The Awakening, the second installment of The Erotic Adventures of Belinda, is on its way…
Gothic Erotica by Thorne & Cross
A radio interviewer asked Alistair Cross and me how we write together and that was one of the most eye-opening questions we’ve ever had. She was amazed when we told her our method and said she’d never heard of anyone writing like that before. Evidently, many writers split things up with one brainstorming and the other writing. Neither of us can even imagine having any fun doing our job this way. To not be allowed to brainstorm would be horrible! And to not write would be just as bad! We can each imagine this working in non-fiction, but in fiction, if you don’t love both sides – creating and writing – where does that leave you? How can you imagine ideas for your plot and characters without being able to set them down as well, and vice versa? Can a good writer write without his or her imagination taking off and soaring to the heavens? It sounds absolutely horrible to us.
Our collaborations are a 50/50 effort. We plot together, we develop characters together, and we even transcribe together by getting on Skype, opening the Cloud, and working side by side. 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.
One very important part of our process that we stress very much when asked about it, is the personal side of our relationship. Writing is a job, a business, and although we are business partners, we are also friends. We may share the same vision, the same sensibilities, and even similar writing styles, but all of this is pointless without three very important elements: respect, honesty, and loyalty.
Respect comes first. We are aware of each other’s time. We meet every day, six days a week, and work anywhere from 8 to 10 hours. But if something comes up or one of us is running late, we are okay with that.
As for honesty… honesty is something you have to be comfortable with if you intend to write with another person. If one of us hates what the other is writing – though it hasn’t really happened – we’d say so… but kindly. If one of us isn’t feeling the same vibe as the other and thinks the story needs to go a different direction, we discuss it openly.
No drama. We are similar in that we both avoid drama – and the people who spew it – so one of us getting drawn into the chaos of the other one’s personal life issues is never a problem for us. This zero tolerance for drama, in fact, is probably the glue that holds this whole thing together. (Sure, we each tell the other what’s going on in our lives – we’re friends and that’s what friends do – but we don’t dwell. We go to work.)
So kindness, honesty, and a no drama policy is what makes up the respect facet of this deal. Then there is loyalty.
Loyalty comes into play because we are given a lot of advice by outside forces, and sometimes, the advice is not good. We’ve made a firm pact that no decisions will be made without the consent of the other one. No one is allowed to call one of us and discuss changes behind the other’s back. We are business partners, and we operate as such, no exceptions.
With loyalty comes trust, which could easily be the fourth part of the sum. We trust each other with the characters, the storyline, and on a personal level as well, but this trust is built on the foundation of the respect, honesty, and loyalty to which we adhere.
And now that the personal elements of our collaboration have been covered, we come to the creative part of the process.
Each day we spend an hour or two in the morning warming up. We chat, we do our PR and marketing work, whether it’s writing a blog, posting to Facebook, or answering interview questions. We spend a little time studying some aspect of our business most mornings as well, whether that’s going through a lot of covers or promotional posters and talking about what we like and dislike, discussing articles we’ve just read on traditional vs indie publishing, or anything else writing-oriented. We tell some jokes. We laugh a lot.
And then we get down to writing. If we’re having trouble getting going, we get silly, each sneaking in outrageous dialogue or descriptions for the other to laugh at. That’s actually one of the best tricks we’ve found for getting a scene moving. We’ll add on to the silliness, each of us, and suddenly the scene comes to life and, when we’re done, we remove the goofy stuff.
We each enjoy following certain characters and take the lead on our favorites, but we are also careful to switch off so that we each know every character well. To us, familiarity with our characters – all of them – is vital to the story.
While, individually, we both do a lot of world-building in order to get to know our characters and their locale, together, we probably spend twice as much time doing this. When you are collaborating, the littlest details become important and are (usually) best figured out beforehand because both of us must know whether a character has dimples or drives a beat-up old Chevy or hates seafood. Otherwise, incongruities can get past us, unnoticed.
The characters’ voices, however, evolve during writing and whoever creates the voice sets the tone the other follows for that character. For example, a character in one of our upcoming novels has a unique way of swearing that Alistair made up. We both love voicing her and work together to get the most insane profanities out of her as we write, always following Alistair’s original style.
While we occasionally write two scenes in tandem – this usually happens when we are writing one scene together and one of us is inspired by something the other writes – we still consider ourselves to be writing together; after all, via Skype, we have instant access to one another. After that, we go over both scenes together and make sure everything is in synch and do a light edit. Mostly, though, we quite literally write together. One of us may write most of a scene with the other trailing along fixing things, or simply taking in the tale as it evolves. Sometimes we take turns in the same scene. Tamara often takes over descriptions of locale because she really enjoys it. Alistair enjoys writing certain situations and takes those. We think the main reason one or the other of us takes the lead, though, is character. We each have our favorites.
We write in similar voices and have similar sensibilities, senses of humor, likes and dislikes, and this, of course, is part of our chemistry. But if you have a collaborator you constantly disagree with, our question is why? If you have nothing in common, how can you enjoy your work – or one another?
