I’ll admit that I have always had a weakness for a great vampire story, and Alistair Cross’s fast-paced horror novel, The Crimson Corset, absolutely fits the bill. This story is no Twilight; it’s a gritty, nail-biting read that reminds you that vampires are not for cuddling. Add to that strong female characters and unique twists, and you have an excellent read.
In this interview, Alistair shares some of his writing best practices, inspirations, and advice for fellow authors.
Tell us a little about yourself.
I read a lot, write a lot, and spend a lot of time removing my cat from my shoulders and face so I can see the computer screen and do my work. I love the arts and am especially enchanted by great writers and great musicians. Outside of writing, I enjoy photography, loud hard music, and running. Especially when it rains.
What was the original inspiration for your vampire novel, The Crimson Corset?
It’s hard to say. Different aspects of this novel were inspired by different things. The White Room (a kink dungeon in the Crimson Corset nightclub) was inspired by a dance club I went to several years ago. My antagonist, Gretchen VanTreese, was inspired by a woman I saw on television. The character of Brooks, my protagonist’s brother, was inspired by a pizza delivery boy. The plot itself came from a mix of things too extensive and jumbled to accurately identify.
You have created a powerful female heroine in your tale. How did you develop her as a character?
I wanted Samantha Corbett to be strong but feminine, and for this, I drew inspiration from several literary heroines – everyone from Katniss Everdeen to Scarlett O’Hara. I gave her a rough home life because I wanted her to have an inherent knowledge of her own strengths and weakness before coming face to face with her real tormentors, the vampires of the Crimson Corset. I wanted her to have a strong will, a sharp wit, and the kind of survival skills that would hopefully get her through the nightmare that awaited her in the story. I liked her from the beginning and wanted her to survive, but wasn’t sure until the end whether or not she would. So I gave her the qualities I thought she’d need – and hoped for the best.
Your protagonist, Cade, has a unique voice. How did you develop his personality?
Cade Colter remains one of the most difficult characters I’ve ever written. It’s always harder to write good guys because they have to be interesting and likable. When it comes to villains, they just need to be interesting; they’re so much easier.
I developed Cade’s personality through trial and error. I originally had a hard time finding his voice and eventually realized it was because I was trying to make him into something he wasn’t. As I continued writing, I learned to trust him and once I did, Cade presented himself to me, fully-formed and ready to be written.
Many of the readers of this blog are self published. Do you have any advice or marketing tips that have worked well for you?
Author interviews, guest blog posts, and reviews have worked well for me. Whether traditionally or independently published, the goal is to achieve exposure. Once people know about you, the book sales will follow, but trying to push a book is often an exercise in futility. It’s counterproductive to force your product on consumers. You just have to let people know you’re here and what you have to offer – and then allow them decide whether or not they’re interested.
What is the most unusual thing that has ever inspired your writing?
The mating habits of porcupines. I’d elaborate, but the subsequent data is unsavory.
Is there anything else you’d like us to know about you?
Last year, my collaborator, Tamara Thorne, and I began a horror-themed radio show called Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE! It airs on Thursdays at 9:30 pm EST and we have featured guests such as Charlaine Harris, Laurell K. Hamilton, and Christopher Rice. We talk about writing, horror, ghosts, and all kinds of fun things, so check out our Haunted Nights LIVE! page on Facebook, and come give us a visit.
If you have any other questions or comments for Alistair Cross, comment below!