Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
Hi! My name is Crystal Crawford, and I’m a writing teacher, homeschooling mom of three kids, director of a non-profit, and former animal trainer. I would write in my “spare time,” but I don’t have any… so I schedule in writing time around all my other things, which of course means I don’t get nearly as much sleep as I should, or I’d never get anything written! Coffee is my friend.
I have a YA contemporary romance duology up on Amazon (it was first popular on Wattpad), as well as assorted short stories and non-fiction books, but my current and primary focus is writing YA fantasy and speculative fiction.
I launched my first fantasy trilogy in the summer of 2018, and I’m currently working on releasing more books in the series, plus developing a new side-series set in its own, different story world.
I believe in meticulous creativity — carefully crafted stories that impact and entertain readers, and I strive to provide quality clean fiction with strong values, but that also takes readers on an exciting ride and delivers all the feels.
I love connecting with my readers! For more information, visit http://ccrawfordwriting.com, follow me on Facebook at http://facebook.com/ccrawfordwriting (I’m most active there!) or email me at email@example.com (Yes, I respond to emails!).
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
My latest book is called The Ends of Exile, and it’s the third and final book of The Lex Chronicles trilogy. The Lex Chronicles is the debut trilogy in a larger series, Legends of Arameth, which is a story world I’ve been working on for literally over a decade! You can find out more about the series and what inspired it in a recent blog post here: https://crawfordwriting.wordpress.com/2019/02/04/welcome-to-arameth-the-world-it-took-me-12-years-to-build/
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
Unusual? Maybe. I outline carefully before writing, then usually my characters go rogue and have to totally revamp my outline every few chapters… but I like having the big-picture guide to keep me focused and motivated. I drink a lot of coffee — probably way too much — and I write mostly in the afternoons and early evenings, after I’ve done school work with my kids but before I need to get stuff ready for dinner. Oh… and my office is hidden behind a bookcase with a secret door that my husband built for me. I love him for that.
What authors, or books have influenced you?
In my early years, I loved adventure stories, especially ones with animals — Island of the Blue Dolphins, Julie of the Wolves, that sort of thing. Around middle school, I discovered Chronicles of Narnia, and suddenly I realized that adventure and animals could be taken to a whole new level in fantasy, and I loved that! I still mostly read contemporary, until marrying my husband, who came with an intense love of all things fantasy that eventually rubbed off on me. In college I finally read the first few Harry Potter books, and I was hooked… fantasy completely wormed its way into me and wouldn’t let go. From that point on, it was my dream to write a fantasy series, and I studied Tolkien and Lewis and Rowling and tried to learn everything I could about how to create a vivid fantasy world. As an adult, I’ve continued to read fantasy of all kinds, expanding my interests to urban fantasy, science fiction, and more, and I’ve found so many great books in these varied genres that are all inspiring in their own ways… Hunger Games, Wheel of Time, Elantris, and pretty much the entire Ender’s Game series and its spin-offs. I read a LOT, and I find something inspiring from nearly everything I read. I try to just glean the core of it… asking what makes me feel this way? What did the author do to create this sense of wonder, or suspense, or intrigue? And then I try to apply those techniques to my own series, my own created worlds, to improve the experiences for my readers.
What are you working on now?
I’m working on releasing the final book in The Lex Chronicles trilogy, but I’ve also begun work on the next book in the larger Legends of Arameth series, and I plan to release that later this year. I have a new fantasy series in the works as well, something unconnected to Arameth and with a much different tone/feel to it. I’m also working on some non-fiction writing guides as tools for the writing classes I teach, and I also have a co-written SciFi Romance that my co-author and I are slowly posting in pieces on Wattpad, for now, though we plan to eventually publish it elsewhere. I work on short stories, too, and plan to release a collection of fantasy short stories eventually. Oh! And probably my weirdest and most unique project is the Spinner Story, which is currently ongoing. You can find out more about it at http://ccrawfordwriting.com/spinnerstoryblog
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
I use a combination of social media, newsletter, blog, and then some promotions through various reader-centric sites. I also network a lot with other authors and partner with them for promotional events, co-writing projects, and more.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Don’t give up. Writing is a long game, a marathon rather than a sprint. Sure, there are those who hit success seemingly instantly, but there was usually a lot of hidden work that prefaced that success, a lot of preparation and hard work and just pure grit. The more you write, the better you get at writing… not that it ever gets easy. But then you love it, right? So it’s worth the work and effort.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
Write. Publish. Repeat. There’s literally a whole book called this (it’s by Platt & Truant, if you want to look it up), but it’s really so important. I learn something from every single project I write, and the focus on just continuing to write and learn and grow (rather than expecting to somehow produce “the” book, the one that will be the best book ever) has freed me to really enjoy the process and to see the small ways in which I (and my writing career) are growing and progressing over time.
What are you reading now?
That’s a really hard question, because my TBR list is out of control and I’m trying to get through it as quickly as I can! But currently, I’m primarily beta-reading for another author, since my leisure-reading time is limited. Her fairy tale re-tellings are great, by the way! MJ Padgett… The Immortal Grimm Brothers’ Guide to Sociopathic Princesses. The first few books are available on Amazon and more are coming.
What’s next for you as a writer?
Well, I keep having ideas for new books series, so… you can expect to see many more books from me in the future, both in the Legends of Arameth world and in others!
If you were going to be stranded on a desert island and allowed to take 3 or 4 books with you what books would you bring?
Oh, goodness. This is a hard one. I think… The Bible, of course, because it’s my go-to read when I need encouragement and re-centering (which I would certainly need while stranded on an island!). My other three would probably be Dickinson’s David Copperfield (I love that book!), Inkheart (because even though I haven’t read it in years, I remember loving it), and Book 7 of the Harry Potter series, because the ending of the series is the best part, right? I’d really miss a lot of other books, though… I reread The Hunger Games every few years because it’s just so well-executed, and there are so many others I love as well.