Friday, October 31, 2014

A Character Interview with Belinda from DARKER SHADOWS plus a conversation with authors Tamara Thorne and Alistair Cross!

Today we're bringing something different to Writing in the Modern Age in the form of a character interview.  These character interviews, now and in the future, should prove to be very enlightening for all of us. 

We have the pleasure of meeting Belinda Moorland, a character from Darker Shadows, The Ghosts of Ravencrest Book 1. We'll get a chance to talk to the authors, Tamara Thorne and Alistair Cross, in a bit, but now we have on the stage...Belinda!


 










 Interview

Marie Lavender:  Hello, Belinda.  Please have a seat.


Character Belinda Moorland:  Thank you.  It's a pleasure to be here.

Marie:  We're going to start out with some simple questions, okay?

Belinda:  Sure.

Marie:  So, what is your occupation? Are you any good at it?  Do you like it?  

Belinda: I’m employed by millionaire Eric Manning as live-in governess to his two children, Thad and Cynthia, at Ravencrest Manor, a beautiful estate in the hills above town. I try to be good at my job and some days, I think I am. Other days, I’m not so sure. I do like it, yes, though Ravencrest is a little scary, especially at night. They say it’s haunted. I’m starting to believe them.

Marie:  Oh, really?  I'd love to hear about that.  We'll get to that subject in a few minutes.

So, what is your family like?


Belinda:  My mother and I have always had difficulty getting along. (My dad left Mother when I was nine. I’m an only child.) She kept me in private religious schools and pretty much micro-managed me. Until I went to work for Mr. Manning, I didn’t know how sheltered my life has been. It’s ridiculous. Now, Mother keeps texting me and leaving voice mails, but I won’t let her tell me what to do anymore. She’s never approved of anything I’ve ever done on my own.

Marie:  Sorry to hear that, Belinda.  Parents can be overprotective sometimes.  

What did your childhood home look like?

Belinda: Mother and I lived in a little two bedroom bungalow. It was kind of dark inside because Mother was afraid of people looking in the windows and kept the drapes closed all the time. She mostly had landscape prints in the living room and a bunch of those big-eyed children from the 1960s, plus paintings of Jesus on her bedroom walls. When I was little, she decorated my room with a bunch of clown pictures that were famous when she was a girl. I hated them and when I was nine, I tore them up and burned them. Boy, did I get in trouble, but it was worth it because my bad dreams mostly stopped! 

Marie:  Oh, man.  I hear you.  Clowns can be scary.  

So, do you have any hobbies?  What do you enjoy doing?   

Belinda: I love music and theater; I minored in theater arts. I enjoy playing piano. I love to read mysteries and science fiction. My favorite movies are Amadeus, Young Frankenstein, and Aliens. On TV I still love X-Files, Dark Shadows, Twilight Zone, and Supernatural. Mother wouldn’t let me watch any of them, but I saw them at my friend’s house sometimes. I love cats, too. Mother disapproved of pets, especially cats, but Mr. Manning has given me permission to adopt one!  I’m going to name her Ripley. 

Marie:  Awesome!  I love cats.  I'm going to ask you some more serious questions now.

What is your greatest dream, Belinda?

Belinda: To live free and be in full command of my own life. 

Marie:  What kind of person do you wish you could be? What is stopping you?

Belinda: I wish I wouldn’t worry about making other people angry. I want to be better at standing up for myself. And I’m trying very hard to learn.
 
  Marie:  Who was your first love?
Belinda:  Fox Mulder of The X-Files. When I was little, I pretended I was Agent Scully.  

Marie:  (Laughs.)  Yeah, I can't blame you for having a crush on Fox.  Okay, this next question is really serious.

What's the most terrible thing that ever happened to you?
 
Belinda:  I won’t tell you the most terrible thing, but I will tell you the scariest. It happened just recently at Ravencrest! Mrs. Heller, the House Administrator, sent me to the basement to retrieve some books that the previous governess used.


