Today we bring you a book review of Mother and an interview with authors Tamara Thorne and Alistair Cross.
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.”
~Emmy’s Book Review~
Mother by Tamara Thorne and Alistair Cross
Publication Date: April 9, 2016
Published By: Glass Apple Press
Pages: 538 pages
Source: Authors, in exchange for an honest review
Rating: 5 stars
First, many thanks to the author(s), who provided a free copy of Mother in exchanged for an honest review. Warning to sensitive readers: this book is not for the faint of heart. Abandon hope, all ye who enter here thinking this is a safe little side trip into the shadows...these shadows have teeth, and think you would taste good with ketchup.
This book blew my mind. It was fantastic. One part Misery, one part Sharp Objects, another part Peyton Place, with a dash of Steel Magnolias and the Stepford Wives thrown in for good measure. This book was both bone-chilling and impossible to put down.
The last thing that Claire wants to do is to go back to her mother’s home, despite the desperate financial situation that has driven her and her husband, Jason, to this point. Claire is pregnant, and Jason has just been diagnosed with epilepsy, which has effectively killed his career as a pilot. The job that he is offered (thanks to Prissy, Claire’s mom) seems like a godsend. Just a few months, he tells her. Hold out for just a few months and we will be able to move. Claire reluctantly agrees, but keeps her guard up around her mother. Prissy puts on a good show for Jason, and soon has him convinced that Claire has over exaggerated and is being unduly harsh to her mother.
Boy, is he in for a shock.
When Claire reveals just the tip of the iceberg that is Prissy’s crazy, Jason is thrown for a loop. The fact that Claire’s disabled father is held hostage in the house is disturbing, but when Claire is injured herself Prissy insists on taking charge of her care. After all, she is a nurse…. As I said, Jason and Claire only know the tip of the iceberg. When Claire’s repressed memories begin to surface, they leave her wondering just what is real and what is her imagination. This goes far beyond rooms piled with useless junk, and the undying need to mind everyone else’s business. When Prissy’s need for control really decides to kick up its skirts and dance, everyone suffers.
I loved this book. Just when I thought it couldn’t get any wackier, any darker, or any more screwed up, I was granted a peek into a level of nuts I never have seen before. Calling this a psychological thriller is like calling a hydrogen bomb a bottle rocket! I could rave on about it for another few paragraphs, but all I can really say about it is GO READ IT! It’s so worth it!
~The Joy of Thorne & Cross-Pollination~Stephen King has delighted his constant readers since the beginning of his career by returning to or mentioning towns, people, and places that have appeared in his other novels. Sometimes a minor character, like cop Alan Pangborn in The Dark Half gets promoted to hero, as he did in Needful Things. Even in 11/22/63, the town of Derry and characters from IT were mentioned repeatedly, much to our delight. King’s world is parallel to this one, a conglomeration of towns and people who can often be seen strolling through our “real” universe as well as their own.
Many writers have been inspired by that landscape, ourselves included. The Thorne & Cross universe has become vast and is growing steadily. We set our stories primarily in California because it’s a place we both love to explore. In our new release, MOTHER, a Psycho-meets-Misery-meets-Gaslight psychological thriller, the action takes place in fictional Snapdragon, a scenic little town tucked away in Gold Country, where Sutter first found gold and Mark Twain’s frogs once jumped?
So, why did we choose to create Snapdragon in Calaveras County? Well, it’s almost directly across the state from the coastal towns of Crimson Cove (site of Alistair’s The Crimson Corset), and Tamara’s Candle Bay, Red Cay (Haunted), and Caledonia (The Forgotten). And a little further south is Devilswood, where our Ravencrest Saga is located. Across the state from Devilswood, tucked somewhere between Mammoth Mountain and the infamous ghost town of Bodie, is Prominence, where Alistair’s upcoming solo takes place. Tamara’s new novel is set in Brimstone, all the way down in central Arizona. It’s inspired by a real town called Jerome.
