Tell us about yourself and your latest book.
I’ve been writing my entire life, but was first published in 2012. Later that year, I met horror author Tamara Thorne, whom I’ve been a fan of since the 90s and, without meaning to, we began brainstorming ideas. We decided it would be fun to write a short story together. That story turned into a novel. And then another novel. We have since penned the Amazon bestseller, The Cliffhouse Haunting, as well as the successful Gothic serial, The Ghosts of Ravencrest, which is currently being formatted into a full-length novel. Now, we are working on the next collaboration, a psychological thriller that proves that strangers aren’t the ones to be wary of - that the real monsters are the people we look at every day.
My latest novel, The Crimson Corset, was released in August of this year and has received good reviews and strong readership - for which I am thrilled and grateful. It has also reached Amazon's bestseller list. The Crimson Corset takes place in the fictional tourist-centric town of Crimson Cove, where the night is no one’s friend - where, after sunset, the vampires of the village awaken to satisfy their appetites. On one edge of town is the notorious nightclub, The Crimson Corset, run by undead proprietor, Gretchen VanTreese, where patrons can slake their darkest thirsts. On the other side of town is Eudemonia, a peaceful health spa and retreat, owned and managed by Michael Ward - also undead - who, unlike Gretchen, believes in the peaceful coexistence of humans and vampires.
At the center of Crimson Cove is newcomer, Cade Colter - a human with a rare genetic trait that will break the uneasy centuries-old truce between Gretchen’s side and Michael’s. As Gretchen’s attempts are stymied by Michael and his Loyals, she realizes she’s going to have to take a subtler, more cunning course if she wants to get her hands on - and her fangs into -Cade. So, she begins laying a sophisticated trap … a trap that will put everyone around Cade in danger.
The Crimson Corset is the first in the Vampires of Crimson Cove series. A few of my vampires will be featured in the sequel to Tamara Thorne’s vampire novel, Candle Bay, which we’ll be writing together, and once this and some other projects are completed, I will be returning to Crimson Cove to find out if the dust of unholy and immortal battles ever really settles.
Tell us about your main character.
Cade Colter is a seemingly ordinary guy with some very unique traits he knows nothing about. On the surface, Cade is pragmatic, easygoing, and level headed. When I thrust him into this new world of monsters and waking nightmares, I was curious to see how he’d respond - and I was quite worried about him in the beginning. Fortunately, he proved himself adaptable, and I realized that beneath his mellow exterior, Cade has the grit and gallantry to do what must be done … assuming he can get past the eerily beautiful woman in the crimson corset who has developed a mysterious - and ominous - interest in him.
What kind of vampires can readers expect from The Crimson Corset?
I love vampires and wanted to maintain their fundamental integrity, so while there’s sexiness, there’s also much menace. I wanted to write an all-encompassing novel that reached readers on many different levels, and I feel good about the outcome. Readers can expect glamour and gore, beauty and terror, laughter and woe, and fresh ideas with a strong respect for tradition.
Could you tell us something about the other characters in The Crimson Corset?
The characters are my favorite aspect of this novel - some are good, some are bad, but all of them are very real to me. I grew attached to many of them. Each of them has a fully-developed backstory - even the ones who didn’t get much stage time in this book, and I look forward to delving more deeply into their stories with the subsequent Crimson Cove books.
Which character is your favorite?
Her name is Jazminka. Jazminka is Gretchen’s second-in-command, and she’s one of my favorite characters in this book. Born in Yugoslavia in the 1700s, Jazminka has had plenty of time to perfect her skills. She can drain a grown man of blood in six seconds or less without spilling a single drop, and she uses weapons of only the most fashionable kind to do it. From her steel-tipped stiletto heels, to the flowing chiffon of her glove-sleeves that serve as garottes, Jazminka is a woman who dresses to kill. Literally.
Do your characters take on a life of their own and do things you didn’t plan?
Absolutely. Intensive plotting has proven to be an exercise in futility for me as my characters rarely follow the directions I’ve given them. But this is where 90% of the magic comes from. I like the surprises and have learned to trust the characters. I don’t know if this is the case for all writers but I’m better off letting the characters express themselves on their own terms, so long as they don’t wander too far from the plot.
In The Crimson Corset, the character of Gretchen VanTreese was originally cast as a throw-away - her sole purpose being to demonstrate the ways in which my vampires could meet their ends. But she took over, re-shaped the story, and made it all about her … which turned out to be a good thing. If I’d insisted she remain in place, I would have ended up with a much weaker story.
Among your other books, do you have a favorite hero or heroine?
I have a few from each book. In The Ghosts of Ravencrest, Belinda Moorland is endlessly interesting, and her phantom lover, Thomas Manning, is always a lot of fun. In The Cliffhouse Haunting, I get a particular kick out of Constance Welling and Dr. Siechert, although I’m not sure either of those two would qualify as heroes.
In 2014, you began an internet radio show, Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE! which premiered to great acclaim. Can you tell us a little more about the show?
Haunted Nights LIVE! is a weekly, hour-long horror and paranormal-themed show that Tamara Thorne and I host. It has allowed me to meet some of the most legendary writers of this era. In addition to fiction authors, we also talk to occasional paranormal experts, and even psychics. Our guests have included Christopher Rice, Laurell K. Hamilton, Jeff Lindsay, Jay Bonansinga, Charlaine Harris, Christopher Moore, and Jonathan Maberry. We talk about writing, the publishing industry, and anything else that strikes our interest. Anyone who’s interested in the show can visit our Facebook page.
What do you see yourself writing next?
Aside from the next Thorne & Cross collaboration, I’m in the beginnings of the next solo novel which, although not related to The Crimson Corset, will feature some familiar faces. While writing, I’m often introduced to what I call “surprise characters.” These are characters that weren’t part of the original plan. Usually, these surprise characters further the story and end up being great additions … other times, they go nowhere and either need to be cut out entirely, or moved to a different story.
In The Crimson Corset, there is one character in particular, Deputy Nick Grayson, who really seemed to have a strong story behind him - more than I could explore in The Crimson Corset. I didn’t want to leave him behind so as I wrapped up The Crimson Corset, I gave him a job offer in a neighboring fictional town, where I will be able to tell his story. While this new book has no vampires - it focuses on angels and demons - it will be a lot of good, gruesome fun and I’m very excited about it.
Can you share a little of your current work with us?
“She was petite, no more than five feet tall, with hair that flowed like shining white silk nearly to her waist. The emerald shade of her eyes was a striking contrast to her crimson lips and a black lace collar necklace studded with amethyst pendants emphasized the stark whiteness of her skin. For a long moment she was as still as a mannequin, then her lips spread into a smile. Her canines were odd: too white and too long. The woman before him was, in equal parts, hideous and beautiful, like two sides of the same coin, and Cade was torn in opposing directions; he couldn’t decide whether he wanted to throw her down and ravish her, or kick her out and slam the door behind her.
She leaned in closer, her strange beautiful face just inches from his own. His heart pounded hard behind his ribs and his throat went instantly dry.”
Where can readers find out more about you?
Everything you need to know - and then some - is available at my website at alistaircross.com