Interview with Crystal Connor
Master Imaginationist and Instagram photographer Crystal Connor is a Washington State native who loves anything to do with monsters, bad guys (as in evil-geniuses & super-villains. Not ‘those’ kind her mother warned her about), rogue scientific experiments, jewelry, sky-high high-heeled shoes & unreasonably priced handbags.
When she’s not terrorizing readers she reviews indie horror and science fiction films for both her personal blog and HorrorAddicts.net
She is also considering changing her professional title to dramatization specialist because it so much more theatrical than being a mere drama queen. The End is Now is the 5th book that has been unleashed by Connor’s awarding winning imagination.
Download your free copy of …And They All Lived Happily Ever After! audiobook from Podiobooks.com and see why the name Crystal Connor has become “A Trusted Name in Terror!”
Q. I understand you are working on the third book in the Spectrum Trilogy. What’s it all about, and what are you calling it, and when can we expect to see it?
A. Lol, actually the third book in The Spectrum Trilogy, In The Valley of Shadows, was published in 2013 =) and it’s the epic conclusion of the of the story that was built upon books I and II
Q. “The Darkness,” the first book in the Spectrum Trilogy, was an International Book Award finalist. How did you feel about the honor?
A. I burst into tears. I fought so hard to keep the lead characters, both of whom are black women, and the tone of the story the way I envisioned it, to tell the type of story I meant to tell. But the lead editor had never read a science fiction like mine. She told me she didn’t like it and kept trying to change it, because I refused to back down she told me that my book The Darkness was the only project in all of her career that she wasn’t proud to be a part of. She even removed her editorial credits from the final draft of the book before it was shipped off to printing.
So when I got that award two months after being published, when no one knew who I was, it was such an affirmation that I had done the right thing by fighting tooth and nail to ensure the story I wrote was the one that got published.
Q. “The Darkness” and its sequel “Artificial Light” included elements of both science-fiction and horror, mixing mad scientists with powerful witches. How did you feel about blending the two genres, and will this pattern continue in the third book?
A. Yes, the theme of science vs magic rides through The Spectrum Trilogy until the very last page. And until the awards were announced. I placed in two categories: best multi-cultural and best cross-genre. Until the awards and the critic reviews came in I didn’t even know there was such a thing as cross or crossover genre. For me when something is scary it’s just scary I don’t separate them. I think that’s up to the reader to decide how to box up a story.
I consider myself a horror writer. My goal was to write really terrifying stories, which I have done and hopefully will continue to do for a very long time, but I am not going to say that I wasn’t surprised to see reviewers calling the trilogy a medical thriller, a suspenseful mystery, and even a younger reader suggested it was a coming of age story. You just never know what a reader will take from or read into your story and I think that’s my favorite part of reading my reviews … is seeing a fan taken it to a place I never imagined it would go.
Q. Speaking of horror, you’re involved with the Black Horror History Month blog series over at HorrorAddicts.net. What can you tell us about that, and any other work you have done with HorrorAddicts?
A. OMG, becoming a staff writer HorrorAddicts.net has been a dream come true. When I was first involved I was just writing movie reviews. I was already writing them for my own personal blog (which I haven’t updated in hella) but writing them for HA gave me a bigger platform. And way back in the day the largest part of my fan base wasn’t for my books it was for my movie reviews.
When I drifted over to HA I was asked to do music and book reviews and I also had films assigned to me to review. I’m actually glad that I had assignments because it I’ve watched films that I otherwise wouldn’t have seen because they were outside my viewing preference. I didn’t like all of them but having to review books and films I didn’t really enjoy has forced me to really hone in on the way I write reviews. I really don’t not like writing reviews that aren’t glowing but it has to been done when someone sincerely hoping and waiting to hear your opinion.
Overtime I made it to being a full-fledged staff writer and if you could have seen my Facebook and Twitter feed that day you would have sworn I had won the damn ass powerball.
Q. Did you doing anything special for Women in Horror Month this February?
A. Granting and writing interview and trying to get my life together. LOL I’m just kidding, but not about the first part though. I am pretty ambitious so I kinda just point myself in the direction I want to go and allow myself to be highly adaptable to any situation that might come up. I want to control everything, and I mean everything, but of course I can’t so I have to be like water. Fluid enough to flow around obstacles or being strong enough to move the things that are blocking my path. Even if that means leaving a huge path in my wake.
Q. I understand you are hosting your own speculative fiction convention in Seattle next summer in 2017 CrystalCon. What can you tell us about that?
A. Well the one thing that separates CrystalCon from other fan conventions is that CrystalCon is for both STEM professionals (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) and SFF writers (Science Fiction and Fantasy) and all of our fans. CrystalCon is a celebration of all things science both factual and fictional!
The hardest part, at first, was getting all of the scientist in real life on board. I even had one doctor tell me that he wasn’t dressing up like Star Trek. I was starting to get really nervous CrystalCon cannot exist without actual scientist. The very 1st rock star scientist I booked was Dr. Peter Ward. He is a paleontologist from the University of Washington and he also a commentator on the History Channel’s The Universe. And the very next day Dr. B. Melina Cimler Senior Vice President from Adaptive Biotechnologies said yes! After that getting scientist in real life to be guest speakers got way easier.
Q. One of the highlights of your presence on social media is reading your hilarious indictments of modern horror movie tropes. What are some of the movie clichés that get on your nerves the most, and why do they irritate you?
A. Oh my gosh, where in the world do I start…lol. The biggest one for sure in the falling down in the woods because you’re not watching were you’re going. I think the biggest reasons this spins me out of control is because once they fall, even if only a nail is chipped it affects their ability to stand, walk, and/or run.
Q. If someone said they wanted to turn “The Darkness” into a movie tomorrow, and they had a multimillion dollar budget to do it with, what would be your dream cast for the movie?
A. A multimillion dollar budget would be required just for the vivid visuals. As far as casting I would want it to be a cast of up and coming actors so that people would focus on the story and not the expectation of big name actors.
If I had any control over the process at all I would champion for the Kenyan super model Ajuma Nasenyama to play Inanna, plus writer/director Jim Chuchu and his entire visionary team that put together the short film called To Catch a Dream, a stunning short in which Ajuma stars in.
For the role of Artemisia it would have to be someone who could unapologetically command the screen, someone like Alfre Woodard. The way she portrayed of Mavis Heller from My Own Worst Enemy was stunning. Only someone as strong as Viola Davis, Alfre Woodard, or Angela Bassett would be able to pull of that character.
Q. If you found out magic was real, would you mess with it?
A. One thing I knew from a very early age without having to be told is that magic is very well real indeed. What I did need to learn, a lesson that I needed to be reminded of time and time again by the elders in my family, especially my grandmother was this: You don’t play games with the Devil and if you do you damn sure don’t get to make the rules. I was just nine when my grandma told me that. And the message was loud and crystal clear…
Leave. This. Shit. Alone