CONSPIRACY OF RAVENS AUTHOR CHRYSTAL VAUGHAN!
Deanna: Tell us a bit about yourself that our readers might not know.
Chrystal: I am a big coward when it comes to scary movies. I can read anything, and I can write some of the most twisted murder scenes, but I can't watch scary movies. Paranormal Activity gave me nightmares for weeks and we still don't mention The Grudge in my household.
Deanna: What do you do to relax?
Chrystal: I read all the time. When I'm not writing I'm either reading, knitting, or spinning yarn for relaxation.
Deanna: As authors, we’ve sometimes been accused of being several people. How many personalities live in your mind?
Chrystal: No less than seven. It's very distracting and crowded up in my brain.
Deanna: What type of hero do you like best?
Chrystal: I like the flawed hero. Like Beowulf. He was completely badass and slayed monsters left and right, but he was too proud, over-confident, and it led to his downfall. He was a hero, but he had flaws. Take Batman for instance; that guy has problems but he's still pretty awesome.
Deanna: How many plots do you include in one of your books?
Chrystal: There's usually the main plot, and then two or more subplots, depending on what I'm writing.
Deanna: Tell us about a typical day in your life as a writer.
Chrystal: I know a lot of writers who say you have to sit your rear in the chair and write every day, and I do, but...if I'm not into any of the book writing projects I have juggling up in the air at any given moment, I write something else, such as a blog post, book review, or poem. I don't force the words to come, I let them come to me. I don't really have a typical day, since every day is different.
Deanna: Do your books have a common theme or are they all different?
Chrystal: All of my books have darkness in them. Usually death. My formative years as a reader were spent hanging out with Stephen King, Dean Koontz, and other horror/thriller/scary stuff so those influences are definitely ever present.
Deanna: Where did your inspiration come from for this book? Was there a character that just had to be heard? Was there an event that inspired you to start writing?
Chrystal: I was sitting in the car with my elder daughter, waiting for the younger one to get out of school, and we were talking about the different names for groups of animals. For example, a group of buzzards is called a wake. I was looking them up on my phone and found a whole list of them. I already knew a group of crows was called a murder but I was surprised by a few of them. Conspiracy of ravens just kind of stuck with me and lo, a seed was planted.
Deanna: Does your background (in terms of job, family, geographic location, etc.) play into your writing? What kind of research went into your story?
Chrystal: For this story, I had to research prisons (not part of my family or background) and serial killers (not a norm in my family, I assure you). In fact, this book is different from anything else that I've written in that it's not set in the Pacific Northwest and does not involve teenagers or kids as main characters.
Deanna: Describe the genres in which you write (paranormal, contemporary, westerns, etc.) If write in more than one genre or area (poetry, non-fiction), do you have a different process when you're writing different kinds of fiction or non-fiction?
Chrystal: I write in several genres, but I'm published mainly in the paranormal/horror/thriller genre. I write romance, kid's books, poetry, non-fiction, literary fiction, sci-fi...I have a lot of different writer's hats. My process is always the same: I write whatever the voices tell me to write. It just sort of happens. I don't really set out to write anything. I just open up a pad of paper or my laptop and stuff happens.
Deanna: How do you balance writing with work and/or personal life?
Chrystal: That can be harder. I work part time, so I have to write in the afternoons during the school year. That limits me because I don't always become inspired when I have time, so I started writing before bed too since I started writing long hand. Lugging the laptop to bed is a pain, but a notebook is much more portable and allows me to write whenever I have a free moment between juggling home and work. Conspiracy of Ravens is the first book I've written long hand, but I like it. All my new book projects are in various stages of completion and are all being written long hand, which means I have a gazillion notebooks lying around. A lot of my previous stories are still on the computer so those will be finished in the same fashion as they were started.
Deanna: Do you have any other projects you're working on?
Chrystal: There are always projects that I'm working on. I have so many ideas coming at me I can't keep up. I have a notebook app on my phone that allows me to use the voice recorder function and record my ideas while I'm driving, or when I wake up in the dead of the night with the urgent need to remember something. I always have a notebook around too. Just in case. I've got no less than half a dozen things in various stage of completion at the moment and many more waiting their turn.
Chrystal (Christina) Vaughan (1976-present) was born in Ashland, OR and grew up all over Southern Oregon where she currently resides. She is married and has two daughters and a son; she enjoys teaching others and imparting her love for the written word to her students. When she is not writing, Mrs. Vaughan enjoys spending time with her family and various pets, spinning yarn, and is a voracious reader.