There’s the family you’re born to and then there’s the one you that finds you, the one you were meant to be a part of all along.
My familial journey has been a long, complicated, and often painful one – and I’m vastly underselling it here, trust me – but now that I’m in my Fifties (man, it’s painful to type that), I’ve found the people I was destined to be linked to all my life.
Frank T. Croisdale, author of Niagara Falls Into Darkness, is one of those people. Here’s why:
- We’ve been in the hospitality trenches together for over twenty years and let me tell you, we’ve seen stuff.
- We’re both hardcore nerds, specifically, comic books.
- Both our moms were named Karin. (If you’re a Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice fan, you’re losing it right now.)
- Rockin’ Ronnie was one of our people and so we share the weight of his loss with a select group of others. Pain shared really is pain reduced.
- He’s a gifted writer who channels his ucanny ability to sell anything (watcing him pitch tours as the director of tours at our mutual home-away-from-home is a master’s class in salesmanship) to tell stories that will resonate with you forever.
- He knows how to cast; there’s a certain bellman who appears in this book that you’ll find very familiar – because he’s me.
Frank is also the person I bounce ideas of off whenever I find myself wrestling with conundrums involving superheroes or anything comic related for my own work. He’s like a girl I knew in high school; always availiable and open to anything. Of course, the circumstances are vastly different – but I stand by the analogy.
But enough of this bromance stuff. The best way to get to know someone is by peeling back the layers of their consciousness and seeing what oozes out, so here’s the blurb for Niagara Falls Into Darkness, followed by Frank’s A’s to my brilliant Q’s.
A madman serial killer is on the loose taking lives on both sides of the border at Niagara Falls. Newspaper Editor Mick O’Malley and Detective Sally Wendt are the only two with a chance of catching him before he kills again. Will they succeed or will Niagara fall into darkness forever?“
Dean Koontz, John Grisham, James Patterson – make way for the next great American crime thriller author, Frank Thomas Croisdale. Not only is Niagara Falls Into Darkness a page-turning masterpiece, it features one of the greatest protagonists ever created for the written page.”
ONE) Any thriller/action adventure worth it’s salt lives and dies (pardon the pun) by its villain. What makes your antagonist, Law, so compelling?
With Law I wanted to create an antagonist who was not only unhinged, but had a greater purpose. Law is driven to his heinous acts by his distain for what he perceives as neglect to protect the beauty of Niagara Falls. Because of that he feels very righteous in the murders that he commits. That, combined with his intelligence and sociopathic nature, provide him with a gravitas that one will not soon forget.
TWO) You have decades of experience as a tour director/master salesman. (Honestly, I’ve seen you metaphorically sell ice to Eskimos and convivne them it’d increase their body temperature.) Do you think that helped you bring a wholly-unique persepctive to the world of Niagara Falls Into Darkness?
There is no doubt that my 25+ years of work in the Niagara Falls tourism industry on both sides of the border had a great influence on Niagara Falls Into Darkness. One of the things that I love most about my work in tourism is that we service the entire globe. People come from everywhere to get an up-close view of our waterfalls. And there is a commonality that runs within them: they want to absorb as much knowledge and information as they can and they want to bask in the beauty of one of God’s truly great creations.
I sort of resonated with Law’s desire to always protect the beauty of the falls as a pertains to tourism. Obviously, he took it to a bit of an extreme.😀
THREE) This book is screaming to be adapted into a film or better yet, a Netflix mini-series, so let’s talk dream casting. Who would star in the filmed version of Niagara Falls Into Darkness?
I am surprised at the number of people that say that they envision it as a film or a Netflix series. One person has even offered to act as my agent in that regard. As for casting, I see Law being played by Anthony Hopkins. He might be a bit old for the role at this point, but I think he would bring just the right panache to Law’s demented character.
I envision John Krasinski as Mick O’ Malley. I think he would be able to get the nuances of Mick’s character growth throughout the story just right.
For Sally Wendt, ideally a young Ann Margaret (circa The Cincinnati Kid) would be ideal. Because that’s not possible Amy Adams will have to be the choice. And how about Anthony Mackie to round out the cast as Darnell Morgan?
I’d watch that. Twice.
FOUR) The hardest thing about writing for most new authors is maintaining a regiment (I’ve been clicking away to work on my new book and check various comic book sites this whole time). Do you have a strict writing schedule you stick to or do you write whenever the diving hand of inspiration you?
