Finding Out What Makes C.R. Langille Tick: An Interview

C.R. Langille spent many a Saturday afternoon watching monster movies with their mother. It wasn’t long before they started crafting nightmares to share with their readers. They are a retired, disabled veteran with a deep love for weird and creepy tales. This prompted them to form Timber Ghost Press in January of 2021. They are an affiliate member of the Horror Writer’s Association, a member of the League of Utah Writers, and they received their MFA: Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University.

Please briefly describe your latest book.

The last book I wrote was Alpha Protocol which is the third book in my Dark Tyrant Series. The series is a dark urban fantasy/horror, think Stephen King meets Jim Butcher. Alpha Protocol is about a special operations team investigating a strange paranormal occurrence in the Salt Lake Valley. Their team specializes in unique supernatural threats, but they quickly find themselves in a situation they aren’t prepared for and have to seek help from some unlikely sources.

What motivated you to write it?

The series itself stemmed from a NaNoWriMo project I did many years ago. That initial story that was born from the primordial ooze that is NaNoWriMo was utter crap. However, there were some characters and ideas in there that were good. So I took that idea and expanded it, and the series was born. This book, is the third part of the series (there will eventually be another book or two to tie it all together). I’ve always loved seeing specialized teams deal with unique situations, like the team of vampires that were trained to kill Blade in Blade II, or the video game, Clive Barker’s: Jericho. In the second book of the series, Consequence, there is a special agent who has gone rogue but he keeps trying to call in an Alpha Protocol back to home base when he sees what is happening in Salt Lake. Alpha Protocol explores exactly what that means and shows us the team that has trained to deal with such a thing.

Tell us about the setting. What motivated this choice? What do you think is important when choosing a setting?

I love books that are set in real places. I have lived in Utah my whole life so I set a lot of stories in Utah itself. I think when you add in some locations that are real, it adds a bit of authenticity to the story and makes it a little more believable (even if there are demons, monsters, and ghosts).

What is the central theme? What motivated you to explore this?

The theme of Alpha Protocol is about being yourself. The main character is a woman named Thulisile who at a young age lost her parents because they were accused of being witches. Ever since then, Thuli has forsaken magic and has suppressed the power within herself. You get to see that dynamic play out as the story progresses and what choices she has to make for the greater good.

How has your background influenced your writing? To what extent does your own life influence your writing?

I’m a retired military veteran who loves to hunt and spend time in the outdoors. Those experiences have influenced my writing quite a bit. For one, I’ve incorporated my military knowledge into some of my stories. Secondly, I set a lot of my stories in the same places I hunt. I love the wilderness and like to capture that into the written word.

Can you take us through the process of writing a book? What do you do first?

I used to just wing it. I was what’s called a pantser, meaning I would write from the seat of my pants. However, as of late, I started to notice I would get stuck a lot. For awhile I freelanced writing outlines for a company. They would then take my outline and hand it off to one of their authors, and someone would write a book based off what I outlined. I finally decided to try it for myself, and the latest project I’m working on, I outlined everything. It’s going much smoother. Once it is drafted, I will go back through and really make it shine. I feel like an initial draft is the part where the author is really getting to know the characters. Once you know exactly who the characters are and what is going to happen, when you revise you can start to add those subtle foreshadows and plot points to make a good book a great book.

What other books and authors have inspired you?

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention R.A. Salvatore and his Dark Elf books set in the Forgotten Realms. Back in the day I hated reading. However, one day in sixth grade that changed when I checked out, The Crystal Shard from the library. I devoured that book. Then I went back and started reading all the fantasy books I could get my hands on. I knew soon after that I wanted to be an author. My tastes started to change, and I migrated to authors like Dean Koontz, Stephen King, Simon R. Greene, Clive Barker, and Jim Butcher. I think my love of fantasy and urban fantasy is what made my Dark Tyrant Series shift from a straight-up horror to a dark urban fantasy. I just couldn’t make a world without magic and heroes to fight the darkness. Aside from that, these days I have to say Betty Rocksteady and Lucy A. Snyder have a been a big influence on me. I love cosmic horror and they are both taking the genre into amazing and fresh directions.

See C.R. Langille’s books on Amazon