It’s cold and dark down there, and the place is huge. The books were kept in an old chapel room, so after getting lost a few times, I finally found the room and the books. Anyway, when I was on my way back, I kept hearing strange sounds coming from down one of the halls; it sounded like someone being slapped, or maybe spanked. Whatever it was, it scared me and I ran. I rounded a corner and that’s when I saw them: three nuns floating toward me. Floating above the ground - and they had completely black eyes!



I took off at a dead run and Grant - he’s the butler - helped me calm down. When I told him what I’d seen, he said that, many years ago, there was an orphanage in the east wing that was run by nuns named Faith, Hope, and Charity. He said the slapping sounds I heard were probably the residual noises of children being punished by Sister Faith, who was really quite mad. I’ll never go in that basement again!


http://www.amazon.com/Darker-Shadows-Ghosts-Ravencrest-Book-ebook/dp/B00OZ4C21C/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1414616068&sr=1-1&keywords=alistair+cross


Marie:  Wow!  I can't blame you, Belinda.  That is spooky.  And how apropos is that, considering it's Halloween? (Shudders.)  All right.  Let's steer this conversation in another direction.
What was your dream growing up?  Did you achieve that dream?  If so, in what ways was it not what you expected?  If you never achieved the dream, why not?
Belinda:  I have lots of dreams. My biggest one is to find true love;-) My next one is to work in the theater. I used to want to be a scientist at NASA, but I gave that up when I realized I’m lousy at math. (Laughs.)
 Marie:  (Laughs as well.)  You and me both!  Math is definitely not my friend; that's what calculators are for, right?  Just kidding.
So, who is your role model?
 Belinda:  Ripley, from Aliens. 
Marie:  I see.  Now I understand the cat name.  (Winks.)
Is there someone you pretend to like but really dislike?
   
Belinda:  Mrs. Heller. She frightens me for a lot of reasons. One, her dislike for me is obvious; she seems like she’s out to get me. Also, her “religious” practices are very mysterious. I wish I could say more about this, but I’m afraid of what she might do to me if I did. I don’t know who might see this interview. Maybe that sounds paranoid, but I know she’s watching me. And she’s not the only one. I have to be careful. I hope you understand.
  Marie:  Hmm...yes, I do.  I have to admit that you've caught my interest, Belinda.  I can't wait to find out more about what's going on at Ravencrest.  
So, what is your deepest desire?
  Belinda:  I can’t really talk about that here. It’s very personal.
Marie:  All right.  What is your greatest fear? 
  
  Belinda: That I’ll see Sisters Faith, Hope, and Charity again!
Marie:  Well, I can't blame you for fearing that!  I would too. (Smiles reassuringly and pats Belinda's hand.)
I want to thank you for visiting us today, Belinda.  It's been a pleasure to have you here.  


Now, let's shift over and get the perspective of the authors.  We have Tamara Thorne and Alistair Cross on the stage today!  Hi!
 
   
Author Tamara Thorne:  Hello.
 
  






Author Alistair Cross:  Hello.






  Marie:  We just got to talk to the heroine of your story, Belinda.  Quite an interesting character.  Can you tell us a little about her?
 Authors Tamara and Alistair:  Belinda is a lot of fun, and we love her dearly. She has some great challenges ahead, as well as some horrific surprises. We don’t have the heart to tell her that the phantom nuns are just the tip of a very terrifying iceberg. Or that Ravencrest holds so many mysteries she may never unravel them all. We believe in her ability to handle these horrors, though, and we look forward to seeing how the experiences shape her.


 Marie:  What are your character's greatest strengths?
 Tamara and Alistair:  She knows right from wrong. She’s moral and forgiving.
 Marie:  What are her greatest weaknesses? 
 Tamara and Alistair:  Self-doubt. 
 Marie:  What are some of her favorite foods?
 Tamara and Alistair:  Onion rings, salads, grilled cheese and bacon sandwiches, and hot cocoa.
Marie:  What's a positive quality that your character is unaware that he or she has?   

