I have been a Tamara Thorne fan for a long time. When I read Haunted, I went out and got everything I could find by her. So when I was offered a chance to not only review The Ghosts Of Ravencrest, but to also interview Tamara Thorne and Alastair Cross I was ecstatic. I haven't read any of Alistair Cross's books but after reading both The Ghosts Of Ravenscrest and Five Nights In A Haunted Cabin on their blog, I'll be finding his other books as soon as possible. You can find my review HERE. I have to say in advance that this was one of the funniest interviews I've had the pleasure to do. Some of the answers had me laughing out loud. Now on with the interview,,,,,
1. Tell me a little about yourself.
Tamara: I was born loving ghost stories and began writing them in the primary grades. I never stopped. I enjoy walking in the woods with my mountain lion, Mr. Spunky.
Alistair: I grew up in the midst of the great horror boom of the 1980s and began writing as soon as I saw my first slasher film. I like long walks on the beach with women in black capes and sharp teeth.
2. What do you like to do when you’re not writing? Hobbies?
Alistair: Reading and photography. I also like to stalk other authors and persuade them - by means neither fair nor foul but always nefarious - to be our guests on our weekly talk show, Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE!
Tamara: Exploring southwestern ghost towns, smelling dead stuff at the ocean, watching really awful movies with Alistair, and sculpting little voodoo dolls out of road apples to sell on Etsy.
3. How long have you been writing?
Alistair: Since I was about 8 years old! Though I suspect it all began in utero … Though the nurses couldn’t be sure, they thought they saw the words “Once Upon a Time” written in my mother’s uterus. I would like to take this opportunity to formally apologize to the staff for stabbing them with my pen. I was young and terrified.
Tamara: Like Alistair, I was eight and while he stabbed the nurses at birth, I was slightly more refined and began stabbing them in kindergarten. I wrote horror, urban fantasy and satire. Nothing ever changes. Nurses beware!
4. Who or what inspired you to be a writer?
Tamara: I was simply born needing to write. My mother read to me from day one, the fantastical stuff she enjoyed, and that absolutely was an influence. Around age seven, I picked up my first Ray Bradbury story and he’s probably my biggest mentor and influence. I sucked him up. I also read every last Writer’s Digest Yearbook (dating back to the 1930s) in the library and every other book on how to write. And I read and wrote incessantly.
Alistair: The first thing I recall that made me want to write was Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Not the movie, but the book. Not that there’s anything wrong with the movie or anything. Or Winona Ryder. I kind of like her, actually. I miss her. Nevermind Baby Jane, what happened to Winona Ryder?
5. What do you find most challenging and enjoyable as an author?
Tamara: The challenge is to write a good story and the enjoyment comes both in the process of writing and in the completion of a piece. I must say that my enjoyment of the process is even more tremendous now that Alistair and I collaborate. We have a blast.
A lot of writers seem to think that writing should be a painful process. I don’t like to do anything that’s painful. It can be aggravating and difficult at certain times, but it is never painful. You must do what you love - and writing is what I love.
Alistair: I disagree with Tamara. I like to be in pain when I write. Sharp, agonizing, biting pain.
Tamara: That’s why I make him wear his nipple clamps. Every. Single. Day.
Alistair: (What Tamara doesn’t realize is that I enjoy every minute of it.)
Tamara: (Oh, I realize it. I can hear it in his whimpers.)
Alistair: But seriously, the joy of writing is in the creation of a world you want to live in. The challenge of being a writer, for me, is having to be creative and write when I’d rather watch dirty video clips and cute kitties on YouTube.
6. What books do you enjoy in your free time?
Alistair: I read all over the place. I will read - and enjoy considerably - the dirty limericks on a public bathroom stall if that’s what’s in front of me. But I am a huge fan of Daphne Du Maurier, Stephen King, and of course, Tamara Thorne. For real. She’s a great inspiration to me.
