Tamara dishes about her new novel, Brimstone, plus lots of other things. David Kemph asked some great questions.
by Tamara Thorne
My books often start with a dream, and that’s how Eternity -on sale now for 99 cents – began.
One night I dreamed I was driving in the mountains. They were tall and green, the ground dotted with melting snow, the road a twisting asphalt ribbon spinning out through the shadows and sunlight. The incline was so steep that sometimes the car felt like it was going to tip over backward. And then my destination came into view.
The town lay in a little valley in the shadow of a tall mountain called Icehouse. Quaintly beautiful, it was exactly as I would later describe in it the novel – a huge green park surrounded by businesses. I kept driving as the road dipped toward downtown Eternity. As I neared, I saw a big blue house with white trim with a sign out front that said, “Dimple’s Boarding House.”
Next thing you know, I’m inside and an older couple named Dimples were introducing me to their guests. Among them was Elvis Presley – and he was looking healthy. The Dimples went on to warn me that when I explored the town’s local landmark, Little Stonehenge, I should watch out for a sanitarium escapee named Jim Morrison who, unlike Elvis, was a pretender, an escapee from Shady Pines Sanitarium.
I don’t remember much else from the dream, but those images were so vivid that I wrote them down and immediately began playing with the idea that would become Eternity.
The plot didn’t take long to put together because I was ready to write another book about serial killers and I really wanted an excuse to study Jack the Ripper in detail. I’d long been a fan of Ripper entertainment; my very favorite was and is a 1988 two-part miniseries starring Michael Caine as Chief Inspector Abberline. In this version, the royal physician, Sir William Gull, is the Ripper, which is patently absurd – but it’s the thought that counts and it’s a great movie. (Gull has been named as the Ripper numerous times, but in reality he wouldn’t have been physically able to carry out the crimes.)
I delved deep into Ripper lore and used it throughout Eternity; my Ripper was one of the original suspects and while I make no claims to know who the Ripper actually was, my suspect fit perfectly with my story.
The prologue opens with a tour guide discovering Sheriff Frank Lawson (cousin to John Lawson of Moonfall) dismembered on Icehouse Mountain, in the prehistoric stone circle known as Little Stonehenge. It’s rumored to be some sort of portal, sort of a wormhole with other connections on earth (Stonehenge, Sedona, and many more) that sometimes deposits strangers in Eternity. Most people think it’s nothing but tourist hype. . .
Soon, former Los Angeles police detective Zach Tully drives north to take over as as Eternity’s Sheriff. He has delusions of Mayberry when he arrives which are quickly dashed. Tully, a man haunted by the murder of his family by the Backdoor Killer – the serial killer that got away – is burned out and thinks Eternity’s quiet is the answer. Instead, he is immediately beset by citizens telling him about Bigfoot, UFOs, sanitarium escapees, and claims that Ambrose Bierce is their mayor and Amelia Earhart is the postmistress.
Tully can handle all that, but then the murders begin in earnest. There’s no rhyme or reason to the gruesome homicides but Tully knows he’s up against a serial killer for the ages.
As a side note, my collaborator, Alistair Cross, and I are currently working on a sequel to my novel, Candle Bay. It takes place in Eternity, when my vampires – and several of Alistair’s vampires from his book, The Crimson Corset, are taking a road trip there for a vampire family reunion. Look for more action in Eternity later this year! And right now you can get Eternity for .99 cents on Amazon.
Vampires for .99!
Some years ago a young woman named Amanda Pearce came to a sleepy little California town on the central coast where she began work as concierge at the Candle Bay Hotel & Spa. She liked Natasha and Stephen Darling – the siblings who owned the inn, and was especially attracted to Stephen, a tall, broody drink of … water. A good girl, Amanda didn’t even allow herself to fantasize about him because she knew you shouldn’t have affairs in the workplace. And Stephen, though attracted to her, kept his fangs to himself.
She met Natasha and Stephen’s uncle, Orion Darling and thought him eccentric because of his identification with The Godfather – even his office was an exact replica of the one in the movie – but that was fine with her. And then, along came a stranger, an old family friend – or so he claimed – named Julian Valentyn. There was something about him that frightened her, but Amanda was too happy in her new position to question things.
But after a run-in or three with Stephen’s lascivious, eternally sixteen-year-old twin sisters, Lucy and Ivy, and then finding a bloodless body in a laundry cart that never seemed to stay in one place, she began to think the hotel wasn’t quite what she’d bargained for.
The bodies began piling up, but Amanda, her love for Stephen growing, persevered through every trial, through the strange dreams about Julian Valentyne, and despite threats and dangers at every turn. And at the end of the story she and Stephen had their first kiss.
But the question was never answered: Did he turn her or didn’t he?
At last, that – and many other questions – will be answered.
