Posts Tagged ‘The Ghosts of Ravencrest’

Today only, the complete novel, The Ghosts of Ravencrest, is just 99 cents on Amazon.  This novel is the first in our series, The Ravencrest Saga. The sale celebrates the first two episodes of the next novel in the series, The Witches of Ravencrest which, like The Ghosts of Ravencrest, is being released first as a serial novel. WoR #1: Grave Expectations and WoR #2: Dead of the Night are now both available.

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When Tamara and Alistair began The Ghosts of Ravencrest, they were thinking of going heavy on paranormal erotica. By the third installment, they were too in love with the story – and it was growing by leaps and bounds – to try to push the erotic aspects so they went back and toned them down slightly when they released the full novel. (But when you read the chapter called Awakening, you’ll see that it’s still a sizzler. Seriously, they’ve had several letters from readers saying it cured their non-orgasmic woes.)

As The Ghosts of Ravencrest progressed, their mutual love of the Gothic came to the fore. By the fourth installment they had travelled back in history to meet several of the ancestors who haunt Ravencrest during the present day.

 

The Ravencrest Saga is the tale of Belinda Moorland, a young woman who takes a position as governess to handsome millionaire Eric Manning’s two children. Within the halls of Ravencrest – the mansion was brought over stone by stone from England to the California coast in the early nineteenth century – Belinda encounters much more than ghosts, from the seemingly evil Mrs. Heller to the mysterious and knowing head butler, Grant Phister. But it is Eric Manning himself who captivates Belinda.

Secrets lurk within Ravencrest’s historic halls; secrets that have been buried for years but are coming to life around Belinda. The nightly erotic visits from Thomas Manning – he’s been dead for centuries – terrify and excite Belinda. When Mrs. Heller sends the governess into the old east wing for school supplies, Belinda encounters the most horrifying entities she’s ever seen … and she will have to face them again in order to save a tiny spirit in a red dress who has been searching for her parents for centuries.

As time goes on, Grant reveals a few of his secrets to Belinda and she and Eric Manning begin taking morning swims in the ornate indoor pool together … until something unspeakable happens…  Belinda learns more of the secrets of Ravencrest, about the hidden abilities within herself, and falls hard for Eric Manning. But is love enough to conquer the ghosts and other creatures that walk the corridors of Ravencrest? It’s time to find out!

And don’t forget to pick up a copy of the new Thorne & Cross thriller, MOTHER

 

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To celebrate this weekend’s release of THE WITCHES OF RAVENCREST: DEAD OF THE NIGHT, our first novel in THE RAVENCREST SAGA, THE GHOSTS OF RAVENCREST will be on sale on Amazon on May 1 for 24 hours for only .99! The sale starts at 6 am PST/9 am EST. It will go on sale at the same time on May 2 for $1.99. The final sale day will be May 3, for $2.99. Get yours while it’s hot and haunted!

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Darkness Never Dies …

Ravencrest Manor has always been part of the family. The ancestral home of the Mannings, Ravencrest’s walls have been witness to generations of unimaginable scandal, horror, and depravity. Imported stone by stone from England to northern California in the early 1800s, the manor now houses widower Eric Manning, his children, and his staff. Ravencrest stands alone, holding its memories and ghosts close to its dark heart, casting long, black shadows across its grand lawns, through the surrounding forests, and over the picturesque town of Devilswood, below.