Once I commit to writing a novel I keep a pretty strict regimen. I use the 3 x 5 index card method. I sketch out each scene from beginning to end with one on each card. Only then do I begin the actual writing of the book. Each day I pick up the next card and commit to finishing the chapter. I find that pretty much eliminates writer’s block and helps everything move along smoothly.
FIVE) Not to get too spoilerish, but the exploitation of Niagara Falls, specifically the Falls themselves, is touched upon heavily in this book; is this an issue near and dear to your heart?
Yes, absolutely. I am very fond of a saying that I put into the mouth of Law in the book. “We do not own Niagara Falls. We have simply borrowed them from our children. We are honor bound to turn them over to the next generation in better shape than they were handed to us.”
There is a fine line that needs to be adhered to. Obviously, I make my living in tourism and I believe it to be both the present and the future of both cities named Niagara Falls. However, we must remember that the falls are a 12,000 year-old living organism and they have many thousands of years left. No generation should be the one to spoil that amazing legacy for those yet to come.
SIX) I’ve heard a rumor that some of the characters in Niagara Falls Into Darkness wil be appearing in your next book, The Benefactor. You know I’m a huge fan of this practise based on my love of comics; does this decision spring from your love of comic books as well?
Absolutely. You and I both cut our literary teeth on the offerings of the DC and Marvel companies. Having characters crossover and make cameos in other works is a staple of the comic book industry and one that I love. So you will see Mick O’Malley and Sally Wendt making an appearance in The Benefactor even though the larger story will center on a new cast of characters.
SEVEN) Self-promotion has proven to be a major challenge for me and I know I’m not alone. Any advice in that regard for you fellow indoie writers?
I think that’s the best advice that I can give is to think long and hard about who the readership is for your work. Once you have a good handle on that think about where you might find that group of people in social media outlets? Then you need to continue to promote your work on every platform where you find them as often as you can.
The executives at Coca-Cola one stated that it took 100 impressions for a person to instinctively reach for a can of Coke over other pop brands when they were standing in front of a cooler in a convenient store. So that means that someone needs to hear of your book 100 times before they might actually pull the trigger and make the purchase. Perseverance is the key. As Winston Churchill so famously said “never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never.”
EIGHT) Buffalo Soul Lifters was your first book and it proved to be a major success because, as promised, the stories lifted people up. You’re one of the most upbeat souls I’ve ever known; where does this eternal optimism come from?
I was a philosophy major in school and one of the things that I loved most about that discipline is that it teaches you that everything in life is a choice. Is the glass half full or half empty? Am I half done or half just begun? Does this bag contain 12 donuts or 12 holes?
At the end of the day the choice is yours. I choose to always bet on myself. I choose to believe that happiness is a better state of being then sadness. I choose to believe in God despite there being no empirical evidence of his or her existence. I do so because it’s too romantic of a notion to discard.
So, that is why I am an optimist. That and the fact that I have the great fortune of having an amazing wife who picks me up on the rare occasions that I find myself down.
My favorite band ever is the Beatles. So, I’ll finish this question and the interview by quoting the final line from their final song, “The End.” Truer words have never been sung and I try to make it my manta.
“And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.”
Gosh, I hope that’s true.
The Bio Thing:
Frank Thomas Croisdale was born and raised in Niagara Falls, New York. In 2000, he began writing for the Niagara Falls Reporter. He soon became a featured columnist and contributing editor. He wrote for the paper for 13 years and produced hundreds of feature articles.
In 2004, his book Buffalo Soul Lifters was published. It quickly became a best-seller as people connected with his stories of hope and perseverance that define the great people of Western New York.
In 2020, his novel Niagara Falls Into Darkness was released to great fanfare. The crime thriller not only kept readers on the edges of their seats, it also captured the many nuances of the twin cities that flank either side of the world’s most famous waterfalls.
The Linky Thing:
Before I release you back into the wilds of the interweb I’d just like to say that Niagara Falls Into Darkness is a brilliant book with a smart, unique premsie (something most books cannot claim these days) and it’s part history lesson, part thriller, part page-turnng mystery and all fun.
I can never thank Frank enough for all he’s done for me, the least of which is being here today, but I hope this virtual offering has done some justice to this cool author and human being.
See you in the lobby and virtual bookshelves, friends…