Most people find it easier to talk about a story than to talk about their own life, he said, adding that as a therapist, he knows how much it helps to be able to talk about what's happened.
"I had a girl come up to me one time after she read "Chinese Handcuffs" which is about a girl who is molested," Crutcher said, "and she said 'I'm 17 years old and it's the first time I knew anybody else even knew what my life is like.'"
Consequently, he and his staff directed the girl toward help.
"If you can't say it, you're stuck," he said.
Crutcher was born in Dayton, Ohio in 1946 and grew up in Cascade, Idaho. He graduated from Eastern Washington State College (now EWU) with a BA in psychology and sociology. Later he earned his teaching credential and taught at both primary and secondary schools. For almost a decade, Crutcher directed a "last chance" alternative school that served at-risk K through 12 kids. He began writing in 1981.
"I sat down and started writing a story," Crutcher said as to how he began his career in literature. His first book was "Running Loose."
Ninth grader Ben Jaworski, who came to the school auditorium to hear Crutcher speak, just finished reading "Athletic Shorts."
"I like the sports," he said, referring to the fast-paced fiction book.
Any questions for Crutcher?
"I want to know if he'll be writing any more books soon," he said.
For more information on the author, visit chriscrutcher.com.