Author's Bookshelf: Tamara Thorne & Alistair Cross

We're bringing something a bit different to Writing in the Modern Age today. Awhile back, I had an idea for a new feature so I reached out to some author colleagues to see if they'd like to participate. I thought it might be nice to show readers a few books that have inspired authors. You might find it enlightening, and at least be able to answer the age old question, "What the heck do authors read?"



Writers are readers too! Most authors love to collect books for their vast personal libraries. The written word is fascinating to us, and many newer authors as well as those in the past have helped to shape who we are today. 

Without further ado, our guests today are Tamara Thorne and Alistair Cross, a talented author team specializing in paranormal, horror and thriller novels. Won't it be interesting to hear about a few books that have inspired them on their writing and publishing journeys?



Sounds pretty great to me. So, take it away, you two! :)




 Alistair Cross:


1. Peyton Place by Grace Metalious



Peyton Place, published in 1956, has sold over 10,000,000 copies world-wide and remains the fourth biggest selling novel of all time. Its sequel, Return to Peyton Place, published in 1959, was a national best-seller for many, many months. Considered scandalous in its time of publication, Peyton Place, stirred controversy with its explicit—for the time—depictions of sex and sins in a small New England town. Today, the once shocking novel and its sequel seem tame, and are taught in college English courses as classics of their time, well-written and honest in the evocation of the passions, jealousies, and secrets of small-town America.


Alistair's Thoughts: 

Everyone likes good gossip. Even when we try to be “decent” people and try to refrain, we all tune in a little when the hearsay gets racy. And Peyton Place provides us with a means of eavesdropping on a whole town full of dirty little secrets without compromising that sense of decency. Peyton Place was a bit of a go-to while we were writing Mother, and I recommend this book to anyone who likes scandal and un-put-down-able books.

2. Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier


"Rebecca is a work of immense intelligence and wit, elegantly written, thematically solid, suspenseful.." --Washington Post

"Daphne du Maurier created a scale by which modern women can measure their feelings." --Stephen King

Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again . . .

The novel begins in Monte Carlo, where our heroine is swept off her feet by the dashing widower Maxim de Winter and his sudden proposal of marriage. Orphaned and working as a lady's maid, she can barely believe her luck. It is only when they arrive at his massive country estate that she realizes how large a shadow his late wife will cast over their lives--presenting her with a lingering evil that threatens to destroy their marriage from beyond the grave.

First published in 1938, this classic gothic novel is such a compelling read that it won the Anthony Award for Best Novel of the Century.


Alistair's Thoughts:


With Rebecca began my love of the Gothic genres and my adoration for quiet horror. Rebecca is more about creaks on the stairs than screams from the hall, and this brand of subtle scariness has long inspired my own writing.


3. Rosemary's Baby by Ira Levin




A masterpiece of spellbinding suspense, where evil wears the most innocent face of all...

Rosemary Woodhouse and her struggling actor husband Guy move into the Bramford, an old New York City apartment building with an ominous reputation and mostly elderly residents. Neighbors Roman and Minnie Castavet soon come nosing around to welcome the Woodhouses to the building, and despite Rosemary's reservations about their eccentricity and the weird noises that she keeps hearing, her husband takes a special shine to them. Shortly after Guy lands a plum Broadway role, Rosemary becomes pregnant, and the Castavets start taking a special interest in her welfare. As the sickened Rosemary becomes increasingly isolated, she begins to suspect that the Castavets' circle is not what it seems...


Alistair's Thoughts:


Rosemary’s Baby has the distinction of being the only fictional book that ever made me lock the doors - as if evil would be dissuaded by a mere deadbolt. That being said, I don’t recommend this book to just anyone. There is a very particular creepiness that won’t appeal to all, but as someone who generally dislikes anything to do with Satanism, I can tell you that this book riveted me.

4. It by Stephen King




“A landmark in American literature” (Chicago Sun-Times)—Stephen King’s #1 national bestseller about seven adults who return to their hometown to confront a nightmare they had first stumbled on as teenagers…an evil without a name: It.

