Wednesday, January 21, 2015

An exclusive interview with Lincoln Crisler

Hey folks,

We've got a special treat for you! An interview with Skinjumper author Lincoln Crisler!

Check out our review here!

Rose Bennett, a young, recently-widowed mother, comes face to face with a newly-minted murderer and learns that there are much scarier things than raising a child alone in an unfamiliar town. Terry Miller has discovered three things in a very short amount of time: his high school sweetheart's been cheating on him with his father, killing is fun, and if he does it just right, he can switch bodies with his victims.

Let's start our interview off!

1. So, could you describe what separates Skinjumper from other horror novels out there?  
Well, for one, it's the only one you can currently buy written by me! But more to the point, I tried to strike a delicate balance with Skinjumper in the amount of supernatural to realism I used. Obviously, there's a mystical element, but I tried to front-load that as early as possible and move on to telling a human story.
2. What made you decide to go with body-jumping as a horror story basis? 

I found it to be a solid, terrifying idea. It's one thing to be in danger from someone you don't know, but to possibly be in fear for your life because the people you think you know might not be who you know...that's an entirely different ballgame. 

3. Terry is about as far from the "sharp as a razor" genius killers like Hannibal Lecter as you can get. Why did you decide to go with a relatively dumb and mean killer rather than someone more eloquent?  

Horror, book- and movie-wise, is full of uber-competent bad guys and chronically dumb victims. I wanted to write an average-guy killer, and I'd like to think that the book is more interesting because of it.

4. How would you describe Terry to the audience?  

He's a bottom-rung guy who ended up with the ability to jump into the bodies of people he chokes out. He just narrowly missed out on the sort of blissful ignorance so many people we know, enjoy. If he hadn't participated in a ritual and accidentally been given a dark gift, he might have freaked out and killed his father and girlfriend and ended up in prison. If he'd not gone home that particular weekend to surprise his girlfriend, he may not have found out she was sleeping with his father. It was a 'perfect storm' of events that could have happened to anyone, and instead of happening to a cunning, genius of a sociopath, it happened to a guy that would otherwise have ended up as a low-level office worker for the rest of his life. 

5. Is Rose Bennet the co-star of this book or is this Terry's show, in your opinion? 

Terry's the star, but it wouldn't be the same book without Rose. I made an effort to make every character in Skinjumper more than just someone who was there to be killed, and I don't think it would be the same story without the intersection between Terry's actions and the resulting roller-coaster that takes place in Rose's life.
6. Much of the book takes place in the suburbs. Why did you choose that particular location for your horror-adventure? 

I wanted a setting that most readers could relate to, and didn't want to craft a generic city. Suburbs are, for the most part, generic by nature. Most of the people who pick up Skinjumper probably live in, or know someone who lives in, a place just like the book's setting. 

7. Skinjumper is as much black comedy as horror novel. How does the humor relate to the horror? What do you find funny about Terry's situation?  

I didn't write it with the intent of being humorous, and it's not something a lot of readers have mentioned to me, but I do find it rather humorous that this gift landed on someone who, for whatever reason, doesn't use it to make his life better. We see it all the time in real life. Stars who get big breaks and waste their fame and fortune on stupid twerking videos. Teens with shots at full-ride scholarships who get their girlfriend knocked up (or get knocked up themselves) and have to drop out of school. And in this instance, a guy who had a chance at sweet revenge and the perfect crime just blowing everything because he got obsessed and made some poor decisions.
 8. Who are your favorite characters in Skinjumper and why? 

I like the bikers in the subplot involving the lead detective's partner. I'm slowly building a mythos where many of my works are connected to each other by little threads, and that biker gang shows up in the project I'm working on now. There's a band playing in a bar scene about halfway through the novel, and an alternate-reality version of them appears in a short story from a now out-of-print collection of mine from 2008. Events from Skinjumper may very well be referenced in future stories of mine.
9. What's the key to a successful horror story, in your opinion?  

Characters readers can care about. One way or another--they may want them to succeed, or they may be rooting for them to be brutally murdered, but if the reader doesn't have some sort of feeling about the characters, you've got a flat story. I'd like to think that even the characters I only spent a few hundred or thousand words on got some kind of reaction from readers when I bumped them off.
10. What can we expect of you in the future? 

In five days, my third anthology as editor, That Hoodoo, Voodoo That You Do, will be released by Angelic Knight Press, Ragnarok Publishing's newly-acquired horror imprint. In the next couple months, they should also be releasing a new version of my dark-superhero anthology from 2012, Corrupts Absolutely? I'm hard at work on a new novel, about a non-supernatural serial killer. And finally, I'm working on the second part of an urban fantasy serial novel that folks can read on Wattpad for free (

Thanks, Lincoln! Can't wait to read your future stuff!

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