Dare to Cross the Threshold …

Ravencrest Manor is the most beautiful thing new governess, Belinda Moorland, has ever seen, but as she learns more about its tangled past of romance and terror, she realizes that beauty has a dark side. Ravencrest is built on secrets, and its inhabitants seem to be keeping plenty of their own – from the handsome English butler, Grant Phister, to the power-mad administrator, Mrs. Heller, to Eric Manning himself, who watches her with dark, fathomless eyes. But Belinda soon realizes that the living who dwell in Ravencrest have nothing on the other inhabitants – the ones who walk the darkened halls by night … the ones who enter her dreams … the ones who are watching … and waiting …

Welcome to Ravencrest …

Who is the man digging in the garden beyond Belinda’s bedroom window? Who – or what – is watching her from the vents? From ghostly screams and the clutching bony fingers of death in the indoor pool, to the trio of gliding nuns in the east wing who come at Belinda with black blazing eyes, to the beckoning little girl in the red dress who died more than two centuries ago, Belinda is thrust into a world of waking nightmares where there is no distinction between the living and the dead, and there are no limits to the horrors that await. Witchcraft is afoot at Ravencrest and as unspeakable terrors begin to unfold, Belinda realizes that her beautiful new home is a keeper of tragedy, a collector of souls. And it wants to add her to its collection …

The Ghosts of Ravencrest is a traditional gothic, complete with a young governess, handsome millionaire, a houseful of mysterious staff members… and hot and cold running ghosts. There are mysteries and family curses and a historical novella within each volume of The Ravencrest Saga. Just because it’s traditional, like Rebecca, Turn of the Screw, or Dark Shadows, doesn’t mean you should expect the expected. This is a modern gothic, with the kind of extra helpings of terror, sex, and surprises you’ve come to expect from a Thorne & Cross novel!

“The Ghosts of Ravencrest delivers on every level. Delicate, creepy, detailed, and beautifully crafted, this reinvention of the gothic ghost story into a sexy, sleek modern chiller is a marvel of suspense and atmosphere. A knockout of a horror yarn!”

-Jay Bonansinga, the New York Times bestselling author of The Walking Dead: Invasion, Lucid, and Self Storage.

In The Ghosts of Ravencrest, you’ll travel in time back to the London Frost Fair of 1788 to meet millionaire Eric Manning’s ancestors and explore some of the mysteries and spectres plaguing the house in contemporary times. You’ll celebrate Christmas with the Mannings too, and meet the mysterious Bran Lanval, a Knight of the Order of the Mandrake, as he works to stop a plague of witchcraft meant to destroy the Manning family for all time.

In modern times, there are witches afoot and spirits galore. As governess Belinda Moorland unearths the mysteries of her new home, she realizes the house – and all of its inhabitants – is mired in terror, scandal, and deadly secrets. From the hellacious house administrator, Mrs. Heller, to the long-dead nuns, Sisters Faith, Hope, and Charity, who rule the ghost-soaked east wing – to the screaming, cold presence in the indoor pool, and the unnatural creature who watches her from the vents, everyone – and every thing – seems to have an interest in Belinda.

From her first night at the manor when she’s seduced by a handsome phantom who sends her on a deadly quest, Belinda knows she must unravel the secrets of her own identity before she, herself, becomes yet another ghost of Ravencrest.

“Ghostly secrets abound. Tortured spirits wander the hallways. Star-crossed lovers walk the paths of time. Servants connive, and the heroine faces an uncertain future …Run, do not walk, to get The Ghosts of Ravencrest. Tamara Thorne and Alistair Cross take the reader on a delicious journey of twisted family secrets, troubled dreams, and barely-concealed passions. Wrap yourself in the silken robe of this story and escape to Ravencrest.”

— Sylvia Shults, author of Hunting Demons: A True Story of the Dark Side of the Supernatural

At last, the complete first volume of The Ravencrest Saga: The Ghosts of Ravencrest, is available to purchase on Amazon.com.  Other formats (including paper) will follow in the not-too-distant future.

Watch for the first installment of Volume 2 of The Ravencrest Saga, coming in October, just in time for Halloween.

Just click the pic to buy!

