Author Interview - Craig Randall

Craig Randall is a teacher of Literature and Writing and has loved words and stories for as long as he can remember. He is also an empath and has struggled with anxiety and depression most of his life. Writing allowed him to turn a huge corner and has led to so much healing. 

Genre: Horror and suspense, but I also write a lot of hopeful poetry.


Q1: What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?

There are two: My debut novel, The Doom That Came to Astoria, which was inspired by semi-autobiographical events (not the creature at the end) in which I had to learn to not allow others so much power in my own life. Like myself, the MC, Charlie, hopes to build a new life free from pain and past trauma…things don’t quite go his way…at first.

The second book, To Chase the Sun, is a collection of poetry that charts my own healing as I sought to rebuild my mind after an anxiety med-wash. Things went very dark for a long time. Both books were written alongside one another and feel like two sides of the same coin. 

Q2: What do you need in your writing space to help you stay focused?

I NEED quiet. Other than that, I could be in an empty room, on the floor, anywhere, and be fine. I supposed I need my laptop, and it’s nice to be surrounded by books and comforts, but when I start, everything goes by the wayside anyway and I feel transported. I write all over the place, as long as it’s potentially quiet.

Q3: If you could spend a day with another popular author, whom would you choose and why?

I would give anything to hang out with Neil Gaiman for a whole day. I would pick his brain about his process, the evolution of his craft, how he deals with certain pitfalls and setbacks. And I would ask him so many questions about his stories, characters, and their connections to the real world!

Q4: What, to you, are the most important elements of good writing?

Good writing, to me, is the heart bleeding on the page. I think good writing must be honest and truthful in its reflection of people and the world. Maybe sincere is the best word for it. When I read something that appears to be the author reaching for something as it really is? That’s powerful. Then we get to join them on their quest for answers. Someone told me a long time ago that great literature answers questions. I see it differently. I think great literature/writing asks great questions and creates a pathway for the audience to find their own answers.

Q5: What are common traps for new authors? 

I think the biggest trap is in expecting perfection or excellence too soon. Too many people give up because it’s not like what they read or wanted it to be. They don’t realize that it might be better than the first draft of their favorite book(s). People don’t realize how often a book has been edited/revised prior to publication and therefore create unrealistic expectations for themselves. Another trap is the belief that writing is a singular effort. It can be, I suppose, but we need people around us, to encourage, to read our work, to give feedback and notes. We write as a tribe and we each need our own tribe to continue forward.

Q6: What is the most valuable piece of advice you’ve been given about writing?

The most important advice I’ve ever been given is in terms of finding a story to write about. That I shouldn’t write about what I feel I confidently know but to write about something I’m unsure of and want to know or understand better. That way, my character’s journey is a reflection of me and takes me on that same journey of understanding. The revelations and growth that happens in the characters become more authentic. Powerful stuff. Then, even if no one ever touches my book, reads or reviews it, likes or hates it, I’ve still grown, and writing was purposeful anyway. No matter what there is victory. That’s been important.

Q7: How do you come up with character names for your stories?

Names carry meaning and tone and feel. I think of what or who that character needs to be and will often go through a massive list of names until I find a match. I focus more on syllable and phonemic sounds, too, than anything else. If its harsh, soft, weak, flimsy, like the character needs to be. Then I look at meaning. Often those things intersect and it becomes perfect. My MC in my trilogy is a combination of two characters from H.P. Lovecraft’s mythology. Each name carries certain traits that my character had or needed to have, so that felt perfect. I chose Charlie, the inspirational character’s name Charles, to update it but it also captures more of the innocence I wanted. In less meaningful cases, I google most popular names (first and last) in the region/setting (if it’s the real world) and pick one that fits.

Q8: At what time of the day do you do most of your writing?

I write in the evenings and at breaks throughout my day. Pending how busy I am, I’ll try to get in an hour or two every Saturday and/or Sunday.

Q9: What are you working on now?

I’m currently writing Part 3 in my trilogy. Doom is the first. Its sequel, The Dreams in the Pearl House comes out in the fall, and I’m hoping Part 3 will drop the following winter. It’s been so fun!

Q10: What are you currently reading?

I’m blasting my way through Stephen King books. Never read him before, and I see and hear so much about his work. I’m loving it, most of it. Currently, I’m 600 pages into The Stand. Only 800 pages left…I’ll get there!

To find out more about Craig Randall, check out the social media links below:

Amazon Author Page

The Doom That Came To Astoria is now available in paperback and ebook! Check out the blurb below:

DOOM IS COMING…but Charlie West is too busy striving toward a more hopeful future to notice. Eager to move on from a past scarred by pain, he accepts a teaching position at a school just outside Astoria, Oregon. He’d dreamt of this his whole life. Letting go. Leaving. Building his own life free of the shadows and darkness that plagued his formative youth.

Anxieties reel as Charlie works to settle, build friendships, and find his place in a new community. Allowing himself to dream at last, he is unaware that each step he takes leads him further into an intricate web set to ensnare him.

Never could he have imagined what awaited him, nor the extent of his own connection to the coming horrors.

As mental upheaval threatens to overpower him, Charlie is desperate to find out whether a person can ever really move on from their own past, their own pain. Follow Charlie as he grapples with who truly holds the reins of his life and future.

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