Blake Crouch creeps me out.
Crouch takes that as a compliment.
Whether it was with his first novel, Desert Places, or his latest, Pines, reading Crouch always leaves you with an uneasy feeling, a desire to want to look over your shoulder, a pit in your stomach.
Here's what Crouch does to me.
Stephen King scares me with what he writes. Crouch scares me with what he leaves to my imagination.
With Pines just recently released, I hooked up with Crouch by e-mail.
First, congratulations on the new book, Pines. It's a great read. Can you talk about the inspiration/idea for the book?
The idea for the book started with a small Colorado town I often visit with my family. It's called Ouray, and like Pines, it's small, surrounded by cliffs, beautiful, but also kind of creepy. About six or seven years ago, I was walking through Ouray one night, and a question occurred to me. What if one person owned this entire town, and put it to their (possibly malicious) use? That question stayed with me over the years, and one day collided with another plot point that had always interested me -- a federal agent searching for two of his missing co-workers, and possibly sharing the same fate. Also, I had a 10n-year-old image of a man running down a hospital corridor, and the floor was checkerboard. I didn't know why, but the image was very strong for me. All of these came together to be Pines, and once I figured out what the overarching mystery actually was, I knew I had something special.
You've really taken advantage of the e-book trend. I've also noticed authors like Lee Child, Karin Slaughter, Lisa Gardner releasing singles. Some like Linda Castillo re-releasing their older work. Is there pressure on writers to produce more in this digital age? To always have a presence?
I think more people are reading than ever before. The readers are hungry for as much as you can throw at them. It is pressure, sure, but it's so much better than the alternative (writing for an empty room). I can't imagine that I'll be as prolific as I have in the past two years, but I would like to at least be at the point where I'm putting out two novels a year and a handful of short stories.
What are you reading right now?
I just finished a book called Big Maria by Johnny Shaw. Possibly the most sheer fun I've had with a book in a while. It's a buddy movie kind of story about three losers who go in search of gold in the middle of a U.S. Government weaponry range. Funny, amazing writing that reminded me of Scott Phillips and Victor Gischler. I believe it releases later this month.