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The Ghosts of Ravencrest

Volume 1 of The Ravencrest Saga

Darkness Never Dies …

Ravencrest Manor has always been part of the family. The ancestral home of the Mannings, Ravencrest’s walls have been witness to generations of unimaginable scandal, horror, and depravity. Imported stone by stone from England to northern California in the early 1800s, the manor now houses widower Eric Manning, his children, and his staff. Ravencrest stands alone, holding its memories and ghosts close to its dark heart, casting long, black shadows across its grand lawns, through the surrounding forests, and over the picturesque town of Devilswood, below.

Dare to Cross the Threshold …

Ravencrest Manor is the most beautiful thing new governess, Belinda Moorland, has ever seen, but as she learns more about its tangled past of romance and terror, she realizes that beauty has a dark side. Ravencrest is built on secrets, and its inhabitants seem to be keeping plenty of their own – from the handsome English butler, Grant Phister, to the power-mad administrator, Mrs. Heller, to Eric Manning himself, who watches her with dark, fathomless eyes. But Belinda soon realizes that the living who dwell in Ravencrest have nothing on the other inhabitants – the ones who walk the darkened halls by night … the ones who enter her dreams … the ones who are watching … and waiting …

Welcome to Ravencrest …

Who is the man digging in the garden beyond Belinda’s bedroom window? Who – or what – is watching her from the vents? From ghostly screams and the clutching bony fingers of death in the indoor pool, to the trio of gliding nuns in the east wing who come at Belinda with black blazing eyes, to the beckoning little girl in the red dress who died more than two centuries ago, Belinda is thrust into a world of waking nightmares where there is no distinction between the living and the dead, and there are no limits to the horrors that await. Witchcraft is afoot at Ravencrest and as unspeakable terrors begin to unfold, Belinda realizes that her beautiful new home is a keeper of tragedy, a collector of souls. And it wants to add her to its collection …

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Raves for Ravencrest…

The Ghosts of Ravencrest delivers on every level. Delicate, creepy, detailed, and beautifully crafted, this reinvention of the gothic ghost story into a sexy, sleek modern chiller is a marvel of suspense and atmosphere. A knockout of a horror yarn!”  

 -Jay Bonansinga, the New York Times bestselling author of The Walking Dead: Invasion, Lucid, and Self Storage.

  The Ghosts of Ravencrest is riveting. The characters are wonderful, the subplots are perfect, and the setting is stunning and well-researched. This series is like a roller coaster that goes up and up – the Mannings are literary gold.”

 -QL Pearce, bestselling author of Scary Stories for Sleep-Overs

“In The Ghosts of Ravencrest, Tamara Thorne and Alistair Cross have created a world that is dark, opulent, and smoldering with the promise of scares and seduction. You’ll be able to feel the slide of the satin sheets, taste the fizz of champagne, and hear the footsteps on the stairs.”

 -Sylvia Shults, paranormal expert and author of Fractured Spirits and Hunting Demons

“In this classic-style gothic, young Belinda Moorland takes a job as governess for the children of Eric Manning, whose family mansion, Ravencrest, was reassembled stone by stone after crossing over from England. Now stalked by a bevy of quirky, shady characters … the sinister estate and its naughty nightside hijinks take center stage in this expert tale of multi-generational evil – and love. The Ghosts of Ravencrest will chill you and make you hot and bothered at the same time. There’s nothing like a stay in a California town created by Thorne and Cross!”

 -W.D. Gagliani, author of Wolf’s Blind (the Nick Lupo Series)

The Ghosts of Ravencrest is a scary, intricate read. The horror is well crafted and the ornate setting descriptions are breathtaking. Most importantly, from page one, readers fall in love with Belinda. We care about what happens to her, and we hope exactly what that is remains deliciously extensive!”

  -Michael Aronovitz, author of Alice Walks

“Scary and scandalous! The Ghosts of Ravencrest will leaving you shivering with excitement and terror …”

 -William Malmborg, author of Jimmy and Text Message

Excerpt:

“Ravencrest Manor at midnight. Within the great house, Cordelia Heller was awake, casting spells, amused that Phister and the governess thought she didn’t know what they were up to. And in the carriage house, Grant and Belinda prepared for their rescue attempt, exchanging information, checking flashlight batteries, and repeating simple protection spells to one another.

