Shells Chats with author Lincoln Crisler

What made you jump into writing?

I've been writing since childhood, except for a period of time roughly corresponding to the five years I was married to my first wife. During that five years, I deployed to Iraq with the First Cavalry Division and basically pissed away any free time I had doing dumb stuff like playing video games. When I deployed to Afghanistan a few years later, my new wife and I resolved to make the year count for something, so we both went to college online and I started writing again, this time for publication.

You like to cook and are a musician, has that influenced your writing at all?

Absolutely. Three stories come to mind; 'Farewell Engagement' is about a punk band's last show and 'Victory Feast' and 'Lane Feeds the Multitude' involve some interesting culinary decisions. All three of those stories can be found in my 2008 collection, DESPAIRS & DELIGHTS.

How have books influenced your life?

Books have been my life for several large portions of it. I had an... interesting childhood, we'll call it, and having very few friends and no money, books were pretty much my saving grace. My social situation improved a bit in high school, though only marginally, and I still read alot. These days I have to wedge reading time into my schedule, with the military, my family and my writing, but I still make it happen and when I deploy overseas (I've been to Korea, Iraq, Afghanistan and Qatar) books and the Internet (when I have it) are what keeps me sane.

Out of all the short stories you have written do you have a favorite character?

I don't know about a favorite, exactly, but a couple come to mind as being pieces of me more than most. The kid from 'Pete Does What Needs to be Done' (from MAGICK & MISERY) is my frustrated adolescence, taken to horrible extremes. Jack from 'Game Over' (also from DESPAIRS) is my doppelganger from a world where people don't get arrested for creatively solving child-custody disputes.

What made you want to start writing longer works?

I just started doing it, honestly. When I first started writing for publication in 2006, a couple thousand words was it for me. Three thousand was phenomenal. As I began writing more, my stories naturally lengthened; the short stories I wrote in 2009, the last ones I've written, were all around the four thousand word mark. WILD, written from 2009 to early 2010, is around eighteen thousand. I'm not working on anything at present that's going to run under twenty thousand, and I'm about 14K into a novel.

Please tell us a bit about your book 'Wild' and where we will be able to find it?

WILD is based on the real Old West missing persons case of Albert Jennings Fountain. It's unsolved to this day. Perhaps my story can give modern-day investigators some new leads. Or not. WILD is on sale now in electronic and paperback formats from Damnation Books and is available wherever books are sold. If you're lucky, you still might be able to score a copy of the lettered hardcover I produced earlier this year.

What spurred the idea for 'Wild?'

I got bored while deployed to Qatar and offered my friends and fans on Facebook the choice of what I was going to write next. I offered a couple of different cross-genre options. One was a detective/horror/western blend, and I don't remember the other one, or I'd probably be writing it now!

How was it to work with Damnation Books?

Damnation has been great to work with, and I hope to publish at least another book or two with them. I've been blessed to have increasingly better experiences as I've progressed as an author. I already thought well of Damnation before I finished writing WILD; many of their authors have sent me review material over the past couple years! It really helped me to know the quality of their product before I ever sent them mine.

Based on your experience what would you tell a new writer is the hardest thing they may go through?

The hardest thing I've had to deal with is impatience. No one's going to recognize you as an author the day after you publish your first book, no one's going to give your opinions any more weight than they did the day before, your Amazon ratings probably aren't going to skyrocket and your blog hits aren't going to multiply exponentially in the first month. Editors are not going to respond to you quickly, even in the digital age. Writing is like a 'long con;' you need to have a plan, you should go by the numbers and the payoff isn't going to happen right away. I'm only now, in my fifth year as an author, beginning to do some of the really cool things the authors I look up to are doing, and some of them took a decade or longer to achieve the recognition they have now.

How do you help to market your work?

The first hard lesson I learned as an author is that nothing will happen at all unless you're involved in promoting your work. If I do five interview with bloggers or magazines in a year, chances are I approached the interviewer four of those times. The amount of recognition and publicity, reviews, interviews, etc. your book receives is directly proportionate to the amount of work you do. I make spreadsheets to track reviews, interviews, this blog tour, etc. I social network so much you'd think I invented the concept. Every time one of my friends mentions a review, interview, etc. I look up the site and if it fits with my work, it goes in a spreadsheet. I'm on the computer so much my wife busts my chops about it a couple times a week. I also try to attend conventions; I went to my first one last year and hope to attend four or five in 2011. Conventions seem to be a goldmine with regards to marketing, promotion and networking.

Where can people find out more about you?

You can read excerpts from my books, look at videos and photoshoots that I've done, read my blog and book reviews and more at


  1. Great interview! I like his story behind Damnation - sorta makes me think of what I hope my story behind Rhemalda will be like, but I don't want to jinx myself. lol.

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