Welcome to Derry, Maine. It’s a small city, a place as hauntingly familiar as your own hometown. Only in Derry the haunting is real.

They were seven teenagers when they first stumbled upon the horror. Now they are grown-up men and women who have gone out into the big world to gain success and happiness. But the promise they made twenty-eight years ago calls them to reunite in the same place where, as teenagers, they battled an evil creature that preyed on the city’s children. Now, children are being murdered again and their repressed memories of that terrifying summer return as they prepare to once again battle the monster lurking in Derry’s sewers.

Readers of Stephen King know that Derry, Maine, is a place with a deep, dark hold on the author. It reappears in many of his books, including Bag of Bones, Hearts in Atlantis, and 11/22/63. But it all starts with It.

“Stephen King’s most mature work” (St. Petersburg Times), “It will overwhelm you… to be read in a well-lit room only” (Los Angeles Times).

Alistair's Thoughts:


I expected a story about a mean clown living in a sewer. What I got was something very, very different. It is a coming of age story that centers on fear and coming to terms with those fears. For all its horrific imagery, It is, in my opinion, absolutely beautiful, true to life … despite the mean clown in the sewer.

5. Violin by Anne Rice



This big, luscious novel carries us from nineteenth-century Vienna to present-day New Orleans and Rio de Janeiro as it tells the story of three charismatic figures bound together by their obsession with music.

One is an exquisite young woman who dreams of becoming a great musician. One is a violinist, the ghost of a Russian aristocrat, who preys upon the woman--using his musical genius to enchant, command, and manipulate her and draw her into his spectral realms. The third in this triumvirate--is the crank shade of Ludwig von Beethoven.

A fabulous trio. A seductively opulent world. An amalgam of the eerie and the romantic that could only come from Anne Rice at her inimitable best.

Alistair's Thoughts:


When someone asks me what my favorite book of all time is, I generally say Violin. After starting this novel two or three times - then stopping due to its graphic nature - I finally finished it, and when I did, I was changed. It was tragic and dark, yes … but it was also proportionately hopeful, and I have never read a book that caused me such emotional upheaval as Violin did. I envy the beauty of this novel, and often say I have a “Violin” buried somewhere deep inside of me, waiting to get out. One day, when I’m ready, I will write something that goes so unrelentingly dark - and so beautifully bright - as this novel. 


Tamara Thorne:


1. Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury



Ray Bradbury's moving recollection of a vanished golden era remains one of his most enchanting novels. Dandelion Wine stands out in the Bradbury literary canon as the author's most deeply personal work, a semi-autobiographical recollection of a magical small-town summer in 1928.
Twelve-year-old Douglas Spaulding knows Green Town, Illinois, is as vast and deep as the whole wide world that lies beyond the city limits. It is a pair of brand-new tennis shoes, the first harvest of dandelions for Grandfather's renowned intoxicant, the distant clang of the trolley's bell on a hazy afternoon. It is yesteryear and tomorrow blended into an unforgettable always. But as young Douglas is about to discover, summer can be more than the repetition of established rituals whose mystical power holds time at bay. It can be a best friend moving away, a human time machine who can transport you back to the Civil War, or a sideshow automaton able to glimpse the bittersweet future.
Come and savor Ray Bradbury's priceless distillation of all that is eternal about boyhood and summer.

Tamara's Thoughts:


While I love all of Ray Bradbury’s earlier works, Dandelion Wine is the one I’ve read and reread over the decades. Bradbury taught me that places are characters that can come to life with proper description. He also taught me that good prose is poetry.

2. The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson



The classic supernatural thriller by an author who helped define the genre...

First published in 1959, Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House has been hailed as a perfect work of unnerving terror. It is the story of four seekers who arrive at a notoriously unfriendly pile called Hill House: Dr. Montague, an occult scholar looking for solid evidence of a "haunting"; Theodora, his lighthearted assistant; Eleanor, a friendless, fragile young woman well acquainted with poltergeists; and Luke, the future heir of Hill House. At first, their stay seems destined to be merely a spooky encounter with inexplicable phenomena. But Hill House is gathering its powers—and soon it will choose one of them to make its own.


