Regular readers of this blog know that Caroline, my BFF and co-blogger, and I love to read a variety of genres. Both of us have a penchant for dark and psychological reads. Since reading The Ghosts of Ravencrest (an erotic Gothic horror par excellence), by Tamara Thorne and Alistair Cross I have become a HUGE fan of their work.
Either writing alone or in partnership their work includes the paranormal, horror and dark, psychological thrillers such as their current collaboration Mother. Their writing, which can be downright S-C-A-R-Y, is often shocking and infused with dark humour, but is always a rollicking good read and I love the devilish plot twists these authors inflict on their readers!
I was delighted at the chance of interviewing this writing duo and I hope that you find their candid responses to my questions as fascinating as I did. Tina ❤
1. Can you share with our readers a little about yourselves and your writing careers?
Tamara and Alistair both began writing around age eight – both loved ghost stories most of all – and both wanted to be writers when they grew up. Tamara has been in print since 1991 and Alistair since 2012.
2. I understand that you have been collaborating since 2012, and have written, amongst other works, The Cliffhouse Haunting and The Ghosts of Ravencrest, the first book in The Ravenscrest Saga. How did you begin working together and what special elements do you each think the other brings to the partnership that distinguishes the works of Thorne and Cross?
Alistair became a fan of Tamara’s work in the 90s, and when social media sites like Facebook came along and made it easy to connect to others, he looked her up. Having just been published for the first time, Alistair was doing author interviews on his blog as a way of meeting other writers. Tamara was one of the first people he asked. We became fast friends and were brainstorming ideas for new books before we’d even conceived of the idea to officially write together. It flowed very naturally – it was simply meant to be. We soon found that our writing style – as well as our personal and professional ethics – was so remarkably similar that continuing on the path together was simply the instinctual thing to do. Alistair brings an intense work ethic to our virtual office while Tamara brings jolly good fun. We need each other for balance. And hard work. And fun
3. Why do you think there is such an appetite for horror and psychological thrillers amongst readers? What is it within the human psyche that craves such stories?
People crave (safe) danger. Danger fascinates us, but things like scary movies, horror novels, and roller coasters are a way of facing our fears without risking our lives. These things force us to explore those uncharted parts of ourselves which can teach us proper response in the face of real danger. It’s a survival mechanism. Avoidance of fear is fatal, and the human psyche understands this. Thus, it draws us toward the things that frighten us. Plus, scary books are just awesome.
4. The flipside of this – why do you both enjoy writing in these genres?
Horror is a release from the everyday. Neither of us watches the news – real horror is too depressing. But fictional horror and suspense provides a rush akin to amusement park thrill rides. Fiction, by its very nature is escapist and, to us, there’s nothing better than a toe-curler to escape reality for a little while. We are especially partial to suspense and supernatural horror because ghosts, vampires, and assorted elementals are literary equivalents to a carnival where we can find lots of thrills and chills. In Mother, our heroine, Claire, starts with a turn on the merry-go-round, then soon ends up on a scary roller coaster and finally enters the dark ride, which is too frightening to be fun for her.
5. You must have both been asked this question in many forms before – but do you base any elements of your characters on anyone you know or are they purely fuelled by your imaginations?
Every character is imaginary; it would be no fun for us to plunk down living people in our books! That said, we are the products of our lives and experiences. Everything around us, from sights, sounds, and tastes, to hoarders, psychopaths and ghosts are inspired by lifetimes of observation and experience.
- 6. Would you both like to tell us something about your latest release, Mother?
Mother is a psychological thriller in the vein of Psycho and Misery, with a pinch of Peyton Place and a dash of Gaslight. It concerns a young, expectant couple, Claire and Jason Holbrook, who’ve fallen on hard times, forcing them to move in with Claire’s estranged mother. Claire vowed to have no contact with the overbearing woman ever again, but Mother is thrilled at the prospect of a grandchild. At Mother’s, Claire and Jason begin experiencing things that make them determined to leave immediately … but when a cruel twist of fate makes leaving impossible, Claire becomes obsessed with her mother’s motives. Fantasy and fact blur together as her compulsion consumes her, and Jason wonders who the villain really is. When a cache of macabre family secrets is uncovered, Claire and Jason find the answers they’re looking for – answers that will change them forever … assuming anyone can get out of Mother’s house alive.
7. Did you have to carry out any research into the issues explored in Mother, before writing the novel?
All books require research. Mother’s research was relatively easy compared to other books. It consisted primarily of a brush-up on sociopathic and narcissistic behaviors. We also researched topics like hoarding, epilepsy, flight schools, Catholic funerals, and ugly furniture from the 1970s and 80s. When we write books that include science or a good deal real history that must be woven into our fictional characters’ lives, as in our Ravencrest novels, the research is far more intensive. All fiction must have its roots in reality to keep it believable.
8. I am delighted to learn that you host a horror themed internet radio show, Thorne and Cross Haunted Nights LIVE! What have been some of your favourite moments on the show to date?
There have been many great moments. We loved hearing The Walking Dead author Jay Bonansinga tell us his thoughts on why zombies are so popular, and Charlaine Harris’ stories about about being recognized in public were hilarious. We were laughing out loud when Christopher Rice told us what it was like for him to read his mom’s (Anne Rice) Sleeping Beauty series. Chet Williamson’s reading from his novel Psycho: Sanitarium gave us chills. Chatting about twisted family dynamics with Andrew Neiderman, who also authors the V.C. Andrews book series, was fascinating, and talking with Laurell K. Hamilton about vampires was a lot of fun. Those are just a few of our favorite moments.
9. Are there any collaborative projects in the pipeline that you are able to share?
As always, we’re working on the continuing Ravencrest Saga and have just released the second serialized installment titled, Dead of the Night. We are also working on a sequel to Tamara’s vampire novel, Candle Bay, which also serves as a continuation of Alistair’s The Crimson Corset. The Darling family of Candle Bay made appearances in Corset and that set the course for Candle Bay II – we decided we had to get our vamps together in a serious way. As soon as Candle Bay’s sequel is complete, we will begin work on the second book in our Trilogy of Terror. Mother was the first. The second is unrelated to Mother as far as characters are concerned, though we wouldn’t be surprised to see Father Andy show up, assuming we set the next book in Snapdragon, where Mother takes place. The Trilogy of Terror is made up of three psychological suspense novels that are more about human monsters than supernatural ones. On the side, we’re also both knee-deep in a pair of solo novels.
10. Have you a message to readers, or to writers who are thinking of branching out into penning horror/psychological thrillers?
We always say that the most important thing is to write what you love. If you love what you’ve written, others will too. Also, writing requires dedication and discipline. It’s easy to tell yourself you don’t have time to write, but if you want to be a serious writer, you have to create time.