Even as a kid, I loved writing and spent hours composing poems, song lyrics, and scribbling out short stories. As I grew older, my interest in the craft continued to build, but none of these formats gave me the room I needed. For me, writing novels was the next logical step. Between 1997 and 2005, I made countless starts on would-be cliffhangers, murder mysteries, and nail-biting tales of terror. But, as it turns out, writing a book is a lot more grueling and complicated than the masters make it out to be, and none of these early unfinished efforts survived outside of my notebooks.
Then in 2005, after one of those rare life-changing revelations everyone talks about, I finally decided I was going to do this writing thing… and I wasn’t taking no for an answer. It helped that, for the first time, I had a solid story line that was good enough to be told, and perhaps, more importantly, I was finally old enough to tell it. And so I began…
When you start a book and don’t finish it, it hangs around your head until you get it right – for years, if it has to. I did finish the novel I began in 2005, but I didn’t finish the story. For the next few years, the manuscript was in circulation, promptly being rejected left and right. While the Thanks-But-No-Thanks’ continued piling up, I kept writing – and when you keep writing, an interesting thing happens: you get better at it. I eventually got published – but it was the next novel, a different one – not the one I’d spent so much time on. By then, I knew my writing had improved and I pulled the first manuscript out of circulation. After re-reading it, I could clearly see why it wasn’t selling. I decided it needed a serious facelift before I submitted it anywhere else. Discouraged, I set it aside and started the next book.
In 2012, I met Tamara (Thorne, co-author). We hit it off, had the same sensibilities about writing, and immediately began making plans. In collaboration, we’ve since completed two novels, one ongoing serialized Gothic tale, and have become the hosts of our own horror-themed internet radio show, Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE! As 2014 came to a close, I finally had a few things under my belt, and I knew it was time to return to that solo novel.
I’ve had to dig my heels in a little – at times I’ve surely been nothing short of an asshole – but as of January 1st, every previous version of my solo novel has been torn down, totaled, and trashed, and I am 25,000 words into the new one.
I love collaborating with Tamara, and although I never envisioned collaborating with anyone, I’m grateful beyond my capacity to express it that she, an already established bestseller, took enough interest in me to make me a part of her journey. I couldn’t have foreseen such a thing five years ago; I was unconscious to any such possibility, but my gratitude is timeless, and as long as she’s inclined, I will continue writing with her. But I must also build a body of solo work.
I’m learning that hosting a radio show and bouncing between collaborating and writing solo requires a good deal of balance – it’s a lot to take on. There are days I’m overwhelmed. Some mornings, I wake up wondering where to begin, and wishing I could take the day off. But then I get up, get on it, and soon I’m into the rhythm of things – and even on the bad days, I don’t take it for granted. This is what I wanted. For years, I have been obsessed by writing, not as a hobby, but as a profession. For the past decade, I’ve spent every waking hour trying to find a way to make it happen, and now that I feel like I’ve finally gotten my career off the ground, I’m going back to the beginning – back to the first story I really wanted to tell.
My solo novel’s original title was The White Room, but – for many reasons – I’m no longer calling it that. It has a stronger voice and it deserves a stronger title. I’ve given it one, but until I’m closer to completion, I simply call it “CC.” “CC” is a vampire novel, but its themes are not romantic. Under its fangs – if I do it right – it’s a tale of redemption, addiction, and the power of family ties. At 25,000 words, I’m only about one-third into it, but already, I am more deeply in love with it than I’ve ever been before. It has dimensions I wasn’t able to explore until now. It tells a deeper, more powerful story this time. It’s found its missing spine.
In the ten years since its conception, this book has been revised, revamped, re-written, kicked, mauled, set aside, and left for dead. It’s had a pretty rough life, but it’s on track at last, and I’ll do everything in my power to prevent it from being knocked off the rails again. I intend to complete it this spring.
Regarding Thorne & Cross, it’s great to be preparing for the release of The Ghosts of Ravencrest’s fifth installment, Night Moves, which has been sent to the editor and heads to production next week. We’re also looking forward to the completion of our witchy tale of terror – and first collaborative concept – Grandma’s Rack, which, right this very minute, is being polished and refined for public consumption. Our other completed novel, which we have to be tight-lipped about for now, is in some stage or another of the publication process, and as soon as the vacancy sign lights up – which we anticipate happening in March or April – we have the next collaboration waiting in the wings. It’s a stormy little thriller that we’re both itching to get to, and I have a feeling this one is going to make some major waves…