Outside, the sky was black velvet embroidered with cold silver stars awaiting the moonrise. Greek statues stood silent sentinel over the grounds, and if their eyes moved, no one noticed.

The persimmon tree’s leaves flirted and danced with a dark breeze as something moved deep within the earth. New buds formed and green fruit turned red in the dark. A night bird landed on a branch then fell to the ground, dead.  

The scent of night-blooming jasmine wafted, consuming the wisteria’s sweet perfume, strangling it.

Silence. The world held its breath …”

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About the Authors

Tamara Thorne’s first novel was published in 1991, and since then she has written many more, including international bestsellers Haunted, Bad Things, Moonfall, Eternity and The Sorority. A lifelong lover of ghost stories, she is currently working on several collaborations with Alistair Cross as well as an upcoming solo novel. Learn more about her at: http://tamarathorne.com

Alistair Cross grew up on horror novels and scary movies, and by the age of eight, began writing his own stories. First published in 2012, he has since co-authored The Cliffhouse Haunting with Tamara Thorne and is working on several other projects. His debut solo novel, The Crimson Corset, an Amazon bestseller, is available now. Find out more about him at: http://alistaircross.com

In collaboration, Thorne and Cross are currently writing several novels, including the next volume in the continuing series, The Ravencrest Saga. Their first novel, The Cliffhouse Haunting, was an immediate bestseller. Together, they also host the horror-themed radio show Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE! which has featured such guests as Laurell K. Hamilton, Christopher Moore, Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, Charlaine Harris, and Christopher Rice. Thorne and Cross are hard at work on several upcoming collaborations, including a sequel to Tamara’s Candle Bay, which will feature plenty of vampy action as the Darlings and Julian Valentyne are joined on a road trip to Eternity with Michael and Winter from Alistair’s The Crimson Corset. It’s going to be a harrowing ride!

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Tonight at 9:30 pm EST, we are thrilled to introduce Christopher Moore as our guest at Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE! We’ll spend the hour talking to Christopher about writing, his hobbies, and his upcoming book, Secondhand Souls, available on August 25th.

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Christopher Moore is the author of fifteen novels, including the international bestsellers,Lamb, A Dirty Job and You Suck. His lastest novel, Secondhand Souls, will be released in August 2015.

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Chris was born in Toledo, Ohio and grew up in Mansfield, Ohio. His father was a highway patrolman and his mother sold major appliances at a department store. He attended Ohio State University and Brooks Institute of Photography in Santa Barbara. He moved to California when he was 19 years old and lived on the Central Coast until 2003, when he moved to Hawaii.

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Before publishing his first novel, Practical Demonkeeping in 1992, he worked as a roofer, a grocery clerk, a hotel night auditor, and insurance broker, a waiter, a photographer, and a rock and roll DJ. Chris has drawn on all of these work experiences to create the characters in his books. When he’s not writing, Chris enjoys ocean kayaking, scuba diving, photography, and painting with acrylics and oils. He lives in San Francisco.

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About Haunted Nights LIVE! hosts Thorne & Cross

Tamara Thorne and Alistair Cross joined forces in 2012 with the idea to write a short story together. One thing led to another, and they have since completed The Cliffhouse Haunting, and 8 installments of the successful Gothic serialized novel, The Ghosts of Ravencrest. In November of 2014, their horror-themed radio internet show, Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE!, debuted to great acclaim as part of the Authors on the Air Global Radio Network, LLC.

Tamara Thorne’s first novel was published in 1991. 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. Tamara’s interest in the occult, mythology, and folklore began at an early age, and her interest in the paranormal has been life-long. She’s been a speaker for many paranormal groups and been involved in many investigations. She has appeared on the television show, Ghost Adventures, as well as gone on a five-day investigation to an allegedly haunted cabin in Gold Country with co-author Alistair Cross – an adventure that inspired The Cliffhouse Haunting. She has also been featured in various newspapers on the topics of haunted areas and local lore, and has been a guest on Anything Ghost, and many other syndications. Tamara is also a journalist who writes features for several southern California newspapers.

