Friday, October 4, 2019

New interview with novelist Alistair Cross

Writer extraordinaire Alistair Cross is back! Today we’re chatting about his new urban fantasy horror, The Silver Dagger (Book Two in The Vampires of Crimson Cove Series).

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 Anne Rice of The Vampire Chronicles, 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 back to Reviews and Interviews, Alistair. Please tell us about your newest release.
The Silver Dagger, is Book 2 in The Vampires of Crimson Cove series and picks up where the first book, The Crimson Corset, leaves off.

Life in Crimson Cove has been good to the Colter Brothers since Gretchen VanTreese was staked and her horde of vampires scattered. But when she rises from the grave, the brothers are torn apart, their lives - and the peace between them - shattered. Meanwhile, a serial killer is stalking the little mountain town, leaving a trail of blood that leads to a truth Sheriff Ethan Hunter doesn’t want to face. The streets are no longer safe, nor are the forested paths, for a new and unknowable evil has come to Crimson Cove and everyone - vampire and human alike - must come together in order to survive.

What inspired you to write this book?
When I finished The Crimson Corset, I knew I’d return to Crimson Cove one day, but I had a few other stories that were demanding to be written first - I believe very firmly in writing the story that’s calling to you. I finished two other books (The Angel Alejandro and Sleep Savannah Sleep) and then began The Silver Dagger. So, it wasn’t so much about inspiration as much as it was simply time to go back and see what happened next. 

Excerpt from The Silver Dagger:
Crimson Cove’s sheriff, Ethan Hunter, is relaxing waiting for his fiancĂ©e, who happens to be a mortician, to get home, when his nosy neighbor, Gladiola Gelding hammers on the door with needs of her own.

He opened the door. Mrs. Gelding didn’t wait to be invited in. She barged into Ethan’s living room, a tray of cookies in hand, her one-sided conversation trailing her like a loyal hound. “Can you believe this heat? And the humidity!” Mrs. Gelding dropped the tray on the coffee table then inflicted her bulk upon Ethan’s favorite chair. “I almost had a heat stroke in the kitchen baking those cookies for you!” Her beady eyes followed him. 
“Uh, thanks.” For a moment, he stood there - sitting seemed an act of surrender - but finally, defeated, Ethan eased himself onto the sofa. Mrs. Gelding was a steamroller, flattening folks into whatever shape most suited her, and after the day he’d had, Ethan didn’t have the energy to fight it. He asked, “How are you, Mrs. Gelding?” 
She wasted no time getting to the point. “Well, I can tell you I’d be a lot better if it weren’t for all these bear attacks!”
A greasy sliding feeling roiled through Ethan’s gut. 
“It’s all anyone is talking about at the Senior Hall, you know.” Mrs. Gelding’s piggy eyes sparkled with excitement. “I’ve never even heard of a bear attacking innocent people for no good reason. Never! I do hope you’ve figured something out.”
“We’re working on it.”
She sighed. “I suppose it’s not my place to tell you how to do your job, but you might consider letting the public know what you’re doing about this. We don’t feel safe!”
Ethan frowned. “I can’t talk about it at this point, but rest assured, we’re doing everything we can-”
“Well, I just don’t know if that’s going to be enough. The public deserves to know more.”
And what she meant, Ethan knew, was that she deserved to know more. There was nothing Gladiola Gelding loved so much as being the star of the Crimson Cove Senior Citizen Center on Bingo night, the woman to whom all gossipers flocked. 
Just then, Sheila’s headlights cut through the living room window. Mrs. Gelding prattled on, taking no notice even when Ethan’s fiancee entered the living room. 
As Mrs. Gelding blathered, Ethan and Sheila exchanged glances. His said, Help! And after a whimsical smile, Sheila’s said, I’ve got this. 
“Hello, Mrs. Gelding!” Sheila spoke a little too loudly, cutting the woman off as she perched on the sofa arm beside Ethan. 
“Oh, hello, dear.” It was but a small speed bump in Mrs. Gelding’s sermon and as she opened her mouth to continue, Sheila sighed loudly and looked at Ethan. 
“Boy, am I glad to be home.” She shook her head. “We had another groaner in the morgue tonight.”
Ethan suppressed a snort.
Mrs. Gelding blinked. “A … groaner?”
Sheila nodded. “Yep. A lot of people don’t know this, Mrs. Gelding, but sometimes, dead people make noises. It’s just air escaping the lungs, of course, but when you’re in that dark room alone with the corpses, it’s pretty alarming.” Her gaze settled on the tray of cookies. She took one, bit into it, and groaned, long and low. “Mmmm. These are excellent, Mrs. Gelding. Nothing gets the stench of formaldehyde out of my nose like your cookies. Thank you.” She pushed the tray toward the other woman. “You shouldn’t have made so many, though. Please, have one.” 
All color had retreated from Mrs. Gelding’s chubby cheeks. Scandalized, she shook her head. “No, thank you, dear. I have plenty at home.”
Ethan was barely able to suppress laughter when Sheila barreled on.
“And twitching, too. Usually in the smaller muscles.” She popped the rest of the cookie in her mouth. “I’ll never forget the first time I saw a twitcher.” Sheila grinned at Mrs. Gelding. “I thought for sure there’d been some mistake and the guy was still alive.” 
“Yes, well … ” said Mrs. Gelding. “It’s a dreadful business, I’m sure.”
“You get used to it,” said Sheila. Her gaze cut to Mrs. Gelding, going grave. “Well, some of it, anyway. Not only do they groan and twitch, but, sometimes-”
“Well.” Mrs. Gelding cleared her throat and hefted herself from the chair. “I suppose I’d better be off.”
Ethan got to his feet and walked her out. “Goodbye, Mrs. Gelding.” After closing the door, he broke into laughter. “We need to do that more often.”
“Works every time.” Sheila held an uneaten part of cookie to his lips and he bit into it.
“She does make damned good cookies, though.”