There are places down in southern California we frequently mention too, like Cliffside, site of our mountainous horror novel, The Cliffhouse Haunting. (The name Cliffhouse was in turn inspired by the famous Cliff House on the cliffs of San Francisco.) Other towns we mention often are Moonfall (based on Oak Glen), Santo Verde (Bad Things), and Madelyn (Thunder Road.) (The latter two took inspiration from Redlands and Calico Ghost Town, both near the fictional locations.) And far, far upstate is the village of Eternity, which takes most of its weird lore from nearby Mt. Shasta. We have begun work on a sequel to Candle Bay and The Crimson Corset which will take our characters all the way from Candle Bay and Crimson Cove, to Eternity. We love Thorne-Cross pollinations!
Making up a city or village takes work. We set our fictional towns in places where no one actually lives, but close to well-known areas. Haunted’s Red Cay would be above the far end of Pismo Beach while The Forgotten’s Caledonia is near Cambria, the coastal town where Arachnophobia was filmed. (Cambria means “Wales” so it was fitting to use “Caledonia” - another name for Scotland.)
The Ravencrest Saga is set in and around a mansion overlooking Devilswood, a fictional place not far from the real-life towns of Santa Maria (site of vast colorful commercial fields of flowers) and Lompoc, site of La Purisima Mission. As we delve into Ravencrest’s California history in our new serial novel, The Witches of Ravencrest, we mix fact with fiction, showing the mission both before it was destroyed in an 1812 quake and after it was rebuilt. We add our own padres but mention famous ones like Fr. Payeras, who was so beloved that he was divided up and buried in both the chapel at La Purisima and the one in Mission Santa Barbara.
We cross-pollinate our universes for a few reasons. One is that we enjoy revisiting places and characters from other books. We also know that readers enjoy seeing some of their favorites again. The most compelling reason, however, is that as we write, we often meet new characters along the way who demand a story all their own, but can’t quite be squeezed into the novel in which we met them.
This was the case with Deputy Nick Grayson. Alistair met Grayson in the pages of his novel The Crimson Corset and the deputy who, at the time, was a secondary character, seemed to have a much deeper story than there was room to explore in The Crimson Corset. So, at the end of the novel, Grayson was given a promotion to chief of police in the town of Prominence, east of the Sierras. Alistair is currently at work on the new novel (which for now is called simply “TAA” and is unrelated to The Crimson Corset) and here, he is able to delve more deeply into Grayson’s story.
Another of our favorites is Coastal Eddie Fortune, the rock-playing, conspiracy-loving DJ who first appeared in Candle Bay. He’s now syndicated and can be heard anywhere our characters might be listening. He’s even making appearances down in Devilswood, where our ghostly gothic The Ghosts of Ravencrest is set. Eddie’s a guy in the know - but what he seems to know is so wild that most just roll their eyes and move on. They shouldn’t. Eddie interviews people like David Masters, the author-hero of Haunted, and makes comments that may impact the lives and welfare of our other characters if only they’d listen. On the other hand, we suspect that a lot of Eddie’s remarks are unadulterated hooey and we love him for it.
Cross pollination within our fictional landscape makes books that are otherwise unrelated into another into a kind of series. We may be telling an entirely new story, but you will always catch references to other places and other characters in our pantheon. And you never know who might show up for a visit.
~Meet the Authors~
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.
Tamara also conducts real-life investigations of anomalous phenomena and has seen a number of odd things over the last twenty years. As an open-minded skeptic, she's spoken to many paranormal groups and has appeared on the television show, Ghost Adventures. Most recently, she and Alistair Cross went on a five-day investigation to an allegedly haunted cabin in California's Gold Country - an adventure that inspired The Cliffhouse Haunting. She has also been featured on many radio programs and in various newspapers on the topics of haunted places and local lore. A journalist by training, she occasionally writes about ghosts and hauntings for a syndicate of southern California newspapers, but her first love is, and has always been, telling ghost stories to make people scream. . . and laugh.
Tamara and Alistair co-host Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE! every Thursday night on Blog Talk Radio.
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 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.