Tamara and Alistair:  Belinda doesn’t know it, but she’s strong. If she’s able to harness her potential and grow from her strange and often horrific experiences at Ravencrest, she will be capable of great power. 
 Marie:  Will readers like or dislike this character, and why?
  Tamara and Alistair:  Belinda will appeal to readers looking for a character they can follow long-term; a character who grows over time, changing as a result of her experiences.  


  Great!  Well, now that we have a real taste of Belinda, we have a few questions for you as well as the authors.   
 
  Marie:  What first gave you the idea for Darker Shadows?
 Tamara and Alistair:  Our mutual love of ghosts, sex, and all things gothic.  We both love Dark Shadows because it explored so many gothically spooky things; it never got old. We want to do the same, but with a lot more sexual heat. Our ghosts don’t just moan in hallways. They moan in bedrooms, too!
Marie: (Laughs.)  All right, you two.  Let's try to keep it clean in here.  
So, what are your writing styles like?  Are you pantsters or plotters?
 
 Tamara and Alistair:   Both of us are, by nature, plotters, but we also delight in letting our characters surprise us. Characters are very important to us, no matter what we’re writing. We like to follow their lead; they always know best.   
 Marie:  I know exactly what you mean.  No matter how much you try to direct things, the characters always step in and set you back on track. 

Okay, I’m throwing this one in for our aspiring writers.  Did you come across any specific challenges in writing Darker Shadows or getting it published?  What would you do differently the next time?  
 
  Tamara and Alistair:  When writing a serialized novel, knowing your plot is vital; if you don’t, you’re even more likely to write yourself into a corner than you are in a regular novel because once a chapter is in print, you can’t go just back and change things.  
 Marie:  I agree.  That is a challenge. 
Honestly, I am curious to know more about your collaboration together.  Sometimes when writers pair up on a project, it doesn't always work because of the varying personalities.  Maybe you two can fill us in on how that works during your upcoming author interview, all right?
 Tamara and Alistair:  (Nods.)  Of course. 
Well, it was such a pleasure having you here on Writing in the Modern Age.  Readers, you will just have to pick up a copy of this awesome book!  

http://bookgoodies.com/a/B00OZ4C21C
 
Here is the blurb for Darker Shadows.

When Belinda Moorland steps across the threshold of Ravencrest Manor, she feels as if she’s entered a fantasy world. The mansion is breathtaking, and her new employer, Eric Manning, is as mysterious as he is handsome.


But after just one night, she begins to suspect there is more to Ravencrest than she was told. Haunted by nightmares and seduced by erotic dreams, Belinda realizes her new home has a dark side. By day, the house and grounds are sublime, but the night is alive with dark shadows and phantom footsteps in empty corridors. Eyes - and hands - are upon her, and not all of them belong to the living.

 Purchase Link:
Amazon Universal Link:  http://bookgoodies.com/a/B00OZ4C21C
 About Alistair Cross and Tamara Thorne:
 Alistair Cross grew up on horror novels and scary movies, and by the age of eight, began writing his own stories. In 2012, his first novel, Beautiful Monster, was published by Damnation Books. under the pseudonym Jared S. Anderson. Find out more about him at: http://alistaircross.com



   Tamara Thorne's first novel was published in 1991, and 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. Learn more about her at: http://tamarathorne.com

 

In collaboration, Thorne and Cross are currently writing The Ghosts of Ravencrest, a sexy serial novel full of dark shadows, ghosts, witches, and mysteries. (The first three installments, Darker Shadows, Awakening, and The New Governess are now available in omnibus form.) Their horror novel, Grandma’s Rack, will appear this winter, and another big horror novel is almost complete. 

 Author Links: 

  
Book:
 
http://bookgoodies.com/a/B00OZ4C21C