1) Thank you for taking the time to speak with me. Tell me a little bit about yourself and how you became an author.
From a young age, I was fascinated by mysticism; I wanted to know where I came from and where I was going to go when I died. It took getting quite a bit older before I learned to mellow out enough to really appreciate what was right here in front of me – life itself. But the part of me that’s obsessed with the unknown has never gone away and writing became my portal to that place. With writing – and especially writing in genres with elements of supernatural and horror – I get to ask hard questions about life and death, love and hate, right and wrong, about God and Satan and their respective representatives. I get to explore the unknown and imagine what might be out there. For me, that’s the appeal, that’s the reason I do it.
2) What was your inspiration for The Angel Alejandro?
It all started when I saw a guy walking down the street near my house. He wore a pristine suit and shiny black shoes, and had slicked-back black hair and dark glasses. He smoked from a long black cigarette holder and there was something so compelling about him that I turned to the person I was with at the time and said, “There goes my next bad guy.”
I named him Gremory Jones and I made him into a salesman of sin who comes to the small town of Prominence after catching wind that an angel has fallen to earth there.
As for the character of Alejandro, he goes back much further when, many years ago, I had an idea about an angel who loses his memory after crash-landing to earth. I was fascinated by Alejandro because he doesn’t know what he is, doesn’t know who called him forth, and has no idea what he’s capable of. But the story sat for a long time unwritten and untampered with – I couldn’t move it forward until I figured out the missing piece. And that missing piece turned out to be the sin salesman, Gremory Jones. Sometimes it works like that.
3) What theme would you hope the reader would take away from your novel?
Be careful what you wish for – you just might get it.
4) If you could sit down and speak with any of the characters from this book, who would it be and what would you ask them?
That’s a tough question because each of the characters in this book has his or her own story to tell – and most of the characters are in equal parts victims and aggressors. The people in the town of Prominence don’t necessarily realize what they’re getting into when they deal with Gremory Jones. They think they’re trading something inconsequential for something that will make them happy – which Mr. Jones all too eagerly helps convince them of – but it always turns out to be something with a hook and a catch, which I think is relevant to real life. We all want something, and when we finally get it, we’re all a little disillusioned, so I think it would be particularly interesting to talk to some of the characters whose lives were utterly destroyed by their exchange with Mr. Jones.
5) What is the bigger motivation when writing your stories: developing a sound plot or fleshing out well developed and complex characters? I ask because the characters in this story were incredible and really drew me into the story.
I’m very much a character-driven writer, which means it’s all about the characters. I sometimes have an idea of the plot before I decide who the players are, but more often, I have a fully-developed character who wants his or her own story. Either way, nothing moves forward until I have the characters down.
If the plot comes first, then I have to find the right characters for the story which turns into something that reminds me a little of actors auditioning for a role. If the characters come first, then it’s a matter of developing the plot around them. But either way, the characters really have to work for me if the story is going to work.
In my experience, even the most compelling plot loses its juice without characters strong enough to hold it together. And this means all the characters (except the fillers, of course) need to be strong – not just the hero or heroine. Readers want someone to root for, yes, but they want more than that. They also want someone to be frightened of, to swoon over, to love, to hate, to laugh with, and to cry over.
6) What social media tool would you say has helped you build and grow your readership?
Twitter and Facebook have both been great, as well as the horror-themed radio show, Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE! which I co-host with my dear friend and collaborator, Tamara Thorne. Because we’ve interviewed so many amazing and prolific authors, my work has been exposed to a lot of people I couldn’t otherwise reach.
7) What advice would you give to an aspiring authors out there looking to build their own readership?
Each writer’s journey is unique and there is no one answer that applies to all except this: Write. Write and write some more. As for building a readership, my best advice is to write damn good books. People will find them and they’ll tell their friends on and on it goes. But first, you have to know your craft and that comes more from good old-fashioned practice than anything else. You’ll never please everyone all the time, but you can – and must – always release a strong, quality product.
8) Any plans for future books involving these characters? Any new books on the horizon for you?
Because the fictional universe Tamara Thorne and I have developed crosses over from one book to another, there will probably always be some involvement from older characters in newer works. Though I haven’t found the right place for them yet, I’m looking forward to doing more with the electricians, Shawn Barzetti and Bobby Beckstead, who escaped the horrors of The Angel Alejandro by the skin of their skin-tight jeans. Shawn and Bobby made me laugh and I think they’ll be great comic relief when some future book gets a little too dark. Gremory Jones will have his own series in the near future.
As for new books, I recently released a new novel, Sleep Savannah Sleep, which is a paranormal murder mystery set in a town not too far from Prominence. Also, Tamara Thorne and I are working on a vampire novel called Darling Girls, which revisits her book Candle Bay, and my previous novel, The Crimson Corset.
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.
Visit Alistair at: http://www.alistaircross.com