Alistair Cross grew up on horror novels and scary movies, and by the age of eight, began writing his own stories. He is an avid poet who has been published in multiple collections, and his poetry has been featured on several syndications. His first work of fiction was published by Damnation Books in 2012. Alistair’s fascination with the supernatural, combined with an affinity for psychological suspense, has shaped his writing and continues to influence his work. He became involved in paranormal investigations with Tamara Thorne, and their adventure, Five Nights in a Haunted Cabin, was the feature for an episode of Tales to Terrify, on the Lights Out podcast with paranormal expert, Sylvia Shults. Together, he and Tamara have also published articles for several publications, including Crystal Lake Publishing’s Beneath the Lake: On Writing Horror. Along with his multiple collaborative projects with Tamara Thorne, Alistair’s new release, The Crimson Corset, was released to rave reviews in August of this year.

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We’re nearly finished with the first volume of The Ghosts of Ravencrest and are already planning the next. We love Ravencrest because it allows us to stay current or to hop into history. Every lord of Ravencrest and his family has a story that plays into the tale of its current master, Eric Manning. Finding out what those stories are, what made his ancestors tick – and how this history affects our modern-day governess, Belinda Moorland – has become a game of literary Hide-and-Seek for us.

We couldn’t write these stories without shifting points of view.

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Experiential differentiation is our thing. Imagine a red rose. To a young woman in love it reminds her of the bouquet she received last Valentine’s Day. It may bring a smile to a murderer’s lips because it reminds him of his last victim’s blood. If you’re writing an historical, an early Christian character may see the rose as a symbol of the wounds of Christ, or the blood of martyrs.

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To a man with allergies, the rose is a hated bringer of sneezing, watery eyes and stuffed sinuses. To a jilted woman, it inspires fury because it reminds her of the man who left her at the altar. Someone else might avoid the rose because they dread the painful thorns. For a widower, it reignites great sorrow over the loss of his beloved wife who used to tend their garden. It makes him weep, so he tears the roses out. Or shoots himself among them to join her. But to the professional gardener, a rose might symbolize prosperity because where there are roses, there’s work.

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And it doesn’t end with roses. To one little boy, a baseball bat might represent play and joy while inspiring dread and embarrassment in a less athletic child. To a grown man, it brings nostalgia, and to an abused housewife, abject terror. The rose may squirt water on an annoying mother-in-law, or a threatening bat might be foam rubber, turning tragedy to comedy.

In a mystery novel, knowing the differences in suspects’ feelings lends the detective more clues about the criminal. In a story of survival, individual knowledge about something most perceive as ordinary, may save a life.

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Considering that such innocuous objects as a rose or baseball bat can inspire so many emotions, we’re like kids in a candy store when it comes to exploring the loves and fears, the prejudices and motives, of our characters. We want to find out what the baseball bats and roses to each character. And this is why we prefer the third person point of view.

We enjoy taking on viewpoints that are new to us. One of the most difficult things to do is to come from a point of view you don’t yet understand and when you attempt this, you either fall on your face or grow. For Tamara, the Prophet Sinclair in Thunder Road was a true growth experience. She saw him as a sleazy evangelist using his good looks and persuasive voice to grab money and bed women. But Sinclair insisted on growing and did something so foreign to Tamara’s own nature that to this day, she’s blown away.

For Alistair, coming from the perspective of Gretchen VanTreese in his upcoming novel, The Crimson Corset, was a major stretch, too. He had to learn to view the world through the eyes of a woman who uses sex (much of it creepy), manipulation, and murder to attain her objectives.