We received some great feedback the other day. After reading The New Governess, the first installment of our Gothic Erotica serialized novel, The Erotic Adventures of Belinda, a reader said to us: “Which one of you wrote this? I can’t tell.” To which we happily answered, “We both wrote it.” And we did. Just like we wrote this blog. Together, in the Cloud.
Gothic Erotica by Tamara Thorne & Alistair Cross
Belinda is the new governess and is settling into her home at Ravencrest Manor. Her employer, Mr. Manning, is handsome and mysterious, with kind, welcoming eyes, but Mrs. Heller, the head housekeeper, wears black stilettos and studies Belinda with a different kind of gaze… a gaze that frightens her.
After getting through her first day at Ravencrest, Belinda fell into bed and discovered that, after dark, there were more inhabitants of the manor than she knew; lusty, restless, and not of this world, they are ready to introduce themselves – and their passions – to Belinda. How did she sleep? Find out at Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo.
In July, find out what happens next! Join her as she explores the house, the spirits, and her own dark desires.
What is Gothic Erotica? It’s what wakes you up in the middle of the night as randy as you are terrified. It’s those things that go bump – and grind – in the night. It’s the sound of footsteps at the foot of your bed that, instead of fading away, draw nearer and, well, get what they want.
When we began The Erotic Adventure of Belinda, we had a clear vision of what we wanted to accomplish. We wanted to frighten our readers while simultaneously seducing them. We wanted to build a world as eerie as it was arousing… we wanted to stir a new set of emotions.
The first installment, titled The New Governess is now available on all formats. If you like your terror titillating, your fright fulfilling, and the kinds of stories that curl your hair with horror and your toes with desire, Belinda is your girl. And she’s available now at: Amazon, Smashwords, Kobo, and Barnes and Noble.
Let the adventures begin…
The Erotic Adventures of Belinda
Coming soon from Tamara Thorne and Alistair Cross
“If you’ve finished all of Sylvia Day’s Bared to You novels and are craving more, look no further. In Belinda: The New Governess, Tamara Thorne and Alistair Cross have created a world that is rich, opulent, and smoldering with the promise of seduction. You’ll be able to feel the slide of the satin sheets, taste the fizz of champagne.” ~ Sylvia Shults, author of Double Double Love and Trouble
THE NEW GOVERNNESS
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.
SEDUCED BY DARKNESS
She followed him inside the chamber. It was lit only by guttering wall sconces and the dying flames in a fireplace across the room. Rich tapestries lined the walls and the tall heavy four-poster bed was covered with soft furs.
“Come be with me, Belinda.”
She raised her eyes and looked across the bed. He stood in shadows, but she saw the glint of his teeth as he smiled. “My darling girl.”
Heat rose in her belly and shot lower. Flushed, embarrassed, she looked down at herself, saw her body through the gossamer robe, saw her nipples turning dark and hard. It didn’t matter. Nothing mattered but that voice …
“The Erotic Adventures of Belinda” by Tamara Thorne and Alistair Cross is a fun, intricate read. The erotica is well crafted and the ornate setting descriptions are breath-taking. Most importantly, from page one, readers fall in love with Belinda. We care about what happens to her, and we hope exactly what that is remains deliciously extensive!” ~ Michael Aronovitz: Author of Alice Walks
Michael Aronovitz, author of the terrifying ghost story Alice Walks and the subversively delightful The Voices in Our Heads has honored us with comments about “The New Governess,” the first installment of The Erotic Adventures of Belinda. We’re thrilled.
Here’s what he has to say about it:
“The Erotic Adventures of Belinda by Tamara Thorne and Alistair Cross is a fun, intricate read. The erotica is well crafted and the ornate setting descriptions are breath-taking. Most importantly, from page one, readers fall in love with Belinda. We care about what happens to her, and we hope exactly what that is remains deliciously extensive!” ~ Michael Aronovitz, author of Alice Walks and The Voices in Our Heads
The adventures are about to begin…
The Erotic Adventures of Belinda is a true gothic thriller, filled with steamy romance, ghosts, and some of the hottest erotica you’ve ever read.
The New Governess
This morning we completed our final round of revisions and sent the first installment of The Erotic Adventures of Belinda to the publisher. This first installment is titled The New Governess. It has lots of ground to cover, so it’s twice as long as the future installments. We plan to release new adventures every four to six weeks.
The New Governess takes Belinda out of the life she knows and places her in a dazzling – and allegedly haunted – manor house called Ravencrest. But her beautiful new home comes with an assortment of unusual staff members, including a handsome English butler who seems surrounded by secrets, an icy power-mad head housekeeper with a chip on her shoulder and a whip in her hand, and – most attractive of all to Belinda – her mysterious new employer, Mr. Eric Manning.
After just one night in Ravencrest Manor, Belinda realizes that the staff, as strange they are, have nothing on the other residents of the house – the ones who only come out at night… the ones who enter and dictate her dreams, twisting them into dark and carnal visions of her deepest desires… and her greatest fears.
The adventures of Belinda are about to begin…
Available in June everywhere ebooks are sold.