Our series of mini-interviews with our Mannison Minibook authors continues! We’ve enjoyed working with them so much that we wanted to get to know them a bit better. Today, we are interviewing…
Author of Mannison Minibook
Don’t Mess with Bunnies
Thanks for joining us, Craig!
[Crawford:] I told you I thought this was a fun idea…so here you go. Didn’t take me long to answer—I actually find the writing process fascinating because everyone seems to have their own path. I know there’s a LOT going on in the writing process, and even for my own self, I do not understand how it works. I just try to stay out of the way and let the stories find their way to the page.
Let’s learn a little about YOU! So tell us…
1. How old were you when you decided you were a writer?
I was 12 or 13. It was a mix of good and bad that year. My parents got divorced and I was starting middle school. On the flip, I met a new crowd of kids to hang with who were all into sci-fi and fantasy, and I started reading what they were reading. Before, it had just been mystery books, and the new stuff blew me away. It’s when I started thinking beyond those great books, realizing someone was actually writing them. And I thought, I wonder if I could do that?
Add to that, one of my new-found friends was writing stories in cheap, cardboard journals he was getting from the local bookstore, and I always credit (or blame) him for getting me into this career. It was a perfect storm which launched me into writing, and it’s been a powerful force in my life ever since.
2. What was the inspiration for Don’t Mess with Bunnies?
Actually, it was a funny accident. I’d just finished the first draft of a novel and I had been listening to a lot of YouTube horror. I thought about trying my hand at short stories—I hadn’t for a long time, and I signed up to receive feeds to different horror magazines and anthologies. There was a call for a short story with two parameters: The rabbit must die and someone else is next. At first, I thought it was the dumbest thing I’d ever read, and I laughed and rolled my eyes before moving on.
However, later that day, the story bones of Bunnies popped behind my eyes, and wouldn’t leave me alone. I had the start and the end, and all I had to do was figure out how to get there. Ironically, Bunnies didn’t get picked up by the group wanting those parameters, but I still give them credit for sparking my imagination on the story.
3. Would you say the tale crosses over from justice into vengeance? Why or why not? (Sorry if we turned this into an English Lit essay question haha)
Having an English Degree—you might be sorry. I love essay tests 🙂
Honestly, that’s not how I took it. I looked at the spirit/force/entity as just adding another “name” to its list. 🙂 It came because it was collectively called to exact justice. It said it was a spirit taking on form, but Avery’s action was killing a rabbit, which got her added to the list. I looked at it as the intent behind Avery’s action—I don’t think she really understand it wasn’t somehow just an all-powerful bunny.
Maybe that it makes the entity all the crueler, but I saw it as a force of nature like a tornado, and with such, you get out of the way and take cover. If you defy the tornado, you end up in its path.
On the other hand, it didn’t give Avery a vision about Sara until the very end. Does that mean it somehow anticipated the end outcome, or knew the natural outcome before Avery came to save her friend? After all, it had its witness whether Avery lived or not, and the fact it said it always leaves one witness leads me to believe maybe it knew something more than it let on.
Just my interpretation. 🙂
Besides, being a justice-bringing entity offers a lot of leeway for interpretation in its job description…just saying.
4. Did you have any specific music in mind as you wrote this story?
I didn’t, but it’s funny you mention music. For short stories, I tend to completely focus in without music playing. However, when I’m writing a novel, I almost always have music playing and, yes, there are sometimes theme songs which drive my creative experience. I hadn’t thought about it before you said it, but writing short stories I rarely thrown on tunes. I’m not sure why, but now I’m going to have to think about it. 🙂
Personally, I love the psychology of writing. My son read a sci-fi YA novel I wrote and we argue about the writing process every time we discuss it. He has a particular character he hates and once asked if she was going to “get it” in the second book. To which I answered, “I don’t know.” 🙂
Then followed, “What do you mean, you don’t know? You’re writing it!”
He didn’t like my answer: “I’m not in charge. It’s up to the characters and what they do.” 🙂
Back to music—while writing these answers, I am listening to a group called The Hu who sing Tuva. It’s a unique sound I found several years back, but I like it. However, my tastes run all over the board, including movie soundtracks, AC~DC, Indie music like Jose Gonzalez and Florence & The Machine, to 80’s rock and even a little Johnny Cash.
5. What’s your favorite genre to write in?
For novels, I have definitely written more fantasy than any other genre. Now there is usually some element of horror to the fantasy I’m writing, but fantasy is my favorite. I grew up as one of those D&D nerds, but I preferred running the game as opposed to playing. I think it goes back to the story telling aspect of the game, and it was easy for me, so I think fantasy is an easy go-to.
For short stories, almost everything is horror or speculative. My mom was a huge horror nut, and as a kid we went to drive-in movie theaters every Saturday whenever something creepy was playing. She’s who I blame for my own love of horror. 🙂
I’ve been writing some sci-fi, again, usually with some horror element, and I’ve got a couple of off trail stories which are more magical realism, but usually it’s fantasy which gets me revved up.
6. Got anything new cookin’?
Oh yeah. I’m always writing. I usually have a couple of novels going at any one time, either researching one and writing the other, or plunking away at both. Right now, I’m finishing a trilogy on the sci-fi YA, and when I get stuck there, I shift to a horror/paranormal book that popped into my head this year.
Last year was a breakout year for me: I published four stories including Bunnies, and I got another one published earlier this year. I’ve knocked out another dozen short stories and am starting to fire them out. All horror of course. 🙂
Incidentally, I want you both to know, Don’t Mess with Bunnies is my debut short story. I’ve never had a short story picked up before, so it’s a big reason I was so excited, and look at Bunnies as extra special.
7. And just for fun… Do you have a favorite letter?
I don’t know about a favorite letter, but I think my favorite string of letters is “shenanigans.” It’s just fun to say, and I cannot seem to spell the thing properly without a Google search.
Bonus!: One more fun fact about me (well maybe): I’ve got a love/hate relationship going with the ocean, and water in general. I’m fascinated by everything living there. As a kid, I studied all the types of fish and critters living in the ocean. The downside is, I got into things like sea serpents and the Kraken (not to mention H.P. Lovecraft and Cthulhu), so I have a pretty solid case of thalassophobia going for me. I’ve
swum waded into the ocean, and will probably never get more than knee deep because of my imagination. It literally starts freaking me out. Living in land locked Iowa probably doesn’t help. 🙂
Thank you so much for taking the time to indulge us, Craig! We hope you enjoyed sharing a bit about yourself and your work with our audience.
Up next: ERIC LEWIS on Thursday, July 9th!
Don’t Mess with Bunnies
Dark Fantasy (44 pages)
Avery is your average teenager with the usual teenage problems…until a seemingly mundane creature gets into her head. This meek and defenseless-looking animal reveals to her the startling cost for the abuse of its kind. Avery quickly learns that this mysterious animal means business, and that the punishment it metes out is no joke!
Craig Crawford started writing in middle school, having gotten introduced to science fiction, fantasy, and horror by a new troupe of friends. A voracious reader, he started thinking about these people who actually wrote the stories he loved and thought he might be able to do it, too.
In college, Craig followed a track to expand his literary and writing knowledge. He got his first publication free-lancing for a gaming company called Palladium Books Inc., where he published two indices for source material for their RPG, Rifts. More interested in fiction, Craig turned his attention to novels. In 2008-2009, he earned an internship with the Wolf Pirate Project where he got the opportunity to workshop two of his novels with them.
Craig currently splits his time between writing short stories and novels. You can learn more about his work on his website at craiglcrawfordbooks.com or visit his Facebook page.
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