Featured Authors Talk About It
ATAI: Tell us a little about you.
Alistair: I grew up in a small town in Utah where I really just didn’t fit in. As someone who was painfully introverted and not at all interested in athletics, I had trouble finding channels of self-expression and often lost myself in books, music, and movies. I discovered horror when I was about eight years old, and I suppose I fell in love with it because it was the most thrilling, exciting, and emotionally stimulating thing around me at that time. To me, horror was – and still is – the antithesis of normal and boring, and movies like Carrie and The Amityville Horror, and stories like Dracula and The Tell-Tale Heart were the first things to ever hold me down and demand my full attention.
ATAI: How long have you been writing?
Alistair: I’ve never thought of myself as anything but just a regular writer. It never occurred to me that I was a “horror writer” until other people began pointing it out to me. But I don’t think the label or the package is the important thing. The important things are the voice, the story, and above all, the characters – and as long as I can write what I want to, I don’t care if the world says I’m a Christian Neuroscience Erotic Thriller author.
ATAI: What was your most recent release?
Alistair: A paranormal murder mystery called Sleep, Savannah, Sleep. It’s about a recently widowed father named Jason Crandall who moves to a little town called Shadow Springs. As he and his young daughter, Amber, and rebellious teenage son, Brent, get settled in, Jason begins meeting the locals and quickly realizes that under its smooth surface, Shadow Springs is rife with scandal, secrets, and more bad blood than a battleground. After a beautiful young socialite named Savannah Sturgess goes missing, Jason’s childhood night terrors return and he begins having terrifying dreams that convince him the woman has been murdered. When her body turns up in the same place Jason predicts it will, he finds himself under suspicion and the only things that can help him prove his innocence are the macabre, otherworldly messages from the dead woman herself.
ATAI: What do you love most about writing?
Alistair: I had a lot of fun creating the characters because I had to write them knowing upfront that each of them had to be a potential murder suspect – which automatically made them a lot more interesting.
ATAI: What do you find most challenging?
Alistair: The hardest part of this book was planting enough clues that the big reveal was believable without giving it away too soon.
ATAI: Where do your ideas come from?
Alistair: I’d like to say something really interesting, like the darkest, moistest parts of my black soul or something, but the truth is, I don’t really know. Ideas come from everywhere, all the time. Conversations with friends, movies, books, lightning bolts of inspiration while scrubbing my feet in the shower … it’s anybody’s guess where these things come from, really.
ATAI: What is your writing process?
Alistair: It’s always strange when you realize that your work is being read. What I mean is, you spend so much time writing in a little room, and then, when you make that rare real-world appearance and happen upon someone who has actually read your work, it’s always a little surreal. I think that’s because I never think about anything but the story in front of me when I’m writing – and when the book’s finished, I start thinking about the next one. I never think about anyone reading it, so when I find someone who has, I’m always a bit surprised.
ATAI: Do your characters (or message) ever seem to have a life of their own or an agenda of their own?
Alistair: My characters absolutely have agendas of their own – and if they don’t, it means I’m not listening to them. I think that when an author decides he or she is going to lay down the law and force the plot to go a certain way, they’re robbing themselves of the true magic of the story – and all the surprises along the way. Stephen King once said that plot is the last resort of bad writers – and I agree. I believe in following the characters and allowing them to show you where the story leads. When you trust them, they’ll take you places you never could have come up with on your own.
ATAI: What’s your favorite part of your book (or one of your books)?
Alistair: It’s a toss-up between the beginning and the end of every book – both of which are the most exciting times for me.
ATAI: What are you working on next?
Alistair: The next thing readers will see from me is Darling Girls, a collaboration with Tamara Thorne. Darling Girls is unique because it’s a follow-up of Tamara’s vampire novel Candle Bay, as well as my own novel, The Crimson Corset. Tamara and I gleefully tied our respective vampire worlds together and Darling Girls is the surprising result. It continues the Candle Bay story, and includes my vampires, Michael, Winter, and Chynna, on a trip to an eerie little tourist trap called Eternity for a vampire family reunion … with plenty of blood-spill along the way.
ATAI: Where can people find you online?
Alistair: The best place to find me and a list of all of my social media outlets is at my website, alistaircross.com
ATAI: Thank you for sharing with us and our audience.
Alistair: Thank you for having me!
*NOTE: ATAI does not edit the responses of the authors.
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