An interview with Alistair Cross

Alistair Cross
The Angel Alejandro  ~  2017

Mr. Cross,

Thank you for taking your time for me ~

Who are your influences? 
There are many, but I have to say my greatest influence was, and still is, my collaborator, Tamara Thorne. Many years ago, before we ever met, I discovered her books in a library and became an instant fan. It was her novel, Moonfall, that prompted me to get serious about writing. We met in 2012, just after the publication of my first novel, and we hit it off. One thing led to another and soon, we began collaborating. I don’t take that for granted. To be able to write books with your hero … it’s incredible. It’s still a dream-come-true for me. 

When did you begin writing?
I first remember writing stories when I was about eight years old. 

How do you come up with your stories, characters, character names, POV, etc.? 
Coming up with story ideas has never been hard for me. When I was young, I flitted around from one fascination to the next. I think the people around me worried a little bit that I’d never to stick to anything - but as it turns out, my rapid-fire focus paid off. I find myself drawing on those previous interests in my writing, and because of that long mental backlog of otherwise useless information, I’ve never had a shortage of ideas. As for characters and their names, those are usually the first things that come to me; I often find myself writing an entire novel around a character or characters. And when it comes to point-of-view, I just ask myself which one could give the most insights into the situation in question. 

If you could actually meet one of your characters, who would it be? Why?
That’s a tough question because, really, I’d like to meet them all. Even the bad guys. I often wonder what they’d have to say to me if given the chance. Probably nothing good. 

Do you work from an outline? 
I think I’ve found a comfortable medium when it comes to plotting vs. pantsing. If I plot too much, I end up frustrated because it stunts the characters’ growth and limits their choices - which limits the possibilities in the story - but if I don’t outline enough, I can write myself into left field without a clue how to reel it back in. So I make a skeletal outline which consists of the beginning, the middle, and the end - which I always leave open to change. This way, my characters get to evolve organically, but I won’t end up estranged from the plot. 

Tell me about your favorite scene in your novel(s). 
In The Angel Alejandro, my latest release, I’d probably say the show-down between town matriarch Rosemary Hess, and pet store owner, Bart Aberdeen. The terrible things she did to him with that sensible red pump were pretty entertaining. Another of my favorite scenes is the closing one. I didn’t see it coming until I wrote it and wasn’t anticipating that plot twist. It’s always fun to be surprised - and it’s always great when your own ending exhilarates you. 

Can you tell us a little about your writing philosophy? 
I think it’s important to write the stories your characters want you to write. I was warned early on that I should never let my characters control the plot - that if they weren’t kept on a short leash, they’d compromise the story. Worst advice ever. Let them compromise the story, I say. They know it better than you do, and they’ll make magic if you let them. Just have a basic idea of where you want to go.
As for my business philosophy, I don’t believe in taking feedback from anyone but your characters, your editors, and your publisher. Reviews written for readers by readers are not the author’s business, and I don’t recommend reading them. It's a reader’s right to say anything they want to about your material, and authors need to understand that, respect that, and stay out of it. Nothing is more unseemly or unprofessional than an author (or an author’s friend, spouse, son, daughter, etc.) fighting with a negative reviewer on a public forum. If you want to know how your books are doing, that’s what sales records are for - but if you have time to argue with readers, it’s time to refocus and start the next book. 

Have you ever tried writing in any other genres? 
I don’t think about genre when I’m writing - I just tell the story and let the powers that be decide how to package and market it. If I thought too much in terms of genre, I’d end up worrying about expectations and requirements and ultimately shoot myself in the foot. Or the face. 

Do you have any interesting writing-related anecdotes to share? 
Between solo novels and collaborations with Tamara Thorne, I’m balancing at least three storylines at any given time. Not too long ago, I’d written something that just wasn’t working. I couldn’t figure out why it felt so … off. The character just didn’t seem to be doing what I wanted her to do - she seemed terribly out of place. So I went back to do some serious re-reading to try and figure it out. It was then that I realized the problem: I was in the wrong book! That poor character must have been terrified having been thrust into that strange new world without any warning ...

Do you listen to music as you write? 
I know a lot of writers who do, but when I’ve tried, it ends up distracting me. I find myself tangling up the words on the radio and the ones in my head. But if the music is instrumental, and it suits the mood of the scene I’m working on, it doesn’t bother me.

On the behalf of my readers, I would like to thank you Alistair for your time with us. 

About the author  ~

Alistair Cross

Connect with Alistair

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Alistair Cross' debut novel, The Crimson Corset, a vampiric tale of terror and seduction, was an immediate bestseller earning praise from veteran vampire-lit author, Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, and New York Times bestseller, Jay Bonansinga, author of The Walking Dead series.  In 2012, Alistair joined forces with international bestseller, Tamara Thorne, and as Thorne & Cross, they write - among other things - the successful Gothic series, The Ravencrest Saga.  Their debut collaboration, The Cliffhouse Haunting, reached the bestseller’s list in its first week of release.  They are currently at work on their next solo novels and a new collaborative project.

