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How Do You Collaborate? by Tamara Thorne and Alistair Cross – Guest Blog

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Tamara Thorne and Alistair Cross who are celebrating the recent release of Darling Girls, the first book in their The Vampires of Candle Bay and Crimson Cove Book series.


Our latest novel, Darling Girls, has hit the stands, bringing with it the question, “How do you two collaborate?”

Most writers split things up with one brainstorming and the other writing, or each doing a chapter then compiling them afterward, but we do things differently. We love spending our workdays together in our virtual office in the Cloud where we can brainstorm and write together in real time. Between the Cloud and Skype, we have eight-hour days – often more – together and this gives us a degree of knowledge and understanding in our work that other collaborators don’t enjoy. We write and edit so intimately that we can rarely even guess who originally conceived of an idea, let alone who wrote what part, and we wouldn’t have it any other way. We work together and take our breaks together. We also write our solo novels in our virtual office, where we can bounce ideas and help each other research and edit as needed.

The real work starts before the book begins. For several weeks prior to putting “pen to paper,” we submerge ourselves in world-building, character development, and plot, all of which we do together – a total 50/50 effort. We each “own” our books – and the characters within them – in equal proportion. And we are each allowed complete creative freedom because, even after a plot is mapped out, things change once the writing begins – characters do things you didn’t anticipate, and the plot thickens in unexpected, wonderful ways. We always make allowances for this. “No surprise for the writer, no surprise for the reader,” is something we live by. Because we trust our instincts and our characters, the stories are able to take on lives of their own – independent of our own ideals. And that’s how we like it. That’s how we know the story is working. That’s where the real magic is for us.

That said, sometimes Tamara takes the lead, sometimes Alistair does – but nothing is written without both of us present. We each have our own individual strengths and weaknesses, and we each are aware of the other’s. Luckily for us – as we learned early on – our weaknesses and strengths balance out; where one of us has difficulty, the other is at ease.

And with each book that we write, our system only becomes smoother. By the time we got to Darling Girls, our fifth collaboration, it’s become a familiar but exciting routine. With this book, because it involves characters from our previous respective solo novels, it moved seamlessly. Since Tamara’s Candle Bay and Alistair’s Crimson Corset vampires are slightly different, we had an especially good time creating lore that explained the differences – and similarities – in vampire physiology.

Our vampires have met previously in Alistair’s The Crimson Corset, and that’s where we got the idea to more thoroughly combine and explore our vampiric worlds. And that’s what Darling Girls is – a merging of the two. We’ve also included other characters readers may find familiar – DJ Coastal Eddie Fortune (who originated years ago in Candle Bay and has been heard in many of our books since then) has a real role in this book. Another is Sheriff Zach Tully, the hero of the novel, Eternity, which is the mysterious little town where Darling Girls takes place.

We always use crossover characters – and places – in our books. We enjoy tying them together and the readers tell us they like seeing their favorite characters in new works. We had a blast writing Darling Girls and there’s plenty more of the ever-expanding Thorne & Cross universe to come.

The vampires of Candle Bay and Crimson Cove come together for the Biting Man Festival in Eternity, California, to celebrate a centuries-old tradition that quickly turns murderous as they’re faced with old enemies, uncontrolled bloodlust, and the unpredictable antics of a self-proclaimed vampire slayer who is hellbent on destroying them all.

About the Authors: 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 and Mother with Tamara Thorne and is working on several other projects. His debut solo novel, The Crimson Corset, was an immediate bestseller.
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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.

Together, Thorne & Cross also host the popular radio show, Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE!, which has included such guests as Anne Rice of The Vampire Chronicles; Laurell K. Hamilton of the Anita Blake Vampire Hunter novels; world-wide bestseller, V.C. Andrews (Andrew Neiderman); Charlaine Harris of the Southern Vampire Mysteries and basis of the HBO series, True Blood; Jeff Lindsay, author of the Dexter novels that inspired the hit television series; #1 New York Times bestseller, Kim Harrison; Peter Atkins, screenwriter of Hellraiser: 2, 3, and 4; Mick Garris, film director of Hocus Pocus, Psycho IV: The Beginning, and Stephen King’s The Stand; and New York Times bestsellers Preston & Child, Christopher Rice, Jonathan Maberry, and Christopher Moore.

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Buy the book at Amazon.