What’s the next writing project?
There are always several things going on at once. As far as my solo work, I jumped right into the next Crimson Cove book after finishing The Silver Dagger and am madly, deeply in love with it thus far.

Then there are the Thorne & Cross novels, which I write with my friend, collaborator, and Haunted Nights LIVE! co-host, Tamara Thorne. Our serialized gothic/horror, THE RAVENCREST SAGA, is ongoing and we’re closing in on the third full-length novel in that series – which we’re calling Exorcism. The other collaborative effort we’re working on is a psycho-thriller called Spite House, which takes place in the fictional town of Snapdragon, where our #1 bestseller, MOTHER, was set.

All three projects are running very smoothly – which of course, makes me very suspicious! But so far, so good!

What is your biggest challenge when writing a new book? (or the biggest challenge with this book)
The greatest challenge with this book was keeping my facts straight regarding what happened in the book before it. Also, it’s a balancing act. You have to give enough information for new readers, but not too much for those who read the first book. That’s always a challenge.

If your novels require research – please talk about the process. Do you do the research first and then write, while you’re writing, after the novel is complete and you need to fill in the gaps?
Research starts before the book is written and continues throughout on an as-needed basis - which is ongoing. I try to do physical research as often as possible because reading something or watching a video online rarely gives you all the little details you need to make the writing come to life.

For The Silver Dagger, I took a trip to Santa Cruz, California, where a part of the story is set. We traveled through the mountains where Crimson Cove is (if it were a real place, that is) and went to the ocean to absorb the sights, sounds, and feel of the locations.

What’s your writing space like? Do you have a particular spot to write where the muse is more active? Please tell us about it.
I write wherever I can, which is usually at my computer in the corner of my writing room. As for my muse, I’m sad to say that he is a fall-down, black-out, pee-your-pants drunk who can only very rarely be depended upon. 

I just write. If my muse shows up for work that day, great. If not, oh, well. I still write. It’s my job.

What authors do you enjoy reading within or outside of your genre?
I’ll read everything from horror to historical romance to the back of an aspirin bottle to profane poetry scribbled on the walls of a public bathroom stall with a magic marker - and I love it all. I’m a word person. Words turn me on. They just do - and if something is well-written, I’ll read it. Usually twice. 

Anything additional you want to share with the readers today?
Yes – thank you for reading. Keep up the great job!

Thank you for coming back to Reviews and Interviews!

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