The Special Page

Tamara Thorne is back after leaving horror for a decade

...and she is now teamed with Alistair Cross for a new series


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Tamara Thorne was a best-selling author between 1991 and 2002, and now she's BAACK...with co-writer Alistair Cross for the Ghosts of Ravencrest Series


An interview with Tamara and Alistair

Q. Both of you have extensive writing careers in your own right. Now you have banded together to co-create your new gothic-ghost series of books The Ghosts of Ravencrest. Had you known each other prior to this venture? What made you want to inter-mingle your skills?

A. We knew each other only briefly before we plunged into collaboration. It was rare and wonderful synchronicity that put us each in the right place at the right time. Our styles and sensibilities were so similar, as were our drama-hating, joke-loving personalities, that we were brainstorming together before we even talked about professional collaboration. We’re so similar that we often forget who wrote what. It wasn’t so much that we wanted to intermingle; neither of us had any desire to collaborate - been there, done that - it was that we were absolutely driven to collaborate. We haven’t looked back since.

Q. Tamara, I remember your first novel, Haunted, published in 1995. You were quite successful in the horror genre in the late 1990s and the early 2000s because your writing was eerie, suspenseful, and truly scary. You have also used the nom de plume Chris Curry during this time. Had you taken a hiatus from writing, and if so, what made you decide to re-emerge?

A.I used Chris Curry from 1991 until I switched publishers and dropped the Curry penname in 1995, when Haunted was published under Tamara Thorne.  My hiatus had to do with my husband buying a small business. For a long time it kept me too busy to write, but I needed to write and not long after we worked things out so that I could go back to it, I met Alistair Cross. Synchronicity rules.

Q. Alistair, you are more of a newcomer on the scene, although you have successfully published Beautiful Monster at Damnation Books. Can you tell us something about yourself?

A. I’ve been writing most of my life and have always been fascinated with horror. I think that horror brings out the truth of human nature, and demands answers to serious questions about morality. Horror is the most moral of fiction and exploring the depths of the human psyche is something I love to do. Finding the tipping point for each character, in terms of moral outrage or immoral actions, is satisfying to me.

Q. Please tell us about your new Ravencrest series.

A. The Ghosts of Ravencrest was borne of our mutual love of Gothic Romance. We’ve both long wanted to write in this genre, and when we began, we agreed we wanted to take it to a slightly darker level, with plenty of paranormal action, as well as mysteries concerning living characters. We also wanted a chance to write some historical fiction, and we get to do that when we explore the past of the Manning family. We’ve been influenced by everything from Rebecca to Dark Shadows and Wuthering Heights. We simply love the genre and intend to continue this series long after the first story arc is a complete volume. There are a lot of ghosts at Ravencrest, and we want to spend some time with all of them.

Q. How easy or difficult is it to co-write? How do you go about this process?

A. It moves like butter. We love the same things and share the same vision, and our egos are such that we can create and produce without conflict. We literally work together, too. Each morning, we get on Skype and open our Cloud. We brainstorm and edit and write “live” together. We call it our “virtual office” because we sit at our desks and have lunch together, hang around the “water cooler” for chit-chat during breaks, and work full 8-10 hour days, every day but Sunday. When we are writing separately, we still do it “together” in our office. We are good for each other in a multitude of ways.

Q. These days, competition among writers is extremely fierce. How have you made the Ravencrest series stand apart?

A.We want to pay homage to Gothic in its pure form. We have created an entire history for Ravencrest, a mansion that was relocated here from England in the 1800s, and brought along its old British ghosts to mingle with the American ones. We are able to drop back in history to tell backstories. We’ve done this once so far, with Christmas Spirits, which is a novella that can be read alone if desired. We intend to do more.

Q. So of course I have to ask this one of you both, what is your attraction to the horror genre?

Several reasons. Horror is like a roller coaster ride. It’s safe, but full of thrills and scares. Also, horror - the kind we like - is full of mysteries, from literal headscratchers to matters of life… and beyond. We both love pondering questions that have no answers; for us, that is the heart of our genre.

Q. Tamara, since you have been successfully writing and publishing novels for decades, what is your opinion on the changes in the publishing world in comparison to before and now?

A. Today, professional writers are more easily able to make a living from writing because they have the reins, if they want them. Everything isn’t dependent on the ever-shrinking Big Five. It takes a lot of money to run a publishing house and that’s reflected in low pay overall, in most cases. Today, even after the expenses of hiring your own cover artist and copy editor, you actually can earn a living wage if you do it right. There is a learning curve and the more you learn, the more you earn.

Q. Alistair, how difficult was it for someone new to break into the publishing world?

A. It took me several years to get published, but it’s different for every writer; it depends on what approach the author takes. To be traditionally published is incredibly tough, but it’s equally as tough to acquire an audience if you go another route. Publishing is not an easy business to “break into” by any standards, and there isn’t room for hobbyists and non-professionals. To acquire any kind of relevance, an author must produce quality material at a steady rate. Another very important aspect is marketing, which is every bit as essential to success as a strong product. Marketing is expensive and time-consuming, and it requires effort and good judgment. Finally, I think it’s important to network - to make connections with people. No one succeeds alone. Be a professional. Don’t burn bridges and be aware that this is a business and there’s no place in business for backbiting, badmouthing, bridge burning, and impulsive behavior.

Q. Is it still helpful to acquire a literary agent, or is the need for one passé?

A. Alistair and I continue to retain an agent who deals with the traditional publishers for us. She prefers to stay out of the ebook end of things and that makes her perfect for us.  I don’t think an agent is terribly necessary unless you’re dealing with paper rights, particularly with big publishers. The times, they are a’changing.

Q. The Horror Zine readers are always interested in writing and publishing tips. Do you have any advice to give new writers?

A.Write what you love; if you don’t, it will show, and not in a good way. Don’t think about money; think about your story. Finally, and this is vital, write every day. Every single day. If you think you don’t have time, think again and find a spare twenty minutes and just write.  Otherwise, stop talking about it.













About Tamara Thorne

Tamara Thorne3

Tamara Thorne's first novel was published in 1991, and since then she has written many more, including international bestsellers Haunted, Bad Things, Moonfall, and The Sorority. Her novel, Thunder Road, hit bookstores in September, 2014. Learn more about her here.

About Alistair Cross

Alistair Cross

Alistair Cross grew up on horror novels and scary movies, and by the age of eight, began writing his own stories. In 2012, he was published by Damnation Books. under the pseudonym Jared S. Anderson. Find out more about him here.

About the Ravencrest Series

In collaboration, Thorne and Cross are currently writing The Ghosts of Ravencrest, a sexy serial novel full of dark shadows, ghosts, witches, and mysteries. The Ghosts of Ravencrest: Darker Shadows contains the first three installments. The fourth installment is The Ghosts of Ravencrest: Christmas Spirits and the fifth is Night Moves. The next installment will appear in April.  Their first horror novel, The Cliffhouse Haunting, will appear in March, and another, Grandma’s Rack,will come later this year, along with Alistair’s debut solo novel.

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