Interview with Alistair Cross

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.

Alejandro Book Cover

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

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Interview with J.G. Dow

  1. Q) Tell us a little about yourself. How did you find yourself becoming an author?  I was born in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire which is in the North of England and have always lived in the area apart from a few years away at University in Manchester which was much fun! I started out with poetry and have written a few other things but never anything in the ‘chick-lit’ category and so this was a new venture for me. I really enjoyed the writing process and so went from there really. It’s quite addictive once you start writing and fulfilling as well. I also like Snooker, comedy and reading.
  2. Q) How did Jane of Manchester come to be written? What triggered the idea for this novel? The book came into being as I wanted to write something that might have a wide readership and also, I felt like the challenge of seeing if I could write something I felt wasn’t in my comfort zone. Time spent in Manchester years before suddenly seemed like an interesting place to set a novel and I knew I could write about real bars and restaurants and areas in the city to make it authentic.
  3. Q) What theme or message do you hope readers take away from this novel? I suppose the message would be to not panic in life that others are moving ahead of you and try and keep to your own path and not be swayed. It’s not always easy to do any of this and looking around at others and how they are moving forward can make you insecure as a person and anxious even but you can’t let that beat you. I think I make it clear that family and friends and a sense of community are important as well for a happy life. Try and relax and enjoy life but don’t expect things to always be rosy otherwise, disappointment will find you every time.
  4. Q) If you could sit and chat with anyone in this story, who would it be and what would you ask them?  Maybe I’d talk to Kate, Jane’s sister and ask her why she has to have a superior attitude the whole time! Some people do think themselves better than others, especially if they have a good job like she does- Junior Doctor- and begin to think others are beneath them in some way. They probably don’t mean to be like this but people like Kate do make others feel unworthy sometimes and so I would put her in her place somehow!
  5. Q) What social media site has been the most helpful building your readership?Facebook is helpful and I have a page- J.G. Dow@homeofjane- which I use to post links to interviews like this and reviews and people check them out and hopefully sometimes buy the book or read it in the kindle library. Bloggers like your good self are also very important not just for reviews but also for giving new authors exposure on their sites, so thanks for that! Twitter is okay but I’m not great at using in effectively.
  6. Q) When writing a story what is more important to you as an author: developing plot or creating characters? The most important initial thing is to have good characters. You can’t do much if the characters are flat and lifeless so you need to start there really and have a good feel for who they are and treat them very much as if they exist in the real world. Plot is obviously important but depends on the book you are writing and as mine is more character driven, the story is a bit looser than a thriller or some crime novel would be where plot possibly comes before characters slightly.
  7. Q) What advice would you give to aspiring authors? To aspiring authors I would say it is important to like writing and don’t see it so much as work, but something you like to do. I think if you enjoy it, that will come through in the content of the writing and if you find it a bit tedious, that will show as well.
  8. Q) What future projects are on the horizon for you? Any future installments in the Jane of Manchester story? I have just recently finished the sequel to Jane of Manchester and will be putting it on Amazon next week sometime probably and will post a link to it on my Facebook page once its out. It furthers Jane’s exploits in the city and hopefully broadens her tale quite considerably as she slowly emerges from her shell and moves forward a bit, albeit at her own pace! That’s it for now really, although I have an unfinished book from ages ago I might try to complete if I can remember where I was up to with it!

 

Jane of Manchester by J.G. Dow Review

An intimate look into the life of a twenty-something woman living in the U.K. shines brightly in the debut novel from author J.G. Dow, “Jane of
Manchester”. The story showcases Jane as she goes through her life, watching friends and family grow and excell in life, love and friendship while
she feels as if she isn’t growing at the same pace. Here is the official synopsis:

Jane’s life on the face of it isn’t really too bad…she has great friends like party girl Natasha who’s always up for a laugh and her close pal Polly, always there for her and of course her loving parents, but things could still be better…

Most people she knows are either married or have kids and she has been single a while now and wonders if a good man is ever to be encountered again. The single life is far from a quiet one for Jane however, as she is constantly getting dragged to night clubs and bars by Natasha and the crew as well as enduring a particularly boozy weekend away at the seaside!