The sequel to Candle Bay had been planned for years, but simmered on a backburner until after Alistair wrote his vampire novel, The Crimson Corset, and asked if he might give the Darling clan cameo roles in the book. Tamara happily agreed and it went so well that she and Alistair decided to tackle the Candle Bay sequel as a collaboration, bringing together both Tamara’s Darlings (and Julian Valentyn, of course) and Alistair’s vamps – particularly peace-loving Michael and his lieutenants, Winter – the big lusty fellow with a deadly sense of humor – and Chynna – a beautiful warrior with a soft spot for her white tigers, Absinthe and Hyacinthe.
In the sequel, there is a vampiric festival coming up – a very special one that only occurs every century or so – in Eternity, California, a tiny town in the shadows of Icehouse Mountain, where Sheriff Zach Tully once battled a time-travelling Jack the Ripper. It’s a town where people like Ambrose Bierce, Elvis, and Amelia Earhart are rumored to live thanks to a supernaturally-charged prehistoric monument known as ‘Little Stonehenge.’
Eternity is also on the bucket list for vampires as it was once the home-away-from-home for vamps misplaced after Atlantis met its watery death thousands of years ago. Icehouse Mountain is rumored to be the site of a very special vampiric holiday where the vamps gather to celebrate their long ago champion and king, the Trueborn, Kelieu. Think of it as Christmas with fangs.
Natasha Darling of Candle Bay and Michael Ward of Crimson Cove are travelling together to the festival in Eternity, and they have an intense past together. But these days, Michael is celibate while Natasha remains hot as hellfire, igniting their reunion with plenty of sparks and steam. And when Juicy Lucy and Poison Ivy carpool with Winter and Chynna, well, Chynna finds herself in charge of keeping everyone’s hands – and fangs – to themselves. As for Stephen, Julian, and Amanda, that eternal triangle is coming to a head. Will wedding bells chime? Will fangs fly? Will blood spill? Will the serial killer have a stake in the action? Will Sheriff Tully decide he’s had enough?
In the sequel, we again meet all these vampires and humans – as well as some fresh faces – as they head up to Eternity, some for marriage, some for fun, some to kill vampires, some to seduce them. Even the rarely-seen-but-oft-heard deejay, Coastal Eddie Fortune, is going. He’d really rather not – he’s no fool – but what can you do when you’re in love … with the mother of a serial killer?
We are hard at work on the sequel, approaching mid-point, and expect to see it in print before 2016 ends. Until then, you can read Candle Bay for just .99 now through Sunday, to refresh your memory and get ready for the sequel! Eternityand The Crimson Corset are also available if you really want to do your homework.
Thunder Road began with a modern cowboy named Tom Abernathy. One day, he simply emerged, fully formed, and ambled patiently around in my head for quite some time before another character came to life via one of the most horrifying yet fascinating nightmares I’ve ever had. Not long after that, I read about UFO reports in the California High Desert, out by my favorite historical amusement park, Calico Ghost Town. (Even if you’ve never visited Calico, you may have seen bits of it in movies like Tremors 4.)
I had cowboys, amusement parks, serial killers, and UFOs – but I needed one more thing. I remembered that, years and years ago, there had been a cult of sorts surrounding a high desert structure called the Integratron, where people went to try to communicate with aliens. While I kept some UFO cultists hanging around Old Madelyn Amusement park – Madland, my version of Calico – I decided my main cult would be a religious one. That was because too many missionaries had been knocking on my door lately and I needed some sweet revenge.
Also, I really wanted to try my hand at an apocalypse novel and where there are cowboys, there are horses, so I suddenly had visions of the Four Horsemen prancing through my skull. I was now officially in love with the the book.
The mountains around Calico are famous. As the sun sets, they glow with eerie colors cast by all the minerals that were mined there besides silver. One of the most famous was borax, as in Boraxo Hand Soap. The chemical was hauled by a twenty-mule team on a hard road between mining towns (all the way out to Death Valley) and then into the city. I had walked the road behind Calico and recalled seeing it on TV as a little kid. What better name than Thunder Road, especially since I knew drag racing was going to be a problem in Madland. So I named my new novel for Bruce Springsteen’s song. He, in turn, had been inspired by the poster of the 1958 Robert Mitchum movie of the same name. It was about running moonshine. It all fit.
So, there, you have it. Cowboys, sheriffs, tattooed ladies, a sexy shepherdess, horses, rodeos, crazy prophets and crazier followers babbling about the coming apocalypse, aliens, one ghost story (how could I skip ghosts?), a beautiful UFO researcher, lots of quotes by Jacques Vallee, and not one, but two – count ‘em, two – serial killers!
In addition to being a very fun write, Thunder Road gave me some great returns. One was a friendship with Jacques Vallee (the French scientist in Close Encounters of the Third Kind is based on him); and another was a treasure trove of ghost stories.
While I believe the UFO sightings up in that area of the desert are primarily atmosphere or military related, I came to find out – and witness – that the real Calico Ghost Town is absolutely overrun with ghostly anomalies that’ll knock your socks off (though you’ll get nothing but denials if you ask those currently running the park). But that’s a story for another novel…
An excerpt from Thunder Road:
‘Justin had never been in here before, and he looked around, impressed with the rich, dark colors, the candlesticks and stacks of cards, the Tiffany lamp in the corner. He sat at the table and reached for the crystal ball.
