Tuesday, April 18, 2017

My Interview with Alistair Cross, author of The Angel Alejandro

Hello, everyone. I'm pleased to have interviewed another wonderful author, Alistair Cross, the creator of The Angel Alejandro!

1.      Tell us about yourself.
I was born in a little town in central Utah and I started writing stories when I was about eight years old. I got serious about it in my twenties, and by the time I was in my thirties, I began submitting manuscripts to agents and publishers. In 2012, when I was 34, I got published, and later that year, I met one of my literary heroes, bestselling author, Tamara Thorne, whose books I’d been reading since my late teens.

Tamara and I became fast friends - it was as if we’d known each other our whole lives - and one day, she asked me how I’d feel about writing a book with her. I was overjoyed by the idea and quickly found that this was an ideal partnership. Our first novel together was The Cliffhouse Haunting, in 2014. We’ve released several subsequent collaborations and we also began Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE!, a weekly radio talk show dedicated to horror, where we interview authors, crime buffs, paranormal investigators, forensics experts, and anyone else with experience in the field.

Tamara and I write books together but we also write books on our own. At any given time, we’re working on a minimum of three books between solos and collaborations. In 2015, I released my first solo, a vampire novel titled The Crimson Corset, which was a bestseller. I’m very proud of that.

2.      Growing up, was there a book you read that made you desire to write for a living?
The first book I remember reading that made me want to write was a children’s book by Edith Boutelle called The Ghost That Goofed. It was about a ghost named Belinda who wants to scare a new family away from the house she haunts. This book is reason I suggested Belinda as a name for our heroine in the Thorne & Cross novel The Ghosts of Ravencrest.  

3.      Did you have another ideal career besides writing?
No. There really was no Plan B for me, which is probably the reason I’ve pushed so hard for my writing. I think I had two choices: I could either work a nine-to-five job and just get by until I retired, or I could write. There isn’t anything else I’m passionate about enough to put this much work into.

4.      When did you first start writing?
I first remember trying to develop stories when I was about eight years old.

5.      What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
I like to drive around without destination, radio blaring. Reading. I also like petting the cat. Thinking about writing. I try to take Sundays off so I can just watch movies and veg out.  

6.      What does your process look like? Any necessary rituals to bring the words about?
My only writing ritual is to sit down every day and write. I treat it like a job because it is a job, and that means no phone calls or other disruptions. I write 8 - 10 hours a day, on Skype and in the Cloud with my collaborator, Tamara Thorne. We devote X amount of hours to each project every day, and after hours, I often find myself back at it. Lately, I’ve been up till four, five, and even six in the morning writing.

7.      Has real life and writing life ever merged?
To some degree, I suppose it’s impossible for writing and real life not to intersect at some point - but I never set out to write anything that’s biographical in any way. To me, fiction is a lot more fun than real life, probably because fiction makes sense - or at least it should make sense. Reality is a little different - sometimes things happen for no apparent reason.

8.      What kind of research do you do and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
I usually research for several weeks before I begin a book, and that research continues on an as-needed basis until the book’s completion. For The Angel Alejandro, I did research on a multitude of topics including rock collecting, guitar playing, and exotic dancing.

9.      Where do you come up with your ideas?
So far, I’ve never had a shortage of ideas and always have several on the back burner to start when I finish with my current project. As for where they come from, the truth is, I don’t really know. I get ideas from everywhere, all the time.

10.  Tell us a little about The Angel Alejandro. How did it come about?
The Angel Alejandro is about an angel on a mission to save a woman’s life. He ends up with amnesia after crash-landing to earth during a severe storm. As he tries to uncover his lost identity, his latent supernatural powers begin tipping the natural balance, drawing the attention of dark entities who want to harvest his soul - and wreak havoc among the townspeople while they’re at it.

Like most book ideas, this one came in sections - some of which predated the writing by a couple of years and others that were formed as the writing went along. But there was one defining moment that brought it together: A man walking down the street near my house.

He looked like he’d stepped right out of 1880s London, and the moment I saw him, I knew he belonged in this book. His slicked-back hair, shiny black briefcase, and long ebony cigarette holder sparked my imagination and by the end of that day, Gremory Jones - the main antagonist in The Angel Alejandro - was fully formed and ready to tell me his dark, sordid story.  

11.  What was the process like for this book?
I wrote it alongside several other projects so this book took me about a year and a half, all told.

12.  What was the hardest part of writing The Angel Alejandro?
The hardest part about this book was that it had so many characters. I wanted to explore the entire town and see how it was being affected by the presence of an angel and some demons, and this required that I get into the minds and the lives of multiple characters. It was a lot of fun but it was challenging at times, too.

