Thursday, October 19, 2017

Interview with mystery author Alistair Cross

Hello Readers, my special guest today is author Alistair Cross. We’re chatting about his paranormal murder mystery, Sleep, Savannah, Sleep.

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, was a bestseller. 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.

Welcome, Alistair. Please tell us about your current release.
My latest novel is a paranormal murder mystery called Sleep, Savannah, Sleep. It takes place in the spooky little fictional town of Shadow Springs, California, where my protagonist, recently widowed Jason Crandall, has recently moved with hopes of starting a new life for himself and his two children. No sooner does he begin meeting the townspeople than Savannah Sturgess, a beautiful young socialite, goes missing. Jason becomes entangled in the unsolved crime when he’s plagued by mysterious, terrifying visions and dreams that lead him (and the police) to Savannah’s murdered corpse. And when Jason falls under suspicion, he realizes the only way to clear his name is to uncover the identity of Savannah’s killer himself. But what he doesn’t know is that the truth is more terrifying than he - or anyone in Shadow Springs - could have ever imagined.
What inspired you to write this book?
I’d just finished my novel, The Angel Alejandro, and late one night, as I lay awake pondering the possibilities for the next story, I asked myself this question: What’s the absolute worst thing I could possibly do to my new protagonist … and from that seed, Sleep, Savannah, Sleep was born…

Excerpt from Sleep, Savannah, Sleep:
No longer tired, Jason slipped outside onto the veranda and sat on the porch swing. He sighed, taking in the stars, which were startlingly bright in comparison to L.A., and inhaled the night’s scents - honeysuckle, roses, and night-blooming jasmine. Those smells put him at ease and for the first time since Julia’s death, he felt like maybe he and the kids would be okay, after all. Maybe.

A light caught his attention at the house next door - not at Dottie’s, but at Tabitha Cooper’s. It seemed strange that a blind woman would keep a light on, but then again, perhaps she did it to keep prowlers away. Or maybe Coop’s visiting.

Jason stood and walked toward the rose-choked split-rail fence and stared. So far, he’d seen no sign of Coop’s ailing grandmother and he was curious about her. In the window, through gauzy white curtains, he could see her hazy form, rocking back in forth in the chair that Dottie said she never left. As he stared, the rocking slowed, then stopped. She turned her head to face him.

Jason’s mouth went instantly dry. He froze, unnerved, thinking he should duck and run, but he couldn’t make his feet move. Her hand, bent and clawed with age, reached out and pulled the curtain aside.

Jason’s breath snagged when he saw her clearly. She seemed to be without sex - no breasts, no swell of the hips - just a skeleton covered by thinly-stretched ashen skin, matted white hair standing on end, a gaunt wasted face, and sunken fog-white eyes that - though obviously blind - stared right at him. They were the eyes of a dead person.

She brought both hands to the glass, where her fingers ticked like spider’s legs, and her mouth - a toothless, lipless maw - opened and closed, opened and closed. She wasn’t speaking, he realized, just gumming the air mindlessly. There was something sinister about it - something lunatic.
Trying to convince himself she couldn’t see him, Jason backed away, nearly tripping on a tangle of vines as he hurried back inside, locking the door behind him.

From the safety of the house, he felt like a fool. First, he’d let Travis Delgado push him around and now he was running from a harmless, blind old woman. He smiled at the thought, but the smile felt cold. There really was something spooky about Tabitha Cooper; it was as if she’d been looking right at him. Or rather, right through him. He shivered, recalling Dottie’s words for the second time that day: ‘The children in town call her a witch, and I don’t blame them one bit.’

Jason didn’t blame them, either.

What exciting story are you working on next?
My collaborator, Tamara Thorne, and I are working on a vampire novel called Darling Girls, which is a sequel to her novel Candle Bay, as well as a continuation of my novel, The Crimson Corset. Darling Girls takes our vampires up to the mysterious little town of Eternity, California, where a massive vampire celebration called Biting Man is taking place. In Darling Girls, we learn about the ties between Tamara’s vampiric family and mine. And when a self-deluded young vampire hunter shows up, the, uh, ahem, stakes are raised.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When my assigned Halloween story so offended my third-grade teacher that she refused to continue reading it aloud. I knew then and there it was my mission in life to either scare people or piss them off. And with horror-writing, I get to do both!

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I write full-time, eight to ten hours a day, five - and often - six days a week. As writers, we are no longer just storytellers. We’re also marketers, publicists, and business managers … so yeah, it’s a full-time gig and then some.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I do a considerable portion of my writing with my cat, Pawpurrazzi, perched on my shoulder like a great black bird of prey … but one that purrs. And has whiskers.   

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Until writing came along - and sometimes even now - I’m torn between wanting to be a fireman and a mermaid.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
Reading is sexy. Rock on.

Thanks for being here today!

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