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As confirmed character writers, we like rummaging around in different psyches, and as readers we prefer third person narratives for the same reason. That being said, a few of our favorite books have been written in the first person, leading us to believe that, when done well, this is a powerful and effective approach to storytelling… if that’s your preference.

It’s a matter of writing what you love, and we love multiple points of view. We’ve both written in the first person and found ourselves bored and switching to third.

In fact, when we began The Ghosts of Ravencrest, our initial intention was to stick to Belinda Moorland’s point of view, but immediately found ourselves itching to get into the heads of Mrs. Heller, Grant Phister, Eric Manning, and all the other characters we found so fascinating. If we’d maintained our original plan, we’d have grown tired of Ravencrest after one volume, but as it is, we have countless storylines to explore and we can’t wait to dig deeper into the myriad characters, both contemporary and historical, living and dead, who roam the halls of Ravencrest Manor.

Our readers have been asking questions about our new novel, The Cliffhouse Haunting.  We’ve collected some up to answer here.

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Is the Cliffhouse Lodge based on a real hotel? Yes, in some ways. It was built by an architect associated with Gilbert Stanley Underwood, designer of Yosemite’s Ahwahnee Hotel, Grand Canyon Lodge, and the Timberline Lodge in Oregon among many others.  It also has roots in California’s Brookdale Lodge. The Brookdale’s natural stream in the dining room inspired the stream that runs through the lobby in the Cliffhouse Lodge.

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The story is set in the San Bernardino Mountains. Are they any real ghost stories attached to that area?

Yes, many, though we didn’t use any. Just Google “ghost stories San Bernardino Mountains, Lake Arrowhead, Big Bear” and you’ll find plenty.

Is the Blue Lady a ghost from real life?

There are many blue ladies in ghost fact and fiction. They appear all over the globe. Our Blue Lady is a little different in that she isn’t a human spirit but an elemental one. A naiad if you will, a water spirit, a force of nature. Some characters think of her as a regular ghost, or as Santa Muerte, a female saint of death not condoned by the Vatican. She is also connected by some to La Llorona (The Weeping Woman). La Llorona is famous for having drowned her children in order to seduce a man who she thinks wouldn’t want them.  She is a Latina banshee who walks and wails and seduces children to watery deaths.

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What ghost stories did you base your story on?

Many. The Blue Lady partially hails from a spooky night Tamara and her husband spent in a lodge overlooking Boothbay Harbor in Maine. A strip of forest no more than 20 feet wide hugged the parking area and when they stepped from the asphalt into the woods, intending to check out the water, they experienced a dizziness and something that can only be described as a clinging chill that ran up their arms and remained until they nearly all the way upstairs to their room. A pervasive smell of dark water clung to the cold.

You two spent time in a real-life haunted cabin. Did it have anything to do with Cliffhouse?

We spent five nights in a haunted cabin at the request of a frightened owner and conceived of the basic story of Cliffhouse there. We experienced sounds and other anomalies we couldn’t readily explain while staying in the lightless little cabin. We don’t know what caused all the incidents there, but it was frightening and exciting. It was so intense that we set aside our work in progress to write Cliffhouse while the experiences were fresh.

Did anything happen in the cabin that you put into the book?

We fictionalize everything, but the description of Sara’s floating sandwich is pretty close to one of the real incidents we experienced.

What about the ghost cat, Omar Siam?  

There are many hotels with stories of resident feline spirits that leap on beds or meow, and we thought it would be nice to have one at Cliffhouse. Omar Siam is named for Tamara’s own Siamese kitty, who lived a fat and pampered life.

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And the perfume of Aunt Theodosia’s ghost?

This came from an experience Alistair had when he was very young. He remembers waking up in the middle of the night and seeing an unfamiliar woman in his room. He spoke to her and she didn’t reply. She disappeared without acknowledging him, but he remembers that she left behind a soft, flowery scent. When we wrote Theodosia, we gave her the signature perfume – we chose White Shoulders – that she left behind.

