Monday, April 30, 2012

Carol Crigger's Two Feet Below

Born and raised in North Idaho on the Coeur d’Alene Indian Reservation, C.K. Crigger lives with her husband and three feisty little dogs in Spokane Valley, Washington. She is a member of Western Writers of America and reviews books and writes occasional articles for Roundup magazine.

Imbued with an abiding love of western traditions and wide-open spaces, Ms. Crigger writes of free-spirited people who break from their standard roles. In her books, whether westerns, mysteries, or fantasy, the locales are real places. All of her books are set the Inland Northwest, the westerns with a historical background. She is a two time Spur Award finalist and won the 2008 EPIC Award for Western/Historical fiction.
"People might be surprised to hear I learned to ride a little Honda dirt bike at the same time my boys did. As a kid, I had a horse, but not a bicycle, and never felt deprived. Still don’t!"

Welcome to the blog, Carol. 
How many books have you written?

Twelve of my books are in publication right now. I’ve completed three others--one of which will probably never see publication--and one is in final draft. Of course, I’ve got ideas for lots more. I love writing series, so I have two series going and the rest are standalones. The four westerns are all standalones. So too is a little horse and sword fantasy. My first series features time-traveling  female gunsmith Boothenay Irons who gets swept into the unfinished history of whatever gun she’s working on. She’s been in 1811 England and instigated a jail-break from Dartmoor prison (In the Service of the Queen). In Shadow Soldier she ends up in the midst of World War I. Crossroad finds her in a water deprived Washington State of the future, and in Six Shot she’s caught in the Chief Joseph War of 1877. A fifth book is written and looking for a publisher, but here, my heroine takes a new direction. The other series is western suspense set in 1896. China Bohannon has coerced her way into her uncle and his partner’s detective agency and manages to get herself in a whole lot of trouble. The first book is One Foot on the Edge, then Two Feet Below, and due out within the next couple months, Three Seconds to Thunder, where China is caught in a forest fire while searching for her uncle, who has disappeared. I’m also shopping around an apocalyptic novel as I finish up a contemporary mystery.

How do you motivate your protagonist—with fear, desire, both or something else?
Motivation for my protagonist depends entirely on the character and the plot.  The fear and desire as mentioned in the question often play a part, but I’ve found my protagonists often have an overdeveloped sense of responsibility. They are compelled to right a wrong, finish a story, bring justice to someone--no matter what. Sometimes they may just want to survive!

What elements are important to include in your plot?
Depending on the story, this could be a pretty long list, but it could include, danger, plenty of action to avoid the danger, a bit of a love story, relationships with people around her/him, a timeline to accomplish the action in order to create some suspense, description of setting, and most of all, characterization. Readers need to feel an association with the protagonist before they care what happens to them.

What sets your book apart from others, Carol?
It’s hard to find a completely unique plot, so the protagonist’s point of view and voice are what will set my book apart from anyone else’s. At least I certainly hope so!
Are they available in print, ebook, and Kindle formats?

I’m happy to say that so far, all my books are available in print and Kindle, as well as Nook and most other ebook formats.
What has been your most rewarding experience during the writing process?

Two experiences really stand out beyond the thrill of holding my hot off the press books in my hand--and each time that seems like the first. Anyway, one experience involves a lady from South Carolina who wrote and asked me to sign and send back to her two copies of my first western, Liar’s Trail. She had (has) a grandson named Sawyer Kennett, just like the hero in the story and wanted a copy for him when he grows up. Sawyer shows up in Two Feet Below, also.

The second standout experience happened last summer when I took a few of my books to a rural farmer's market. A lady came by, just browsing, and picked up one of the westerns. Later in the week she called and asked if she might stop by my house and buy all the others. Believe me, I didn’t say no! But then, two weeks later she called again and came and bought all the rest of books, including the time-travels. I'm thrilled that she liked my stories so much.
Were any of your books more challenging to write than the others? 

Hmm. They’re all challenging. That “getting the words right” thing, you know. Research, you know. Shadow Soldier, the second time-travel book took the most research, taking me back to World War I, and now I can’t stop delving into anything set in that period. Let me turn the question around and say the least challenging was probably The Prince’s Cousin, my little sword and horse fantasy. No history to worry about, and not even a local setting. Everything is totally made up.
Can you tell us your writing goals for 2012 or beyond?

First of all, I’m looking forward to the release of the third book in my China Bohannon western suspense series (Three Seconds to Thunder). That should be very soon. Otherwise, my goal for this year is to sell the two fantasy stories I’m shopping around right now, finish up this contemporary mystery I’m working on (and sell it), and then get started on another China Bohannon. Unless the plot floating to the surface right now changes, it’s going to feature horse racing. And then there’s a bootlegger’s story percolating in my head, and after that....

Where can folks learn more about your books and events?
I really do try to keep my website up-to-date with newest books and news and an events calendar. Also, another goal for this year is to update my blogs more often. If interested, you can learn more here:   

I also post on facebook and twitter upon occasion.

Carol, thanks for dropping by and letting us get to know you. Congrats on all the books, and continued success.