Tamara's Thoughts: 

Within, walls continued upright. Silence lay heavily… I searched for ghost stories my entire childhood and found very few that delivered. Then, in sixth grade, I discovered The Haunting of Hill House. At that age, all I saw was story, no subtext, and though I’ve read it a number of times since, it was that first reading that filled my soul and taught me what it took to write a great ghostly tale. 

3. Hell House by Richard Matheson




Rolf Rudolph Deutsch is going die. But when Deutsch, a wealthy magazine and newpaper publisher, starts thinking seriously about his impending death, he offers to pay a physicist and two mediums, one physical and one mental, $100,000 each to establish the facts of life after death.
Dr. Lionel Barrett, the physicist, accompanied by the mediums, travel to the Belasco House in Maine, which has been abandoned and sealed since 1949 after a decade of drug addiction, alcoholism, and debauchery. For one night, Barrett and his colleagues investigate the Belasco House and learn exactly why the townfolks refer to it as the Hell House.

Tamara's Thoughts:


Richard Matheson’s more physical take on a haunted house, Hell House is frightening, erotic, and contains science that was before its time. When I finally wrote my own haunted house novel, Haunted, I had many influences, but houses Hill and Hell were the primary ones. Mine is an homage to both.


4. The Complete Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle



Sherlock Holmes was the brain-child of British author Arthur Conan Doyle and is easily the most famous fictional detective of all time. The success and popularity of his stories helped launched the genre of detective fiction. With his (nearly) infallible logic, astute observation skills, gentlemanly conduct and endearing personality quirks, Holmes has been a favorite of readers around the world for over a century. This collection features most of the Sherlock Holmes stories written by Arthur Conan Doyle -- a total of 48 stories and 4 novels. This edition of the Complete Sherlock Holmes includes a foreword by the editor, and notes on the publishing history, as well as historiographical notes.

It also features an easy-to-navigate interactive table of contents listing the stories in chronological order. 

Tamara's Thoughts:

My brother presented me with The Complete Sherlock Holmes when I was in third grade. It was difficult reading at that young age, but I read and reread the stories, loving them. Doyle’s detective taught me all about delivering a mystery.

5. The Other by Thomas Tryon



Holland and Niles Perry are identical thirteen-year-old twins. They are close, close enough, almost, to read each other’s thoughts, but they couldn’t be more different. Holland is bold and mischievous, a bad influence, while Niles is kind and eager to please, the sort of boy who makes parents proud. The Perry's live in the bucolic New England town their family settled centuries ago, and as it happens, the extended clan has gathered at its ancestral farm this summer to mourn the death of the twins’ father in a most unfortunate accident. Mrs. Perry still hasn’t recovered from the shock of her husband’s gruesome end and stays sequestered in her room, leaving her sons to roam free. As the summer goes on, though, and Holland’s pranks become increasingly sinister, Niles finds he can no longer make excuses for his brother’s actions.

Thomas Tryon’s best-selling novel about a homegrown monster is an eerie examination of the darkness that dwells within everyone. It is a landmark of psychological horror that is a worthy descendent of the books of James Hogg, Robert Louis Stevenson, Shirley Jackson, and Patricia Highsmith.

Tamara's Thoughts:


Thomas Tryon’s novels, Harvest Home and The Other probably influenced Stephen King and many other writers to come. Both are excellent, but The Other - a story of a boy with problems - truly introduced me to psychological horror. There are scenes in this book that stand out in my mind to this day as some of the most chilling I’ve ever read. This is a truly frightening novel about familial horror. I thought of The Other often while we were writing Mother.


Thank you, Tamara and Alistair!


And here is a little about their new release, Mother


Book Blurb:


A Girl’s Worst Nightmare is Her Mother ...
Priscilla Martin. She’s the diva of Morning Glory Circle and a driving force in the quaint California town of Snapdragon. Overseer of garage sales and neighborhood Christmas decorations, she is widely admired. But few people know the real woman behind the perfectly coiffed hair and Opium perfume.

