13 Questions with Alistair Cross

Hello, my Freaky Darlings!

Let me reintroduce you to Alistair Cross.

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.

You probably don’t remember, but he hijacked my blog a few years ago, and if you’re interested you can read what he had to say back then here.

But back to today, I asked him 13 questions and here’s what he had to say for himself.

  • What drives you to write?

Writing is the only activity I know of that utilizes every detail of who I am, so only when I’m doing it do I feel like I’m operating at full capacity. And that’s a great feeling. That’s when I feel most alive. So, that’s what drives me to do it – the feeling of being fully alive. 

  • What attracted you to writing horror?

I seem to have just been born with a taste for the macabre. For as long as I can remember, I’ve loved anything mysterious and dark. If it’s a little otherworldly and a little bit spooky, I’m immediately drawn in and want to know more. My only explanation for this is that I was raised in an old, spooky little town that looked – and felt – very haunted to me. Growing up in that environment is undoubtedly largely responsible for the dark corners of my mind. 

As for writing horror, I never thought about genre when I began my career. I still don’t. I write the stories that are ready to be told and if the world wants to call them horror, that’s okay with me. Call it whatever you want, just let me write. 

  • Who are your favorite horror writers?

I’ve had great love affairs with the books of everyone from Anne Rice to R.L. Stine, and hundreds of others within and outside of the horror genre. I’m a huge fan of Ken Follett’s plot prowess, Charles Dickens’ character development, Anya Seton’s historical command, Oscar Wilde’s beautiful description skills, Tamara Thorne’s atmosphere savvy, Stephen King’s creative dexterity, and Agatha Christie’s unrivaled ability to keep secrets that never feel like cheap shots at the end of the book. 

In short, I’m a little bit in love with a lot of writers – and horror authors aren’t my only heroes. I read vastly and voraciously, and to list all of my favorite authors would take a very, very long time!   

  • Which horror novels do you think every horror fan should read?

Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Anne Rivers Siddons’ The House Next Door. Daphne du Marier’s Rebecca. Jeffrey Konvitz’s The Sentinel. Stephen King’s It. 

  • Ebooks or paperback?

I feel like the only person in the whole world who doesn’t care one way or the other. If it’s a good story, it’s a good story, and I’d read it off the side of an abandoned building if that’s where it happened to be graffitied. I don’t understand the debate between eBook and physical books, but it’s always been a pretty hot topic. My guess is that it stems from a need to pick sides, to choose one thing over another. People are funny about that. They take comfort in feeling a part of a group, but to me, this is one of those cases where you can have it both ways. I love holding real books in my hand. But I also love finding something I can’t wait to read and being able to download it and start it right now. I’m looking for a good story. It’s format doesn’t interest me. 

  • What would make you pick up a novel by a new author?

The first thing I notice is the cover. Does it ask me questions? Is it professional? If the answer to both those questions is yes, I read the opening paragraph, and if it’s written in a voice I want to follow, I won’t put the book down until I finish the final page.   

  • Who are your favorite fictional characters?

I have a few. Lucy Westenra from Dracula is fun because she eats children, Madame DeFarge from a Tale of Two Cities both fascinates and terrifies me, and the Space Cowboy in Stephen King’s Gerald’s Game. I’ve always had a fondness for villains – and the creepier they are, the better.

  • Do you plot your stories or does it just unfold before your eyes?

I’m always trying to strike the perfect balance between how much to plot and how much to let the story unfold organically. On one hand, no matter how much I plot, the characters end up taking me in an entirely unplanned direction anyway, and on the other hand, if I don’t have some idea where I’m going, I can write myself into a corner. The key – for me – is having an ending (or a couple possible endings) in mind, and otherwise allowing the story to tell itself on its own terms. 

  • Do your characters take on a life of their own and do things you didn’t plan?

They absolutely take over and (for the most part) I love them for it. I feel like they write the story more than I do – and that makes my job a lot easier and a lot more fun. 

  • Do you listen to music when you write or do you need silence?

As much as I wished I didn’t, I need silence. I can’t hear my characters talking to me with the radio or on or while someone is speaking. I’ve tried and tried to learn how to ignore distracting sounds but it never works. Unfortunately, my creativity demands a noise-free environment. 

  • Do you do a lot of research for your stories?

Yes – I think research is a pivotal part of the process. I’ve been to all kinds of places and done all kinds of things for the sake of research. For my latest book, The Black Wasp, I took a trip to Santa Cruz and the surrounding area because that’s where a large part of the story takes place. The Black Wasp is book three in the Vampires of Crimson Cove series, and all the books are mainly set in Crimson Cove. It’s a fictional town, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have to know the area. 

I’m a firm believer in hands-on research as often as possible. When you really know a thing, it shows – and that’s important because, conversely, when you don’t know a thing, that shows, too – and it’s embarrassing.

  • Facebook or Twitter?

While both have their place, I tend to spend more time on Facebook, simply because it feels more accessible to me. That said, my favorite place to spend time is at my blog: alistaircross.wordpress.com 

  • What really pisses you off about writing?

Honestly, the only thing that pisses me off about writing is how long it takes. I have too many ideas and not enough time to write them.

Alistair’s latest release, The Black Wasp is out on the 13th of June!

Something is coming.

Cade Colter is dealing with a group of fanatical vampire killers even as he grieves the death of his girlfriend at the fangs of his own brother. His life is in turmoil and just when it seems things couldn’t get worse a new evil comes to town.

The Woman in Black is back.

Now, something else roams the streets of Crimson Cove – something far deadlier than any vampire. She comes with the fog, she comes with the night, and she’s spreading a lethal poison that slowly rots her victims from the inside out … and she’s looking for Cade.

Sooner or later, you’ll see her, too.

First comes the deadly low hum of a thousand black wasps …

Then a feeling of dread so deep and cold that you dare not breathe …

A figure, a woman dressed in old-fashioned widow’s weeds, appears before you …

Don’t Scream.

She wants to know your terror. She wants to taste your pain.

On a personal note, I have read some of Alistair’s work and love it. I can’t wait to get my grubby little paws on The Black Wasp. You can find out more about Alistair and his writing on his website.

Happy reading and as always, thank you for being a Freaky Darling!

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