Dec 18, 2014

Interview with Tamara and Alistair Cross

The Ghosts of Ravencrest: Christmas Spirits is available here:

When did you realize that you wanted to become a writer?

T:  It never occurred to me to want to be anything else. My only other lifelong interest is in ghost stories and folklore - and that goes hand in hand with writing. I have never had any desire to write anything that doesn’t contain elements of the strange.

A: I think I’ve always known on some level. Writing has been the only constant in my life. No matter what else I’ve ever done, I’ve always written. The only other real interest I ever had was in photography, and even that eventually turned into writing. I started creating stories that went with the characters I created in the pictures. Then I started, quite literally, writing words on the models. It always comes down to writing in the end.

Is being an Author all you dreamed of, or did it just happen? The best and worst thing about it?

T:   I don’t think I ever dreamed about being an author; even in grade school, I just wrote. Then, as now, the only daydreaming I did was about the stories before sitting down to write them. I never thought about the accoutrements of writing - public appearances, tweed jackets with leather elbow patches, swilling gin; I write simply for the joy of writing. My favorite writing perc is having an excuse to research and travel. The best thing about being a writer is also the worst thing - being your own boss.

A: I worked very hard for it, and try never to forget that. The best thing about it is being able to do what I love. The worst thing is having to be creative on the days you just aren’t feeling it. As for being everything I dreamed it would be, I can say with sincerity and great appreciation, that yes, it really is.

What was the very first thing you ever wrote?

T:  Somewhere around age seven or eight, I started writing ghost stories at night so I could scare other kids the next day with my “true” tales. Some things never really change.

A: I started writing short stories and what I thought of as songs as early as eight years old.

What made you create (your book)?  How did it come to you?

T & A: The Ghosts of Ravencrest began as an abstract idea about two years ago, and has slowly evolved to become what it is today. Initially, we wanted it to be a light side-project, but it’s become something rich with history, heavy on research, and thick of plot. Our mutual love of the gothic genre fuels it.

Who is your literary hero?

T: Ray Bradbury.

A: Edgar Allan Poe.

How much of your characters are based on your traits or someone you know personally?

T: While my antagonists are occasionally inspired by aspects of an especially odious living person or group, I think it’s a cheat to use more than that (unless it’s a tip of the hat to a friend) in a character. I would never write myself into a book - talk about boring!  I did give Rick Piper (Bad Things) a fear of the dark that was, in a certain way, similar to my own early childhood fear, but that’s it. I can’t speak for my subconscious, of course; it does what it wants.

A: I’ve never based a character on myself in any way that I’m aware of. That doesn’t sound like any fun to me at all. Pieces of other people have certainly infused themselves into my fiction, but I’ve never fashioned a character after anyone except for minor tributes to friends.

Describe your main character in six words.

T & A: Evil, licentious, vile… makes us smile.

Describe the world you’ve created in six words.

T & A: Mysterious and spooky and altogether ooky!

What scene was your favorite to write?

T:  My favorites of all time were the ends of Bad Things and Haunted - they just flew out of my fingers. In Christmas Spirits, I really had a great time with the description of the spooky carriage ride through the moors.

A: In The Ghosts of Ravencrest: Christmas Spirits, I had a lot of fun with Carmilla Harlow and the stable boy, Jacques. Good times were had by all… well, except Jacques, anyway...

What scene was the hardest for you to write?

T: In Eve, the first part of The Sorority, I had to come from the point of view of an honest-to-goodness (heavy on goodness) cheerleader who was sweet, sincere, and full of school spirit. She didn’t have an ounce of snark in her; in other words, she was my polar opposite.  It was grueling, getting into her head, but when I finally did, it was worth it; it helped mature my writing.  I still don’t get “school spirit” or any of that, but it’s much easier to accept now.

A: Any scene with a smoker in it. I always forget they have a cigarette, or I have them light it three times, or they put it out, and suddenly it’s back… or, halfway through the story, I simply forget they smoke. it’s just very hard for me to keep track of.

What are you working on now?

T & A: A novel of mystery, magick, and mayhem, titled Grandma’s Rack, which is due out early in 2015.

Goals? Accomplishments? Improvements?

T & A: Keep on writing and enjoying life.

Are there any authors or books you recommend?

T:  My favorites include Ray Bradbury’s Dandelion Wine, Martian Chronicles, and Something Wicked this Way Comes. Those, along with Return to Oz - it’s spooky! - date back to childhood.  So, too, with Shirley Jackson’s Haunting of Hill House. My other favorites are Tolkien, Stephen King and Nelson DeMille.

A: Lots! I even dedicated a page on my website to this:

What's your favorite thing to do when you're not writing?

T & A: Pet our cats, text dirty jokes to each other, and think about writing.

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