“Don’t touch that.”
Justin hesitated, then withdrew his hand.
Carlo folded his arms and leaned against a rolltop desk. “What do you need to talk about?”
“Tonight. What we’re, I mean you’re, going to do to Alexandra Manderley.”
“Peel her,” the man said slowly. “What else is there to discuss?”
“You’re going to do it?”
“And you’re going to teach me?” he added hopefully.
“You may watch. Whether you can learn or not is a question that remains unanswered.”
The doorbell rang, and Carlo stood. “Come back tonight at midnight. You may go now.”
Justin rose, in awe. The man was a king, a leader among men, with a voice so commanding that Alexandra Manderley would probably peel her own skin from her bones if he asked. “Midnight,” he repeated, following Carlo to the back door.’
* * *
Tamara Thorne, will be interviewed at Conversations Live by Cyrus Webb, on Tuesday, September 2nd, at 3 p.m. Pacific and 6 p.m. Eastern time to talk about the release of her novel, Thunder Road, which hits bookstores everywhere in next week.
“Evoking Stephen King’s terrifying novel The Gunslinger and the epic adventure film Cowboys and Aliens, Tamara Thorne delivers a tantalizing blend of horror and Western SciFi–in an arid, dangerous world from which there is no escape. . .
The California desert town of Madelyn boasts all sorts of attractions for visitors. Join the audience at the El Dorado Ranch for a Wild West show. Take a ride through the haunted mine at Madland Amusement Park. Scan the horizon for UFOs. Find religion with the Prophet’s Apostles – and be prepared for the coming apocalypse.
Because the apocalypse has arrived in Madelyn. People are disappearing. Strange shapes and lights dart across the night sky. And a young man embraces a violent destiny – inspired by a serial killer whose reign of terror was buried years ago.
But each of these events is merely setting the stage for the final confrontation. A horror of catastrophic proportions is slouching toward Madelyn in the form of four horsemen – and they’re picking up speed. . .”
Get ready for Halloween ghosts! Bad Things will be only a buck-ninety-nine for a few more days!
Bad Things is on sale at Amazon for $2! Meet Ricky and his legless twin brother, Robin. He walks on his hands with the greatest of ease and he licks your butter, too! Bask in the badness of Aunt Jade and her creepy poodles! Get ready for Halloween with Big Jack. He’s a real scream, as are his minions, the greenjacks. Do you have symptoms of greenjack infestation? Find out now!
Bad Things is all about childhood fears, night terrors, day terrors, evil brothers who lick the butter and pee in the lemonade, crazy aunts, greenjacks, freak shows, and Halloween. Especially Halloween. It’s one of my favorite – and most personal – books.
Bad Things (Kindle) is on sale at Amazon for $1.99 today through August 24. Get yours now and get in the mood for Halloween.
Thunder Road, Tamara Thorne’s novel of cowboys, aliens, serial killers and religious cults in the high desert of southern California, will be available in paperback everywhere September 2. You can pre-order at Amazon and other outlets.
Evoking Stephen King’s terrifying novel The Gunslinger and the epic adventure film Cowboys and Aliens, Tamara Thorne delivers a tantalizing blend of horror and Western SciFi–in an arid, dangerous world from which there is no escape. . .
The California desert town of Madelyn boasts all sorts of attractions for visitors. Join the audience at the El Dorado Ranch for a Wild West show. Take a ride through the haunted mine at Madland Amusement Park. Scan the horizon for UFOs. Find religion with the Prophet’s Apostles–and be prepared for the coming apocalypse.
Because the apocalypse has arrived in Madelyn. People are disappearing. Strange shapes and lights dart across the night sky. And a young man embraces a violent destiny–inspired by a serial killer whose reign of terror was buried years ago.
But each of these events is merely setting the stage for the final confrontation. A horror of catastrophic proportions is slouching toward Madelyn in the form of four horsemen–and they’re picking up speed. . .
“Tamara Thorne has become one of those must-read horror writers. From her strong characters to her unique use of the supernatural, anything she writes entertains as much as it chills.” –Horror World
“Tamara Thorne is the new wave of horror–her novels are fascinating rides into the heart of terror and mayhem.” –Douglas Clegg, author of You Come When I Call You
The latest e-poster form the The Erotic Adventures of Belinda series
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.
The third installment of Belinda, titled Darker Shadows, is underway and will be available in September. The first two installments, The New Governess, and Awakening, are available now! Click on the titles below to read them.
Here’s what people are saying about Belinda:
“If you’ve finished all of Sylvia Day’s Crossfires novels and are craving more, look no further. In The Erotic Adventures of Belinda, 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 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
“Shocking and fun! The Erotic Adventures of Belinda by Tamara Thorne and Alistair Cross will leaving you shivering with excitement as the innocent Belinda breaks free of a minimum-wage hell hole only to move into a sprawling Gothic estate where her body becomes the focal point of a mysterious specter. Out of the pan and into the fire? Only time will tell.”
-William Malmborg, author of Jimmy and Text Message