).

I also have a huge respect for Douglas Adams. The whole Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series of books is just mind-bendingly brilliant.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
My faith and my family. I have 3 young children (at the time of answering this they are 5, 3, and 18 months), a husband, and a house full of probably-too-many pets. I wake up each morning to my kids crawling in bed with me, hugging me, climbing on me... and inevitably saying, "Can we have breakfast now?" I have never been a morning person, but my husband and my kids are my motivation for waking up and getting going. They give meaning to my daily life. I also believe deeply in God, and I strive to use each day to the fullest, to use whatever talents and resources He has given me in the best way I can, both in serving my family and in my work and my writing.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Keeping three little humans alive! My kids are all so young that they still need a lot of help and attention, and my days are mostly spent cooking, feeding them, and running after them, making sure they don't eat markers or fall down the stairs or put plastic beads in their noses. The usual. I also clean a lot of messes. Really. A LOT of messes. When we've achieved basic survival, one of my favorite things to do is to take the kids on a walk through the neighborhood. They love to run ahead and make up games to play or sing songs while we're walking, and I love to take pictures and videos of them while we walk. Years from now, I'll be able to watch them and hear their laughter and the little patter of my 18-month-old's feet slapping the sidewalk. That, for me, is a beautiful use of time. Occasionally I read and exercise and watch Netlfix, too.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
I read a lot of books recommended by friends, and I'm also a member of a book club, so I get some great suggestions from them as well. I'm also signed up with some e-mail lists that notify me of free or discount e-books, which I love to try, and if I really like the author I'll buy a copy or purchase one of their other books.
What is your writing process?
My process has changed a lot over the years. I used to just start writing from a feeling and generic idea, and see where things led, but usually that resulted in me getting stuck at some point. Now, I've realized that I really enjoy plotting out the whole story ahead of time, using that planning phase as my fun discovery phase. Then I always know what I'm writing next, and I can see my story all at one glance and make sure everything works together, before I dive in and get lost in the enormity of actually writing it. But the actual words I use, the phrasing and the small choices of tone and mood and details, those I let flow out as I write.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
My earliest memories of reading are all of Dr. Seuss books, and even though the stories are simple and pretty goofy, I was captivated by the music of the language. I would sit with my mom or dad and we would take turns reading them out loud again and again. Later, I graduated to Berenstain Bears, lots of short adventure stories (I loved stories about animals, like Julie of the Wolves), Shel Silverstein poems (I read Where the Sidewalk Ends over and over!) and then -- eventually -- to the Chronicles of Narnia. The Narnia books were my first foray into a full fantasy series, and they blew my imagination wide open. I was probably changed forever by those books.
Published 2018-01-09.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Poems of Longing and Hope
Price: Free! Words: 4,110. Language: English. Published: June 14, 2018. Categories: Nonfiction » Inspiration » Personal inspiration, Fiction » Poetry » Female authors
There is a beauty in sadness, for it is the darkness without which you cannot appreciate the light. In my mid-20's, I went through a period of extreme pain and sadness. I faced one heartbreak after another, until I felt I would burst or fall to pieces. During that time, poetry was one of the few things that helped keep me together.
Price: Free! Words: 2,780. Language: English. Published: June 14, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Psychological thriller, Fiction » Romance » Suspense
a very short psychological thriller & love story with a twist
The Child
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 9,950. Language: English. Published: June 14, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Horror » Weird fiction, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Supernatural
I open my eyes. It's dark. I try to sit up... but I am chained to a bed. My heart races in terror... Where am I? How did I get here? When the answers begin to come, the reality is more terrifying than I ever imagined. (A short horror story.)
The Song of the Siren
Price: Free! Words: 3,890. Language: English. Published: June 14, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Paranormal, Fiction » Romance » Paranormal
A paranormal love story. (A short-short.) Maggie awakens in a watery cavern with no memory of how she got there. She is tied up, the prisoner of three hideous creatures -- and the man she loves is there bargaining his life in exchange for her own.
The Drop Off
Price: Free! Words: 2,420. Language: English. Published: June 14, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Clean & wholesome, Fiction » Young adult or teen » Romance
When Wren contacts Sam out of the blue, the two find there was a lot more to their previous friendship than they realized. A short love story told entirely through dialogue.
The Sensible Librarian
Price: Free! Words: 7,390. Language: English. Published: June 14, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Humor & comedy » General, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Supernatural
Marilyn Clauston is a very sensible lady, her life in perfect order... until one day she awakens to a very disturbing surprise.
Brush Strokes
Price: Free! Words: 3,520. Language: English. Published: June 14, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Inspirational
A short story. What if our paintings paid far more attention to us than we did to them? A story of love and change from an unusual perspective.
The Choice
Price: Free! Words: 21,220. Language: English. Published: January 5, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Clean & wholesome, Fiction » Young adult or teen » Romance
After secretly crushing on her best friend's brother for years, Becca is finally ready to move on. She even has a chance at a real relationship with a guy who adores her. So why can't she get Brian off her mind? One decision can change everything. A romance novella.
I'm Not a Stalker (The Stalker Mystery Set, Book 1)
Series: The Stalker Mystery Set. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 62,310. Language: English. Published: January 7, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Young adult or teen » Romance, Fiction » Romance » Contemporary
A comedic love-story-mystery told through emails and texts.
Surprise Endings: How to Keep Readers Guessing (And Why You Can't Fool Everyone)
Price: Free! Words: 3,910. Language: English. Published: May 25, 2017. Categories: Nonfiction » Reference » Publishing and books
Have you wondered how authors pull off those perfect surprise endings that leave readers saying "Wow"? If you're a writer hoping to awe your readers with an unexpected ending, then this book is for you. This book outlines methods for writing surprise endings that feel natural and satisfying, yet still shock and excite readers.
The Unspoken Language: An Animal Trainer's Memoir
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 17,890. Language: English. Published: September 14, 2016. Categories: Nonfiction » Biography » Autobiographies & Memoirs
Have you been within arms' reach of a lion? Face-to-face with a condor? Have you ever wondered what it would be like? Take a look inside the life of an animal trainer.