Guest post by Alistair Cross: In the Wrong Vein

Written by / Guest Post

Risingshadow has the honour of publishing a guest post by Alistair Cross, who is the author of The Vampires of Crimson Cove series (The Crimson Corset and The Silver Dagger).

About the author:

Alistair Cross' debut novel, The Crimson Corset, a vampiric tale of terror and seduction, was an immediate bestseller earning 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 bestseller, Tamara Thorne, and as Thorne & Cross, they write - among other things - the successful Gothic series, The Ravencrest Saga. Their debut collaboration, The Cliffhouse Haunting, was a bestseller. They are currently at work on their next solo novels and a new collaborative project.

In 2014, Alistair and Tamara began the radio show, Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE!, which has featured such guests as Anne Rice of The Vampire Chronicles, Charlaine Harris of the Southern Vampire Mysteries and basis of the HBO series True Blood, Jeff Lindsay, author of the Dexter novels, Jay Bonansinga of The Walking Dead series, Laurell K. Hamilton of the Anita Blake novels, Peter Atkins, screenwriter of HELLRAISER 2, 3, and 4, worldwide bestseller V.C. Andrews, and New York Times best sellers Preston & Child, Christopher Rice, and Christopher Moore.

Click here to visit his official website.

About The Silver Dagger:

Brother Against Brother

Life in Crimson Cove has been good to the Colter Brothers since Gretchen VanTreese was staked and her horde of vampires scattered. Brooks is once again human, and Cade, the rare Sire Gretchen had determined to take as her mate, is in love. Then the unthinkable happens: Gretchen rises from the grave, and the brothers are torn apart, their lives - and the peace between them - shattered.

A Trail of Blood

When Cade comes into possession of an ancient ceremonial dagger he awakens a power so deadly it defies comprehension. Meanwhile, a serial killer is stalking the little mountain town, leaving a trail of blood that leads to a truth Sheriff Ethan Hunter doesn't want to face. And unknown to either of them, Gretchen is preparing to reopen her notorious nightclub, The Crimson Corset - and building an army to destroy her enemies and reclaim Cade Colter as her own.

A New Breed of Evil

The streets are no longer safe, nor are the forested paths, for a new and unknowable evil has come to Crimson Cove and everyone - vampire and human alike - must come together in order to survive.

Guest post by Alistair Cross: In the Wrong Vein

The Silver Dagger is, if nothing else, a testament that some books want to be written right now, regardless of the author's plans. When I finished The Crimson Corset (book one in the series) I knew I'd eventually go back and continue the story of Cade Colter and his vampiric archenemy, Gretchen VanTreese - but I had one more unrelated book that I wanted to write before plunging back into that world. So, fool that I was, I merrily began my other project, setting aside all thoughts of Crimson Cove and its quirky, undead inhabitants. I had a plan, you see... 

But some plans just aren't meant to be, and if I were cannier, I would have realized sooner that the continuing tale of Cade and Gretchen was ready to be told - and now. The trouble was that I really, really wanted to finish this book first; I was very excited about the idea and was sure I was on the right track. It never occurred to me that, as the author, I didn't have complete say in the stories I told, and the order in which I told them, but for every page I painstakingly completed on my new project, I was besieged by the voices of the characters in the Crimson Cove books. I tried to silence them by jotting down what they told me, telling them I'd get to them soon enough. 

This did nothing to keep them quiet.

Not only that but, exciting as my current story had promised to be, every time I sat down to write it, an interesting thing happened: Nothing. Or close to it, anyway. I just could not get the voices of these new characters down - and no matter how badly an author might want to tell a certain story, if the characters' aren't talking, that simply isn't going to happen.

But still, I pressed on, continuing in this vein, all the while congratulating myself on my self-discipline and stick-to-it-ive-ness, purposefully ignoring the fact that weeks - and then months - were passing by and my progress was next to nothing. But I wasn't going to let that get me down. I just kept gritting my teeth and forcing out every word of my new story - and pretending I didn't hear the voices of those other characters in that other book. 

It wasn't until I hit the six-month mark that I took a good honest look at my progress. Usually, the first draft of a book can easily be written in that time, and yet I was less than a quarter into it. I realized that at this rate, this book would take years to write. Worse still, when I read back what I had written, it simply wasn't very good. The characters were blurry, their motivations unrealistic, and the plot itself was going nowhere. 

And yet, I realized, the book I'd pushed into the background, The Silver Dagger, had all but entirely worked itself out in my subconscious. 

So, without an ounce of regret, I tossed the new book aside and threw myself into The Silver Dagger. It came hard, fast, and easily - naturally - and that's when I finally realized that I'd tapped the wrong vein, that I'd been in the wrong story all along. I didn't even know that was possible, but I'm glad it happened because I learned from the experience.

I learned that, despite common-sense thinking, I am not in total charge of the stories I tell - that an artist needs to let his or her creativity express itself organically. I learned that I can't force a story that isn't ready to be told any more than I can hold back one that is ready. And I learned that writing is much more mysterious than I thought, that there's another power at work there - one that I don't understand and, I suppose, I don't need to understand - but it's a power that knows better than I what needs to come next.

Most important of all, I learned to trust this process - whatever it is - and that has made my life, and my writing, much, much easier.