13.  What was one of the most surprising things you learned in the creation of The Angel Alejandro?
That most strippers genuinely enjoy their jobs.

14.  Do you have a favorite chapter and would you like to share a sample?
My favorite scenes were with Beverly Simon (a psychic who begins having vision about the coming destruction) because her scenes allowed me to get very dark and creepy, which I love. Here is a piece from one of her visions:

Beverly decided to ignore the text, resolving that she was done with men for good. Or at least for a while. Trevor was the latest in a long string of bad relationships. She’d do just fine on her own.
She set the phone down and began drying her hair. Staring at herself in the mirror, she thought a new hairstyle was in order. She didn’t fuss much over things like dyes and manicures, but maybe an appointment at Vang’s Bangs for a new look would keep the spinstery feelings at bay. I’m only thirty-four, she told herself. It’s too soon to feel like an old maid. A moderately young maid, maybe, but not an old one. Her reflection smiled back at her.

Then the smile crashed. Images flashed - images so powerful, so brutal, that she clutched the counter for balance. Her towel dropped to the floor and the room spun.

Beverly sees his shadow. He stands in a darkened alleyway, walking stick in hand.
He turns and faces Beverly and she hears bells jingling. At first, they’re distant, but as he nears, their volume rises, rises. He’s close now, right in front of her.

New images:

The ice-white glint of wet teeth as his mouth curls into a smile - a smile that isn’t sane. Blood gushes out from between those straight, white posts, like water bursting through narrow cracks of a dam.

A cloven hoof hits the earth in a cloud of dust as lightning flashes and thunder cracks.
The bells ring out terrible, cacophonous sounds so loud Beverly feels them in the back of her throat, in her teeth.

Disembodied laughter - deranged, lunatic giggling - swells around her, competing with the thunder and the roar of the bells.

The man stands before her now, his face shrouded in black shadow beneath a tall hat. He raises his head toward the light, revealing a face that is as handsome as it is terrible. It is the kind of face that will drive her mad if she looks too long, and yet she cannot look away.

He removes his hat and gives her a small, graceful bow. When he uprights himself, she sees that he is nude from the waist up. His bloodstained lips part and a forked tongue spills from his mouth like a satiny, wet strip of unspooling red ribbon. The tongue drops impossibly low, moving in strange jerky motions, leaving glistening trails on his naked torso as it explores the ridges of his muscled body like an animal scenting something. Then the tongue pauses, as if catching a new scent. It perks up, seeming to sniff the air around it. Both forks pointing at her, it stops.
And then it shoots straight for Beverly’s throat.

Her own scream shocked her. She teetered against the bathroom counter, catching her balance, staring at the tiled floor. Covered in cold, clammy sweat, she raised her head and stared at her own reflection in the mirror. Hers was the face of a hunted animal - her eyes haunted and wide, her lips white with terror, her skin drained of color.

The mirror cracked, dividing her face into two disparate halves.
Beverly Simon slipped to floor, cradled her knees, and wept.

15.  Where can we find you?
The best place to find me and my many links is at my website.

16.  Where can we get The Angel Alejandro?
It’s available in ebook and on its way in paperback at Amazon.

About The Author

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, reached the bestseller’s list in its first week of release. 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 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.


Amazon Buy Link: The Angel Alejandro

Author Info:

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Guest Post: Three most romantic settings by Hannah Fielding, author of Legacy

Three of the most romantic settings by Hannah Fielding

Beautiful, interesting places inspire my muse. I write my books at desks with a view: looking over the green garden in Kent and the blue Mediterranean in France (or, indeed, in the garden when the weather permits). But in order to find the inspiration for book concept, I need more than a view – I need to really experience the place in which I am situating my love story.
Today I’m sharing with you three places to which I have traveled that, I think, are among the most romantic settings in the world – perfect backdrops for passionate, evocative romance novels.

Venice, Italy
Venice was my main inspiration for my novel The Echoes of Love. I first visited the city as a young child. Then, as now, I was wide-eyed and enchanted by the beauty of the city. I distinctly remember standing in the main square, the Piazza St Marco, gazing up at the stunning architecture of Saint Mark’s Basilica and feeling I had somehow entered another world – a fairy-tale world. Here’s an extract describing that same square from the point of view of my heroine, Venetia:  


The square was very nearly empty. The sun was setting and an intense pink blush in an explosive sky was lighting up the Campanile, the Doge’s Palace, and all the wonderful group of buildings surrounding the Piazza San Marco. They stood splendidly in that curious half-light, with the last rays of the day slanting in on their rounded sides, and making them cast huge brown shadows on each other. The Grand Canal had the dramatic, blinding brilliance of a purple mirror. Far over it, the golden orb seemed to set in a flood of vaporous colour which appeared to surge up from the land and become reflected in the glimmering pools created by the broken shadows of the building. Waves of burning light spread all over the western sky and the boats, the palazzi, and the water were dyed a deep rose by the glow.