Tamara: Aw. I read all over the genres, but prefer books that have an element of the fantastic in them, particularly hints of ghosts. I enjoy a good horror novel, but I love a good historical or thriller, too. I just read Anne Rivers Siddons’ Fox’s Earth, King’s Revival, and Keith Donohue's The Boy who Drew Monsters. Now I’m starting Peyton Place because Alistair told me to.
Alistair: It’s true. I did. She needs to know these things …
Tamara: And he said he’d hold his breath if I didn’t read it. I don’t want a dead collaborator, so there it is ...
7. Who is your favorite author/book and why?
Tamara: That’s difficult to answer. Maybe my favorite all-time book - because it makes me nostalgic for my 1930s boyhood - is Ray Bradbury’s Dandelion Wine. I adore Shirley Jackson’s Haunting of Hill House, too. I read and reread them both as a child and they had tremendous influence on my writing. For that matter, so did MAD Magazine and Little Women.
Alistair: Hmm. I have a lot of favorites, but one that simply refuses to leave my mind is Violin by Anne Rice. It is the most beautifully horrific novel I’ve ever read. It changed me as a person and made me want to be a better writer.
8. Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Alistair: It’s the same old advice, but yes: Always write left to right and never take advice from authors.
Tamara: Write what you love; don’t write for money. And what Alistair said. It’s absolutely vital to write left to right in our culture.
9. Can you tell us about any of your new work?
T & A: We are currently working hard on our upcoming psychological thriller, known only as “M” for now. It will be out this winter and we’re having a blast. It’s all about the horrors you live with and know intimately - because home is where the horror really is. After that, we will be collaborating on the sequel to Tamara Thorne’s vampire novel, Candle Bay - and some of Alistair’s Crimson Corset vampires will be coming along on this road-trip of a book. We have a third book in mind for 2016, as well, and we’ll be releasing installments of The Witches of Ravencrest throughout the year.
In addition to our collaborations, we both expect to release new solo novels before 2016 is out.
10. Do you have a release date for part two of The Ravencrest Saga? (Dying to know!)
T & A: We will begin the first installment of The Witches of Ravencrest (Volume 2 of the Ravencrest Saga) in November. Subsequent installments, which vary between 10 and 15,000 words each, will be released about every six weeks. The Witches of Ravencrest is a continuation of Belinda Moorland’s adventures in Ravencrest Manor. We will be exploring more of Ravencrest’s past as well as digging deeper into some of the characters - living and dead - who reside within its very haunted walls. It will likely take about a year to release all the installments and then we will release it as a full volume - and start the next one.
11. Since you write some fantastic ghost stories (I loved this one as well as Haunted) do you believe in ghosties and ghoulies or other things that go bump in the night? If so have you had any experiences?
Tamara: I was visited by my mother at the time of her death - and because I was up late on deadline and tired, I thought I hallucinated seeing her waving at me. She said something - one syllable, but there was no sound. I promptly got up and took a Ritalin. An hour later, my sister called with the news. She’d died when I saw her - and all my life she’d promised to say “boo” as a goodbye when she left. She kept her promise.
But I don’t classify a deathbed visit with ghosts and hauntings - it happens too often and falls under the category of telepathy. As for spirits, I’ve been on many investigations and while I’ve seen some inexplicable things - maybe eight to ten anomalies that I haven’t found a solid explanation for - I’ve never experienced anything I would call intelligent. I’ve seen poltergeists in action, witnessed (with other people) two apparitions - you wouldn’t know they weren’t normal people if they hadn’t vanished, and seen and heard (or smelled) a number of lesser anomalies. I do think that residual hauntings exist - they’re no different from perfume on a hanky in your great-grandmother’s attic trunk - and they’re not spirits, though they can be delightful and, sometimes, frightening. Some of these ghost stories are in my blog, including the two scariest, and you can read more, including the one about my up close and personal encounter with a bathroom ghost here.