Was “Walleye” Gardner inspired by anyone?

He is based on a strange man who walked around the small town that Alistair grew up in. Alistair remembers that the man had strange eyes that seemed to look in different directions. Alistair was intrigued by – and a little frightened of – the man, and he and his friends would often follow him, trying to see who he was and where he lived. When Walter Gardner came into existence in Cliffhouse, Tamara and Alistair based him on this mysterious man.

Is Constance Welling based on anyone?

No, but we did incorporate all the worst qualities of egotistical would-be writers into her persona. We’ve encountered many people like her; those who consider themselves above genre writing, those who try too hard to be “literary,” those who are baffled by – and hateful toward – the publishing industry and prefer to spend their time bemoaning the difficulties of the business rather than writing novels. Constance is also the embodiment of vanity – she is a woman who refuses to accept growing older, and no longer being the young, beautiful center of attention she imagines she once was. Constance Welling is entitled – and not justifiably so. She is the ego personified. We had a lot of fun her and thoroughly enjoyed doling out the justice she deserved. It was therapeutic – for both of us – for reasons we can not publicly disclose.

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How did Dr. Siechert come to be?

Dr. Siechert is one of those “people” who decided he didn’t want to be just a secondary character; he demanded to be heard. He quickly showed more and more eccentricities as his intake of Blue Springs Water increased. We both broke out in laughter the day he called the mortician’s wife a very bad name in front of everyone. He took off with the story after that, creating his own thread by dating Constance Welling. We still wonder what he was thinking.

Did you know that H.H. Holmes, America’s first serial killer, was really named Herman Mudgett?

Yes.

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Are a lot of your characters’ names based in reality?

Yes, in odd ways. For instance, Dr. Siechert’s name is lifted from one of the possible Jack the Ripper suspects. Also, there is a humorous link between the names Siechert and Cornhull, but we can’t say any more except that it has everything to do with the finger Siechert carries around. We also love puns. Try saying ‘Constance Welling’ and ‘Constance Leigh Welling’ out loud… Also, Sara Bellamy’s name is a hidden pun. Consider that she’s very intelligent and say her full name aloud.

Tell us about the old lady who likes to take baths. The bathroom was described just like the one in Kubrick’s The Shining. Is there a reason for that?

Yes. We wanted to do it since water horror is involved. Maisy Hart – said old lady – was originally a near throw-away character slated to be found dead in her tub. Her name, before she acquired a speaking role, was Mrs. Massey… You might also recognize the names of the young couple beleaguered by ghosts: George and Marianne Kirby. Change the spelling slightly and you’ve got another young couple who were ghosts who picked on a man named Cosmo Topper. There are lots more. Beverly Hill, for instance. She’s the most obvious. Generally we look for names and place names that won’t be noticed if they aren’t pointed out.

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Is Laurel Lutz a real actress?

No, but the name is a snark at a real singer/actress who constantly and inexplicably shows up in Alistair’s “likes” on Facebook. Revenge was necessary.

Shouldn’t the restaurant in Cliffhouse be called Le Chat Rouge?

No. We knew what we were doing when we added that extra “TE” to “Chat.”

Are the kids who befriend Walleye based on your own kids or nieces and nephews?

No.Think about the names. Carrie. Tommy.  Pre-high school Carrie and Tommy. Dirty Pillows. Proms. We were having fun. The last name of Collins can refer to the drink you want after dealing with them, or the family from Dark Shadows. Your choice.

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Sheriff Jackson Ballou has a sister named Kitty and a father named Lee. The names seem familiar but I can’t place them.

Like many other characters, Jackson Ballou was born fully named. Kitty Ballou and Lee Ballou came later – ever see a movie called Cat Ballou?  That’s probably why it sounds familiar. Kitty simply sounds like Cat, but Lee – Lee is special.  From the moment we knew Jackson needed a drunken dad, it was Lee Marvin, the king of drunken cowboys (in Cat Ballou and Paint Your Wagon among others.) While we rarely know what our main characters really look like – we like to be vague so the readers can envision them the way they want – minor characters often look like someone to us. And that’s true of Lee Ballou. In fact, we’re pretty sure his middle name is Marvin.