Jane loves a lot about her life, disregarding rude plumbers in her flat and dealing with annoying superiors and a smug sister, but as a certain someone takes her eye, is everything about to change and get a whole lot more serious or is the single life determined to keep her captive a while longer yet…

This story is definitely more of a chill and relaxing read, taking the reader on a personal jouney of one young woman who must decide for herself
what kind of life she wants to lead. While so many young women are constantly pressured to get married and have children, the world is also evolving
and women are finally being recognized and respected for wanting a career before family. Jane feels caught in the middle of these two ideologies,
as her sister is excelling in her career and her friends are all getting married and having children, while Jane herself kind of just lives her
life. Working as a florist and enjoying simple nights out with friends or curling up with a good movie and a glass of wine, Jane begins to
wonder what more she wants out of life.

The story is well written, taking the reader into the everyday life of this woman and showcasing her interactions with friends, family and
strangers. Showcasing things like drunken bar crawls, sexual harrassment and more, this story does a marvelous job of delving into the everyday
life of a modern woman and showing the struggles women face when the world seems to be waiting for them to decide who they want to be. While
this book is not an edge of your seat thriller, it is a pleasant and wonderfully simple read that drama and coming of age story fans will fall in
love with. For a debut novel this was a wonderful read from author J.G.Dow and I look forward to seeing what he has in store for the future.
Be sure to pick up your copies of Jane of Manchester today!

Tales of Wonder Anthology from Inklings Press Review

(I was sent a free copy of the book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions and thoughts are my own.)

One of the most rewarding aspects of being a book blogger is working with people you know and trust, and getting the opportunity to witness writers
and authors working together on collective works. An example of this is the wonderfully written anthology Tales of Wonder from Inklings Press.
A collection of the fantastic genre Science Fantasy, these stories explore worlds that fuse science with magic in the most wonderful way possible.
Here is the synopsis:

Science Fantasy is the collision of science fiction and fantasy – where the impossible and the improbable come together. This is a universe of spaceships and sorcery, of mechanics and magic, where zeppelins soar through the ether and conjurers stalk dark tunnels with a ball of light in their fist. So cut loose, let slip the mooring ropes on your imagination, and join these nine authors as they set course for the horizon – and beyond.

Nine tales of science. Nine tales of fantasy. Nine tales to make you wonder.

These tales are perfect examples of taking the fantastic and larger than life aspects of both the fantasy and science fiction genres with the
real life human struggles we face on a daily basis. Stories of discovered love, surviving poverty, exploration of the unknown and the bonds
formed between a parent and their child is fused with tales of time travel, magic wielding assassins and space exploration gone wrong. The
stories are short yet sweet, as they bring to life deep and emotionally driven characters that connect to you on a personal level in the midst
of these amazing mythologies that the authors have created. The writing was excellent and each story flowed smoothly, keeping a fast yet even
pace that quickly set the tone and backstory in order to deliver the best possible story and shocking twist endings that people won’t necessarily
see coming.

Overall this was a wonderful read. Full of adventures, terror and heart, these tales will dazzle and amaze readers with their galaxy spanning
stories and passionate characters that speak to us all. The imagery used is incredibly vivid and paints a picture that one wants to see
translated to a television screen, leaving the reader breathless and hanging on the edge of their seat wanting more. If you haven’t yet please be
sure to pick up your copies of Tales of Wonder from Inklings Press today!

Rating: 10/10

Adultolescence by Gabbie Hanna Review

Poetry. It illuminates the mind and speaks from the heart. Poetry is the art of piercing the soul and opening oneself for all the world to see.
It allows poets to pour their hearts out and wear their emotions out on their sleeves, whether they be hopeful, romantic or sometimes sad. In
the book Adultolescene, poet Gabbie Hanna shows the world the humor she’s become known for and the depth and emotion that dwells within her, and
is brought to stunning life through over 200 pages of rich poetry and beautiful illustrations. Here is a synopsis:

From Teen Choice Award-nominated comedian and vlogger Gabbie Hanna, known on YouTube as The Gabbie Show, an astounding debut poetry collection that captures the essence of what it means to come of age in today’s world.