Alistair: I do believe in some things that aren’t currently explainable, yes, but I also believe that the laws of science are not malleable. I’m sure we don’t know all there is to know about science, and I think the answers to a lot of our questions reside in those unknown discoveries. I believe in some kind of life after death because that’s what makes the most sense to me, but I’ve never been able to wrap my mind around theology, and I’m not interested in religion. I have had a handful of inexplicable experiences, but nothing that I would say has proven to me beyond doubt that the dead linger on Earth and pay spectral visits to their living loved ones. My minor ‘paranormal’ experiences have all seemed very circumstantial, accidental even - I’ve never been visited by a familiar entity, so I can’t say I believe in that. And to be honest, I’m okay not knowing. I’m neither frightened nor comforted by the idea of spirits and ongoing life - I simply prefer the mystery.
On that note, Tamara and I spent five nights investigating an allegedly haunted cabin in California’s Gold Country a couple of years ago. We chronicled our adventures - some of which were most certainly unexplainable - which can be read on our blog at Five Nights in a Haunted Cabin.
12. What question do you wish someone would ask and what is the answer?
Alistair: I wish someone would ask me what happened to Winona Ryder … and I wish I could answer it.
Tamara: I wish people would ask me why the severed hand in Hush, Hush Sweet Charlotte terrified me so much. The answer is, it was a REAL severed hand. I just found that out recently. Definitely not kid friendly.
Tamara Thorne's first novel was published in 1991. Since then she has written many more, including international bestsellers Haunted, Bad Things, Moonfall, and The Sorority. Tamara's interest in writing is lifelong, as is her fascination with the paranormal, occult, mythology and folklore. She's been an avid ghost story collector and writer all her life.
Tamara's novels range from straight-out ghost stories to tales of witchcraft, conspiracies, UFOs, elemental forces, and vampires. No matter what topic she chooses, chances are you'll find a ghost or two lurking in the background.
Today, she and her frequent collaborator, Alistair Cross, share their worlds and continue to write about ghosts and other mysterious forces. Whether collaborating or writing solo, there is no shortage of humor, sex, blood, and spookiness.
Tamara also conducts real-life investigations of anomalous phenomena and has seen a number of odd things over the last twenty years. As an open-minded skeptic, she's spoken to many paranormal groups and has appeared on the television show, Ghost Adventures. Most recently, she and Alistair Cross went on a five-day investigation to an allegedly haunted cabin in California's Gold Country - an adventure that inspired The Cliffhouse Haunting. She has also been featured on many radio programs and in various newspapers on the topics of haunted places and local lore. A journalist by training, she occasionally writes about ghosts and hauntings for a syndicate of southern California newspapers, but her first love is, and has always been, telling ghost stories to make people scream. . . and laugh.
Tamara and Alistair co-host Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE! every Thursday night on Blog Talk Radio.
You can also visit Tamara on Twitter, Facebook, or at http://www.tamarathorne.com/.
Alistair Cross was born in the western United States and began penning his own stories by the age of eight. First published by Damnation Books in 2012, Alistair has since published several more novels. In 2012, he joined forces with international bestselling author, Tamara Thorne, and as Thorne & Cross, they write the successful Gothic series, The Ghosts of Ravencrest. Their newest novel, The Cliffhouse Haunting, is an Amazon Best Seller, and this summer also sees the release of Alistair’s solo novel, The Crimson Corset.
In 2014, Alistair and Tamara began the internet radio show, Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE! Haunted Nights LIVE! premiered to great acclaim and has featured such guests as Chelsea Quinn Yarbro of the Saint-Germain vampire series, Charlaine Harris of the Southern Vampire Mysteries and basis of the HBO series True Blood, Jeff Lindsay, author of the Dexter novels that inspired the hit television series, Jay Bonansinga of the Walking Dead series, Laurell K. Hamilton of the Anita Blake Vampire Hunter novels, and New York Times best sellers Christopher Rice, Jonathan Maberry, and Christopher Moore.
Alistair is currently at work on several projects including a solo novel and a new Thorne & Cross collaboration. His influences include the works of Stephen King, Dean Koontz, John Saul, Ira Levin, and William Peter Blatty.
You can also visit Alistair on Twitter, Facebook, or at http://www.alistaircross.com/