The Rift Valley, Kenya
I can think of few places I have visited on earth that have such breath-taking natural beauty. It was while watching a sunrise over the valley that I decided I must set my first romance novel in Kenya – the colours were spectacular. Here is Kenya at its wildest and most awe-inspiring. In my novel Burning Embers I sent the characters up in a hot-air balloon so that they could take in the full scene:
Photo by Ross Merritt at Stock Sandwich

Gradually the mist had lifted, and the sun burst forth, a ball of fire radiating the sky with unnaturally incandescent hues. Coral was reminded of the strident brushwork and wild colors of the Fauvist paintings that filled her mother’s gallery, which Coral had always loved. The scene was now set for the show to begin: the drama in which the broad, breath-taking landscapes of Africa were the stage and the animals the actors.
They see blue waters and verdant vegetation and amid them the most wonderful array of animals: elephants, antelopes, flamingos, pelicans, impalas, hippos, buffalo, zebras, giraffes.

The Alhambra, Granada, Spain

My books Indiscretion, Masquerade and Legacy are set in Andalucía – tales of love, treachery, deceit and revenge set against the fierce and blazing Spanish land, which is governed by savage passions and cruel rules.
I especially love Granada in Andalucía. In Spanish Granada means pomegranate, a luscious round red fruit that appears on the city’s coat of arms.  That is just how one of the most magnificent heritage cities seems – with a little stretch of the imagination – as you approach it at dusk by a twisting road down the mountains.
Granada is home to the Alhambra, the amalgam of fabulous Arabesque palaces and fortress complex built by the Moors on a steep wooded hill during the mid-fourteenth century. Shadowed in the evening light, rising upon its reddish crag as though poised on a vast stage dominating the city, with its green peaked parks, its pink marble spires and domes guarded by the snow-capped peaks of the Sierra Nevada, the Arabian Night’s palace is startling in its beauty and in its impact on the imagination.
There, within the silent walls, where the ghosts of emirs, slaves and beautiful princesses still move through the corridors with silent footsteps; there, in the wonderful and mystery-laden atmosphere, dwells much of the romance of an exotic age.

A troubled young journalist finds her loyalties tested when love and desire unearth dark secrets from the past.
Spring, 2010. When Luna Ward, a science journalist from New York, travels halfway across the world to work undercover at an alternative health clinic in Cadiz, her ordered life is thrown into turmoil.

The doctor she is to investigate, the controversial Rodrigo Rueda de Calderon, is not what she expected. With his wild gypsy looks and devilish sense of humour, he is intent upon drawing her to him. But how can she surrender to a passion that threatens all reason; and how could he ever learn to trust her when he discovers her true identity? Then Luna finds that Ruy is carrying a corrosive secret of his own…

Luna’s native Spanish blood begins to fire in this land of exotic legends, flamboyant gypsies and seductive flamenco guitars, as dazzling Cadiz weaves its own magic on her heart. Can Luna and Ruy’s love survive their families’ legacy of feuding and tragedy, and rise like the phoenix from the ashes of the past?
Legacy is a story of truth, dreams and desire. But in a world of secrets you need to be careful what you wish for…

You can find her work, Legacy, on Amazon. You can also find her on her Website, Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads.  

About Hannah:

Hannah Fielding is an incurable romantic. The seeds for her writing career were sown in early childhood, spent in Egypt, when she came to an agreement with her governess Zula: for each fairy story Zula told, Hannah would invent and relate one of her own. Years later – following a degree in French literature, several years of travelling in Europe, falling in love with an Englishman, the arrival of two beautiful children and a career in property development – Hannah decided after so many years of yearning to write that the time was now. 

Today, she lives the dream: writing full time at her homes in Kent, England, and the South of France, where she dreams up romances overlooking breath-taking views of the Mediterranean.

Hannah is a multi-award-winning novelist, and to date she has published five novels: Burning Embers, ‘romance like Hollywood used to make’, set in Kenya; The Echoes of Love, ‘an epic love story that is beautifully told’ set in Italy; and the Andalusian Nights Trilogy Indiscretion, Masquerade and Legacy – her fieriest novels yet, set in sunny, sultry Spain.

Thank you, Hannah, and thank you all for tuning in! - Jessica