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Were there any characters you were surprised by?

Yes. Chad Armstrong. He began as a secondary character, grew into something much larger, and then in edits, he got cut back to a secondary status again. His sexual preferences went back and forth quite a bit, too, which made for amusing rewrites.

Was The Bodice Ripper a real serial killer in history?

No. We just love the name. It’s based on a book genre often referred to as “bodice ripper.”

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Is it true that Cliffhouse was originally 175,000 words? What happened the the rest of it?

Yes. We ended up having to cut over 50,000 words. One of our favorite character’s threads was removed, but we saved it, and intend to incorporate his already-written scenes into a very exciting, large apocalyptic novel  (working title is B.O. – Big One) which we’ll begin in 2016. Nothing is wasted.

Who wrote which scenes?

We both wrote them, equally. We work in the same document, side by side. We have a mutual email account and we write in the Cloud while simultaneously talking on Skype. When we say that we collaborate, we mean it. Our sensibilities and styles are so similar that we rarely even remember who thought of a scene, let alone who wrote what. Both our fingerprints are all over everything.

Have either of you ever stayed in a haunted hotel?

Of course! Long before we met, we were both into haunted hotels and each of us have managed to rent the most-haunted rooms in those hotels. While we have only experienced a few minor spooky incidents, we both love recalling the spooky halls and rooms, the expectations of scariness, and these get into our work.

Cliffhouse is set in California with Tamara’s other novels. Will you write more books in that area? Why does it appeal to you?

Yes. We are already writing more books that are set in California. Devilswood in The Ghosts of Ravencrest isn’t too far from Cliffside, and Crimson Cove, in Alistair’s upcoming solo, The Crimson Corset is also close by. We plan to continue creating our own fictional universe, and as you read our work, you’ll see references to our other towns and even occasional guest appearances by characters from other books. California appeals to us because it has everything – ocean, mountains, deserts, and it’s in the southwest, where we both live. We may venture out of state, but we’ll still be in the same fictional universe. We’ve adopted radio deejay Coastal Eddie from Tamara’s Candle Bay as a sort of narrator – the voice of unreason, so to speak. He’s making appearances in almost all of our novels.

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Alistair’s upcoming book is called The Crimson Corset. There is a Crimson Corset in Cliffhouse. Was this deliberate?

The idea for naming a nightclub The Crimson Corset goes way back. When we were writing Cliffhouse, we put a club there with that name, but Alistair’s novel, The Crimson Corset, was already underway. The original title of this novel was Crimson Cove, the name of the town the novel is set in, but as the plot thickened, The Crimson Corset became a more appropriate title. We figure that The Crimson Corset is a chain of nightclubs. More of them will likely be seen in other works.

How did you come up with that nasty immersion blender scene?

It was inspired by a hot pink immersion blender that Tamara’s close friend gave her for Christmas a couple years back. It was supposed to be red and the friend offered to exchange it, but the hot pink Cuisinart was just too perfect. “It’s like having a sex toy in the kitchen,” says Mr. Thorne.

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What about all the festivals? Do those really happen in the San Bernardino Mountains?

Pretty much, though if you want to see a huge Civil War reenactment in the area, you need to go to Calico Ghost Town around President’s Day. This is in the high desert by the mountains. (It’s also the inspiration for Tamara’s novel, Thunder Road.) Local mountain towns Big Bear and Lake Arrowhead are famous for their Oktoberfest celebrations.

Have you ever swum in a real indoor pool?

Yes, and it’s as scary as you think it is, even without ghosts.

Visit our websites at: tamarathorne.com & alistaircross.com

(images retrieved from Google images)