Full of confessional, whimsical, and darkly humorous observations about life, love, and the early years of adulthood, this collection of over 150 poems, each illustrated by Gabbie herself, will introduce you to the unique point of view of one of the internet’s most remarkable voices.

The popular online personality showcases her incredibly smart comedy skills with her heartfelt emotional tales of breakups, childhood and loss,
and the struggle many young adults face as the years between childhood and adulthood are bridged. The piercing emotions displayed in these poems
is beautiful, sometimes tragic and yet authentic in every way. Poems such as “Time”, which explores the connections we make with loved ones, or
“Poetry”, which shows the struggle to communicate the feelings one has for someone they love. One poem that I especially loved was a short one
called “Nap”, which in it’s simplicity spoke volumes of the feeling of loss that feels like it will never heal, and yet often is reawoken
unexpectedly.

These poems are a real work of art, and it’s refreshing in this digital age to see the art of poetry is not dead but thriving in our society.
The recent trend of online personalities writing their memoirs has been a popular trend that I have enjoyed, but this change of writing
style-wise is a fantastic approach to opening the readers minds and hearts and discusssing important topics in sometimes lighthearted and often
impactful ways. Whether you buy this book as a fan of Gabbie’s or as a true lover of poetry, this is a book everyone needs to have in their lives.
If you haven’t yet, be sure to pick up your copies of Adultolescence by Gabbie Hanna today!

Rating: 10/10

You Can Follow Gabbie At The Following Links!
https://www.youtube.com/user/TheGabbieShow
INSTAGRAM: @thegabbieshow
http://instagram.com/thegabbieshow
TWITTER: @thegabbieshow

The Angel Alejandro by Alistair Cross Review

Sin and mankind’s misconceptions about the world at large play major themes in the supernatural thriller The Angel Alejandro by Alistair Cross.
Exploring the world of tempations and the battle everyone faces within themselves when they give into their darkest desires, this incredible story
showcases the ruthlessness that can reside in the best of us, and the strength it takes to push temptation aside to do what is right. Here is
the synopsis:

The Angel Alejandro

A Man without a Past

After a near-fatal accident, Madison O’Riley is faced with an astonishing problem: What to do with the man who saved her life. Naive and heart-stoppingly handsome, he calls himself Alejandro … and he has no memory of his past. As they set out to recover his lost identity, Madison realizes he harbors deep – and otherworldly – secrets that will shatter her understanding of reality … secrets that may put her in grave danger.

The Devil in the Details

And now, there’s another stranger in town. Gremory Jones has something for everyone, and for a small price, he’s willing to make a deal. By day, he walks the streets of Prominence in top hat and trench coat, tempting the citizens with nefarious wares from his shiny black briefcase. By night, he and his legion of insatiable acolytes corrupt the locals at Club Mephistopheles, a den of unholy delights housed in an abandoned church.

The Battle has Begun …

The townspeople are changing in outrageous and appalling ways and it’s up to Madison – with the help of a psychic, a local priest, and the new chief of police – to help Alejandro unlock his forgotten powers before an unspeakable evil tears apart the fabric of existence … and costs them their very souls …

 

The first thing that grabbed me about this story was how similar the premise is to one of my favorite Stephen King stories, Needful Things. A
charming salesman brings chaos and destruction to a small town, and must be battled by the forces of good within that very town. However this story
is unique in that the overpowering threat of Gremory Jones and his followers is evenly matched by a powerful force for good working to help
those few souls who see the cracks forming amongst the townspeople. The mysteries of the town’s descent, the arrival of Gremory Jones and the
identity of Alejandro come colliding in the final moments of the book in a vicious and bloody battle between good and evil, and the small town of
Prominence threatens to be destroyed forever by its own greed and sin.

