The Shimmering Descent by A. K. Crook is an urban fantasy with elements of magic(k), psychological thrill, exploration of folklore, and slight hint to LGBTQ. It revolves around our protagonist Sinda, who belongs to the underworld, who is stuck in the civilized world of humans. Now, she would have to find her way out, but would she?
In a quick chat with Bookish Fame, A. K. Crook spilled beans about his book, his writing journey, and what to expect next.
Please introduce yourself to our readers.
Hello. I am A.k. Crook. My primary profession is as a Photographer and Artist – which is also what my BFA degree is focused on. In some form or another, I have always explored the written word creatively. As a visual artist, one can quickly find themselves confronted with physical limitations on how to express one’s ideas. Creative writing has been a wonderful way to break free from those restrictions and let my imagination run wild!
When did it dawn upon you that you wanted to be a writer?
My first “attempt” at writing was a short story I wrote based on a dream. It left me so moved that the thought of letting the sensation fade away was unacceptable. It wasn’t until I began creating stories for a series of role-playing games that I realized I had a need to share my creative vision with others. So, I guess you could say that I have always been a “story-teller.”
What inspires you to write books? What are the things which catch your attention?
Dreams. Exceeding visual limitations. And, character creation. Most of my stories derive from some seedling of a dream. My latest work, “The Shimmering,” is no exception. The weirder the dream, the more inspired I am to keep the story alive and going. As a Photographer and Artist, it is not always the imagination that limits creative expression. Even if the skill is present, some times, the budget simply is not. With writing, those limitations melt away. Also, I love the process of developing exciting characters to set up on my mental stage and watch how their lives unfold.
Tell something in brief about your latest book?
Much like real life, in “The Shimmering,” things are not what they appear to be. While striving to keep things uncomplicated and bogged down in excessive prose, I have managed to build a story-base that consists of layers upon layers. For the fast, light reader – there is just enough to make for a fun and exciting novel. Those who pick up on the tricky nuances will find plenty to dig through and discover something new with each passing chapter. Also, it is generally agreed that Sinda is pretty awesome!
How do you organize yourself, as a writer, to keep track of the world you’re writing about?
Notes! Lots of them. And almost always scattered on different apps and bits of paper. LOL! Drawings – which being an artist does help. Diagrams and maps are very useful. I outline, but not strictly. I mainly create a logical and realistic character, place them in an honest situation, and “watch” how they react. And I do not limit the world from becoming what it naturally must become. In a way, the story and world are telling me how they should be written.
When you were young, did you ever see writing as a career or a full-time profession?
No. When I was young, I wanted to be a fighter pilot. Or, a ninja… because, of course, that was some kind of an option. LOL. I just wrote because it was fun. Some times I wrote because it was therapeutic. It wasn’t until about 7 years ago that I knew I would be happiest in this profession.
How did you approach the writing process this time around? Do you have a set routine, or does it vary? And how do you manage it with your full-time work?
Much of the behind the scenes work took place over many nights, a glass of wine and hours of amazing creative collaboration with my brilliant wife. World-building can be challenging stuff. Having a creative partner to bounce your ideas off of is invaluable! From there, I would take notes, connecting the pieces together like a huge puzzle. The key for me was to not get too caught up in the fine details right away. I thought big-picture and then asked myself involved questions about how things would work, and this naturally led to the development of the intricate stuff.
Lots of tea, coffee, and when writer’s block struck, I would turn to sketching aspects of the world on paper, take a day off from writing, or relocate to a different room to refresh my mental space. As a Photographer, I do not have a typical 9 to 5 workday. So, time management was (is) essential. It is easier said than done.
How would you describe the contemporary scenario of writing and reading around the world?
That is a very complex question—one that crosses over culture, generational gaps, and niche interests. There was a time when I feared reading, as a form of entertainment, was deceased. Video games, movies, social media… these things battle for most people’s attention and leave the time-consuming notion of reading, wanting, at best. But, stories will always be told. And so long as they do, there will be those who wish to read them.
How crucial are marketing and promotions when it comes to selling a book?
Unless you have signed on with a major publisher or have an agent, I would say it is extremely vital. Of course, I am speaking as an Indie Author. So, that means that I am handling ALL of the marketing and promo. In a perfect world, I would just like to write, create, and strictly attend to all the fun stuff. But without exposure… well, how would anyone ever discover you?
Do you read much, and if so, who are your favorite authors?
I actually read quite a bit. Oddly enough, less of it is fiction than one might think. Metaphysics, psychology, history are just a few of the topics I get engrossed in. When I do reward myself with a novel, some of my favorites are Neil Gaiman, P. K. Dick, William Gibson, Clive Barker.
Any advice you would like to give to aspiring writers.
First and foremost, write for yourself. Write because you enjoy it. And in some profoundly intimate way, write because you have to. The rest will sort itself out.
Are we going to hear more from you in the future?
Absolutely! I am well on my way to writing Book Two of The Shimmering series – “Butterfly Thief” – which is even more exciting than the first. Beyond that, I have several other concepts and rough drafts that are all begging to come out of hiding and meet the waiting world. All of those wonderful characters would not leave me alone if I didn’t set them free.
*We wish Author A. K. Crook all the best for his future endeavors.*
Connect with the author:
- Instagram: @the.cruk
- Twitter: @akcrook14