In 2014, Alistair and Tamara began the radio show, Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE!, which has featured such guests as Charlaine Harris of the Southern Vampire Mysteries and basis of the HBO series True Blood, Jeff Lindsay, author of the Dexter novels, Jay Bonansinga of The Walking Dead series, Laurell K. Hamilton of the Anita Blake novels, Peter Atkins, screenwriter of HELLRAISER 2, 3, and 4, worldwide bestseller V.C. Andrews, and New York Times best sellers Preston & Child, Christopher Rice, and Christopher Moore.

✒ ✒ ✒  Also by Alistair Cross  ✒ ✒ ✒

The Angel Alejandro
The Crimson Corset
The Book of Strange Persuasions
The Cliffhouse Haunting with Tamara Thorne
The Ghosts of Ravencrest with Tamara Thorne
The Witches of Ravencrest with Tamara Thorne
Mother with Tamara Thorne

What people are saying  ~

“The Crimson Corset” is a good read. There is a colorful cast of characters, a clever plot, and an intricate structure … there are surprises and jumps and starts, sex and death, beauty and gore, something for everyone … if you’re looking for set-up and payoff, this novel will not disappoint.”

Tamara Thorne, international bestselling author of HAUNTED and MOONFALL
“This drop-deadly tale of seduction and terror will leave you begging to be fanged … ”

Q.L. Pearce, bestselling author of SCARY STORIES FOR SLEEP-OVERS
“I couldn’t put this book down. It’s got more hooks than a day boat out of San Pedro Harbor!” 

Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, author of the SAINT-GERMAIN CYCLE
“Alistair Cross’ new novel THE CRIMSON CORSET … is taut and elegantly written taking us into the realms where the erotic and the horrific meet. Reminiscent of the work of Sheridan Le Fanu (CARMILLA, UNCLE SILAS) in its hothouse, almost Victorian intensity, it tells a multi-leveled story of misalliance and mixed motives. The language is darkly lyrical, and the tale is compelling. Read it; you'll be glad you did.” 

Jay Bonansinga, New York Times Bestselling author of THE WALKING DEAD: INVASION and LUCID
“Put Bram Stoker in a giant cocktail shaker, add a pinch of Laurell K. Hamilton, a shot of John Carpenter, and a healthy jigger of absinthe, and you’ll end up with Alistair Cross’s modern Gothic chiller, “The Crimson Corset” - a deliciously terrifying tale that will sink its teeth into you from page one.”

Andrew Neiderman, author of The Devil's Advocate and the V.C. Andrews novels
“A great combination of strong characters that remind me of my V.C. Andrews characters, wonderful creepy twists, and a plot that will recall Mommie Dearest in an original take that shocks and delights at the same time. This is a full blown psychological thriller worth the investment of time and money.”

Kevin O’Brien, New York Times Bestselling Author
"While “binge-reading” the clever, shocking, deliciously creepy MOTHER by Tamara Thorne and Alistair Cross (amid gasps, laughing out loud and muttering “Oh, my God, no…”), it dawned on me that these two should be writing for AMERICAN HORROR STORY. The authors offer up a fun, juicy, gripping thriller that’s nearly impossible to put down. As I kept turning the pages, I was reminded of MISERY, ROSEMARY’S BABY, PEYTON PLACE, PSYCHO and several other classics. But this is an original—as is the main character, Priscilla “Prissy” Martin, the mother of them all. Her perfect, poised façade masks an ugly, twisted, utterly evil woman—a character you’ll never forget. I think we found a spouse for Hannibal Lecter! And I think you’ll find MOTHER a fast-paced, delirious, heart-pounding thrill-ride." 

A Reader's Review Blog 
"I was open-mouthed as the plot unfolded. This deeply psychological novel contains truly appalling revelations, and is certainly not for the faint of heart. If you are looking for an unforgettable and heart-stopping read that explores the depths of human depravity then this is the book for you." 

Sylvia Shults, author of Hunting Demons: A True Story of the Dark Side of the Supernatural
"Ghostly secrets abound. Tortured spirits wander the hallways. Star-crossed lovers walk the paths of time. Servants connive, and the heroine faces an uncertain future …Run, do not walk, to get The Ghosts of Ravencrest. Tamara Thorne and Alistair Cross take the reader on a delicious journey of twisted family secrets, troubled dreams, and barely-concealed passions. Wrap yourself in the silken robe of this story and escape to Ravencrest." 

Mark Hein, critic and editor at
“Thorne & Cross keep the surprises coming as swiftly as a master magician ...The characters quickly become people we know, but then wish perhaps we didn't ... The laughter of recognition rides like bubbles on the surface of a deep-flowing darkness ...There's something cold in here.”

✒ ✒ ✒ ✒ ✒ ✒


The Angel Alejandro 

Berlin Malcom, Publicity Manager

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