Veterans in Horror: Interview with C.R. Langille
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. Follow them at: https://biolinks.heropost.io/CRLangille
Tell us a bit about your military service. Years? Branch? Specialty?
I spent 20 years in the Utah Air National Guard. I was AGR which stands for Active Guard/Reserve, which meant I was full-time and basically the same as Active Duty Air Force, though I didn’t move around to a different base every 4-5 years. My main job was a train and equip our part-time or drill-status guardsmen. That being said, I started my career in military intelligence as an airborne Spanish linguist. I spent a lot of time flying in the back of a C-130 conducting recon. As the years progressed, I went from being a linguist to an airborne intelligence analyst and then a mission supervisor. When I retired, I was the enlisted superintendent of the squadron.
What role, if any, did reading and writing play during your military service?
Reading and writing were huge. Early on, before e-readers or digital books were a thing, I would go on deployment, and my luggage would be heavy with tons of books. We worked hard during deployment, but there were often times where it was hurry up and wait, or downtime, or even just a few minutes where I could pull a book out and read. In my spare time I would often write.
What inspired you to start writing?
When I was in sixth grade, I picked up a copy of The Crystal Shard by R.A. Salvatore and absolutely loved it. It sparked my interest in reading and from that point on, I read every fantasy book I could get my hands on. I knew pretty soon after that that I wanted to be a writer. It wasn’t too long before I started reading horror.
What was it about the horror genre that drew you to it?
I grew up watching horror flicks with my mom, so I had a deep love of horror as a child. That love and fascination only grew as the years went by. I started reading King, Koontz, Little, and Lovecraft. I love the feeling of getting immersed in a work of horror, that flare-up of gooseflesh at the right moment, wondering what that noise was downstairs. It’s an amazing feeling. Horror, for me, is a way to escape the confines of the real world and explore the dark side of the street from the safety of my own home (or wherever I am at the moment).
What role, if any, does your military experience play in your writing?
There have been times that I pull on experiences or knowledge of my career and insert those into my stories. I try my best to keep things centered in reality when it comes to depicting the military in my fiction, as I can (and I can assume other veterans can) tell when the author hasn’t done their research. On an external level, I think my time in the military has helped me with organization, keeping a schedule, and digging deep when it’s time to write, and I just don’t feel like it.
Who are some civilian characters in horror that you think would have made for great soldiers?
It’s hard to say, as there are so many. One of the great things about characters in a horror story is that they are generally quite resilient, able to problem-solve on their own and have tenacity. These are all traits that translate well when it comes to military service. Motivated individuals with fine attention to detail often do well in the service.
Who are some military veteran horror authors you recommend our audience check out?
Brian Keene, Cin Ferguson, and Michael Knost are all amazing veterans and authors.
What’s something about veterans most people don’t know?
Veterans are just like anyone else. We have a shared experience in some ways and sometimes have been put into situations that others won’t ever understand, but at the end of the day, we come from different walks of life. We are people (who truly understand the meaning of hurry up and wait).