31 Authors in 31 Days: James Crawford

Day 21 Features Author James Crawford in our 31 Authors in 31 Days series.

JAMES CRAWFORD Author of Manleigh Cheese and many others

The Burning Willow Press authors wish to help you celebrate the best month of the year, October. How you may ask? By giving you a different author from the ranks each day with in depth answers to questions that our staff have decided to ask them. Many will be generic, others not so much. Let’s get to know the authors of BWP! Oh, and did we forget to mention… the staff there are all authors too so they have decided to chime in with some answers of their own.

So first, when did you realize that the voices in your head were telling you to write stories or go mad with all that stuck in your head?

I don’t think I ever had that moment. Writing, as an adult anyway, was a substitute for a knifemaking project that was FAR FAR above my skills. I figured I could write about it if I couldn’t make the weapon.


I know many writers who jump in all different genres, so what is your favorite to write?

I would have said horror, but having tried other genres, I think I’m pan-genre these days. They all feel good in unique ways…but there’s got to be some darkness, somewhere.


Currently, there are over a million books that I want to read… and some I have in the past I wish I had written myself, do you have any that you read that you thought about and said, I wish I had written that book?

Not really, no.


What is your favorite book not written by you? See that question is not the same as the other one above… to follow up, what was your favorite book that you wrote?

“Stranger in a Strange Land” by Robert Heinlein.


When the muse is off doing their own thing instead of pushing you to write, albeit by gunpoint at times, what is your favorite time-waster?

Messing with fountain pens these days. There’s an element of DIY and tweaking the performance that makes me happy.


What is the one thing that you must do to get into a writing mood. For me, it is listening to 80’s hair metal.

Mood doesn’t really enter into it for me. The characters are THERE and they’ve got something to say, or something to do. It might be better to describe it as the Plot Monster starts to nibble on my toes and I have to pay attention to it.


Is editing your story just part of the job or does it literally kill a part of you to “kill your children” as it has been said? What about making revisions?

Editing is a part of it, and revisions come with that. Writers know that changing a word can kill a whole chapter, or something “simple” doesn’t make sense after the fourth read and needs to be revised.


When you read a book by another author do you ever look at it and criticize it or edit it in your head as the way you would have done it yourself?

Oh yes.


What would you like to be chiseled into your headstone?

“He was a human being, heir to all that entails. In the end, he found happiness.”


What was your favorite candy to get at Halloween as a kid?

Anything with peanut butter in it!


What is your favorite Halloween ritual? And if you do not do that… what is your favorite Halloween movie?

I’ve considered trying something like Dia de los Muertos, but I strongly suspect my family ghosts WOULD show up. That would be messy, complicated, and they’d probably possess the cats.

I practice my best “Hey kids! Get offa my lawn!” as my Halloween ritual these days.


Beach, Mountains, Country, City? And follow up… favorite season… just a hint here… you should say Autumn.

Autumn it is! I’m not big on beaches, and I’m afraid of heights, so the first two are out. Country or city is pretty dependent on my mood, but I generally prefer cities.


I know my “To Be Read” list is never ending and grows daily… how is yours? And do you prefer paperbacks or e-books? Notice I did not ask about audio?

I’m in a reading lull, and need to pull my ass out of it. When I read, I prefer paper.


If you could not be an author then what would you be?

Pushing my other creatives skills harder.


What was your childhood ideal job to be as an adult?

Early childhood, a fireman. Middle school through freshman year of college, I wanted to be a doctor. Somewhere in the crazy, I also considered becoming a priest.


Cats, dogs, both, other?



Most newbie authors are told to write emotional state in what they already know… so how did you break away from that newbie status of writing what you know in the beginning?

I broke away by being able to feel more than my own depression.


Advice in one sentence to a new author who is not published yet?

Do not cheap out on these things: an editor, a formatter, or a cover artist.


Do your siblings or other family members support your choice to write horror? Fantasy? Erotica… if you do? SCIFI? Other genres?

Absolutely, yes.


If you had wrote a sex scene in your book, would you be embarrassed to have your mom read it?

In my first novel, there were a few interactions that I would have torn the pages out before mom could get to them.


Beta Readers, Proofers, Editors… all are important to produce a better work of literature. So, who would you say is the most important in your team? Or do you not have those in place and are working on that?

I think they’re all incredibly important, but the most important is the one who tells you the harshest truth, and that can be any (or all) of the three. I rely on my editors most.


In your day of writing… do you push through it all day or do you take mental breaks?

My day of writing is a scattered thing, a little bit of this there, a little bit of that here. Eventually, writing happens.


Do you ever get to travel as an author? Do conventions? What have you learned in those endeavors?

I’ve done a little traveling and been to one or two conventions “professionally.” The most important thing I’ve learned is to be unashamedly outgoing. Talk to EVERYONE.


Book signings? Necessary evil even for the introvert?

They’re nice as a tool to connect with readers, but so is any kind of meaningful in-person engagement. Be present, like they say the Dalai Lama is.


What do you have coming out in the next year and who is producing it?

I’m in BWP’s “Crossroads in the Dark IV: Ghosts” anthology, and may be self-publishing the first book in a new series sometime after the first of the year.


What is your go to alcoholic beverage of choice?

Lately, whatever comes to hand and tastes interesting. I brought back some nice Mezcal from Mexico, and that is a favorite of the moment.


Ideas come from all over. I get mine everywhere… so my question is what was the inspiration for the last (or upcoming) book you released?

The upcoming series was inspired by one of the few nightmares I’ve had in the past six years, but I put a serious spin on it.


Who would you compare your work to and would love to have them read and give you a review of or even better, a tweet and post about it?

Wow. I’m not even sure.


Are there any horror or thriller novelist that you admired when you were younger?

Stephen King, of course.


Have you ever had any supernatural experiences? If so, have you ever used it as source material?

Yes, and yes. My story in “Crossroads in the Dark III” features an entity very much like one I encountered in my late teens.


Do you ever feel that your characters have a mind of their own and change the course of the planned storyline?

ALWAYS. I’m the medium; they’re the entity that seeks to communicate.

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