The story and characters were very well drawn out throughout this story. Combining the best elements of authors like Stephen King and Dean Koontz,
Alistair Cross showcases a unique talent for bringing to life the complex differences between people and showcase how supernatural or extraordinary
events are handled by ordinary people. The characters are very relateable and the story itself flows smoothly, setting up the arch slowly and then
zig-zagging at lightning speed as the action begins and the town begins to tear itself apart. The grammar was spot on and the imagery throughout
the story is vivid, painting a picture that can easily be played across the recesses of the mind like a movie on a projector screen.

Overall this was a wonderful read. It had twists, shocking deaths and a fantastic ending that leaves the story for some characters open and brings
a dramatic conclusion for others. This story highlights the incredible storytelling abilities of Alistair Cross, and he proves that he is one of
the growing voices in the supernatural thriller genre. Be sure to pick up your copies of The Angel Alejandro by Alistair Cross today!

Rating: 10/10

The Angel Alejandro: http://amzn.to/2fAGFUE

Kiss of Death by Robert Skuce Review

A brutal murder. A desperate detective. In the middle of a sinister cat and mouse game between a ruthless serial killer and the seasoned detective
desperate to put him away for good, a stalker with an unhealthy view on love may be the only person that can tip the scales in Robert Skuce’s
novel, Kiss of Death. This intense thriller explores the dark depths of humanity and showcases that not everyone in this world is good, and those
that we consider our heroes may end up being the villains of their own story. As a heartbroken father becomes a ruthless vigilante, the detective
must race to find the killer before his best friend becomes the monster he’s already starting to become. First here is the synopsis:

Homicide detective, Bruno Norcross, is called to investigate the brutal murder of a college call girl. This isn’t just any other crime scene.
Bruno has seen this scene before, only the last time, the killer got away leaving Bruno feeling as though his career is incomplete. Nobody
escapes Bruno’s grasp twice and when his nemesis arises again, it’s time to bring him in. A serial killer, only known as the Kiss of Death, is
back, only this time he made a mistake. A witness, like no other, was left behind and this witness knows the victim better than anyone.

Rosie’s stalker, Ashley Truelove knows everything about her, from what she wears to who she sees. The question isn’t can Ashley help Bruno catch
the killer, but will he? With meager and confusing clues, two known victims and time running out, Bruno realizes that the cost of bringing the
murderer to justice will be paid in blood. With the police Sergeant on his back to catch this killer and provide justice for the death of his
daughter, Bruno is racing against time. Kiss of Death only hunts occasionally and time is running out before he vanishes again. Can Bruno find
the evidence to stop him or will he escape his clutches once again?

This story had an incredible plot. A true credit to the author’s handle on the thriller genre, this story takes the readers through twists and
turns galore as they begin to question who they can trust, who the true suspects are and who can really call themselves the hero of this story.
Allies become enemies and suspects become partners as the hunt for this ruthless serial killer will take the reader into the minds of both the
delusional yet crafty killer and the respected detective who desperately wants to avenge the death of his friend’s daughter and prevent more lives
from being lost.

Now, I will say that if I were to have any critiques for this story, it would be the editing. I do feel that this story could have been improved
if an editor had been able to catch the grammatical errors in this story. While the errors didn’t deter me in my enjoyment of the story at all,
I will say that it was noticeable and with this writer’s powerful storytelling power I’d love to see a keener eye help clean up the grammar to make
this story shine even brighter. However the character development was great in this story, as each character was very human in that they suffered
from various flaws and showcased how darkness can reside in the best of us, and how we all have the power to overcome that darkness if we so choose.

 

Overall this was a fun read that I highly recommend for any psychological thriller fans out there. It’s a classic noir detective book with a 21st
century technological spin as the hunt for the Kiss of Death begins. Be sure to pick up your copies of Kiss of Death by Robert Skuce today!

Rating: 7/10