Family is Forever. And Ever and Ever ...
No one escapes Prissy’s watchful eye. No one that is, except her son, who committed suicide many years ago, and her daughter, Claire, who left home more than a decade past and hasn’t spoken to her since. But now, Priscilla’s daughter and son-in-law have fallen on hard times. Expecting their first child, the couple is forced to move back … And Prissy is there to welcome them home with open arms … and to reclaim her broken family.

The Past Isn’t Always as Bad as You Remember.
Sometimes it’s Worse ...
Claire has terrible memories of her mother, but now it seems Priscilla has mended her ways. When a cache of vile family secrets is uncovered, Claire struggles to determine fact from fiction, and her husband, Jason, begins to wonder who the monster really is. Lives are in danger - and Claire and Jason must face a horrifying truth … a truth that may destroy them … and will forever change their definition of “Mother.” 


Here is an excerpt.


He thought of Steffie, her long auburn hair and deep green eyes. Hot tears burned and he wiped them roughly away.
He’d given up wishing Mother hadn’t unplugged all the phones. Even if he could get hold of Steffie, he knew Mother would never let them live in peace. And Steffie
deserved better than the kind of life Mother would inflict on them. He’d never be free of Mother. He knew that. He’d surrendered - and was too tired, too resigned to fight her
when she’d come to bring him home from Brimstone. I’m so sorry, Steffie.

He stared at a bottle of vodka on his bedside table. Grey Goose, nothing but the best. The alcohol was one of the reasons he’d left in the first place - he knew he had to quit. And he had, for well over a year. But there it was. She’d brought it to him, saying it
would help his pain. This time she may be right. He shook a handful of pills onto his palm, grabbed the vodka from the table, and swallowed them down. The burn satisfied.
He was motionless a moment, waiting for some kind of feeling, some kind of signal from somewhere. But nothing happened. He didn’t even feel sick yet. He knew he’d taken

enough to do the job. More than enough: he wasn’t going to take any chances.
He rolled himself into the closet and pulled the door closed behind him when drowsiness began its dance. She would find his body before long, but he didn’t care; his soul would be free. And the only thing that mattered now was that she couldn’t follow him.


Genre: Psychological Thriller


What people are saying about Tamara and Alistair's books:


“Worth the price of admission... and then some!” – Holly Totten, Amazon
“Cross and Thorne hit it out of the park!” – Jennifer Joan German, Amazon
Horror that sticks in your mind. Impressive.” – Cianna Reider, Amazon


Purchase Links:


Amazon Universal link:


Interesting! Thank you for stopping by to give us a glimpse of your bookshelves!  :)


About the Authors:


Alistair Cross:


Alistair Cross was born in the western United States and began penning his own stories by the age of eight. First published in 2012, Alistair has since written several more books. His debut solo novel, The Crimson Corset, a vampiric tale of terror and seduction, was an immediate bestseller which earned praise from veteran vampire-lit author, Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, and New York Times bestseller, Jay Bonansinga, author of The Walking Dead series. In 2012, Alistair joined forces with international bestselling author, Tamara Thorne, and as Thorne & Cross, they write, among other things, the successful Gothic series, The Ravencrest Saga. Their debut collaboration, The Cliffhouse Haunting, reached the bestseller’s list in its first week of release. 


Author Links: 



Tamara Thorne:


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. Tamara’s interest in writing is lifelong, as is her fascination with the paranormal, occult, mythology and folklore. She’s been an avid ghost story collector and writer all her life. Tamara’s novels range from straight-out ghost stories to tales of witchcraft, conspiracies, UFOs, elemental forces, and vampires. No matter what topic she chooses, chances are you’ll find a ghost or two lurking in the background. Today, she and her frequent collaborator, Alistair Cross, share their worlds and continue to write about ghosts and other mysterious forces. Whether collaborating or writing solo, there is no shortage of humor, sex, blood, and spookiness. 


Author Links: 

Thorne & Cross blog: 


Their Books as a Duo:


Coming Soon:



Available Now:


Alistair's Books:


as Jared S. Anderson:


Tamara's Books:


Well, there you have it, readers! What a nice look at this awesome author duo's bookshelves! It was a pleasure to have them here! :)



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