Interview with Tamara Thorne and Alistair Cross
Author of Exorcism (The Ravencrest Saga: Book III)
Thorne & Cross are authors of dark fiction. Tamara Thorne and Alistair Cross write together and separately and are best known for their series, The Ravencrest Saga. They also host Thorne & Cross: Carnival Macabre, a podcast derived from their research into the strange, the unusual, and the unknown.
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What’s new at Ravencrest Manor in Book 3 of The Ravencrest Saga: Exorcism?
- In Exorcism, something demonic is lurking in the waters of the opulent indoor pool at Ravencrest, and Belinda and Grant must find a way to exorcize the evil that has returned to Ravencrest. Belinda soon encounters the spirit of the Violet LeBlanc, a silent film star who was the wife of demented Henry Manning. She shows Belinda visions of debauched parties and demonic ceremonies Henry and his coven once held in the pool house.
In addition to the ghosts of Violet and Henry, we also get to know Father Antonio DeVargas, whom we met briefly in The Witches of Ravencrest. Father Antonio is called to the manor to help with the demon problem after one of the maids shows signs of a demonic pregnancy. Another new face is newly hired head housekeeper Essie Biltmore. She’s smiley and friendly and makes great apple fritters -- but there’s a powerful mystery surrounding her.
Belinda herself continues to grow and learn to use her magickal abilities, and in Exorcism, her talents are put to the test.
(You can find an overview of the series under Book 1, The Ghosts of Ravencrest, at https://profilecritics.com/book/5cYYzMyMTxMIM/interview.)
What's the strangest thing that inspired Exorcism?
- Our love of indoor pools, particularly the Roman Pool at Hearst Castle, which is up the road an hour or two from Ravencrest. Tamara visited the estate many times as a child, and was smitten with the dark blue spookiness of the pool, and as soon as Alistair made it to California, we made it one of our first stops on our tour of the places that frequently appear in our books. There’s something eerie and ghostly about indoor pools, especially the Hearst pool. For Exorcism, we created a similar pool built by the manically competitive Henry Manning around the same time as Hearst’s -- but Henry built his pool over a hellmouth so that he could call Forneus, his favorite demon, whenever he desired.
In The Witches of Ravencrest, Belinda becomes curious about Riley Doring, Grant Phister’s husband and Ravencrest groundskeeper. Does Riley play a part in Exorcism?
- When Riley and Belinda work together to save the life of someone dear to them, we find out a little more about what Riley’s true powers are, and by the end of the story, Belinda knows that he is truly a force to be reckoned with.
You explained that the Curse of Ravencrest means that those who die there can never leave or be at complete rest. Is that why there are so many ghosts partying in the pool house?
- That’s one of the reasons, yes.
You also mention the Manning Curse. Is that the same as the Ravencrest Curse?
- No. The Ravencrest Curse was placed by a sorcerer named Ulric Valco many centuries ago. The Manning Curse is a little newer and was put upon the Manning men by a witch who loved a Manning that refused to return her affections. Vengeful, she decreed that no Manning who finds true love will ever be able to maintain that love without experiencing profound loss and sorrow. This is why, despite their great attraction to one another, Belinda and master of the manor, Eric Manning, cannot consummate their love. At this point, restraint is becoming very difficult for them both, and what happens in the pool house truly puts them to the test.
In the 1920s, Henry Manning ruled Ravencrest with an iron fist. He held debauched parties that would have inspired Jay Gatsby himself. From the Manning fortune to a beautiful wife, the silent film star known as the White Violet, Henry had it all … including a loyal cult that worshipped the demon Forneus.
Violet lost her life putting a stop to the demented perversions that Henry and his demonic familiar visited upon Ravencrest … but now that evil has returned.
In the night, an innocent maid is seduced by a demon lover. A child is born, but it is not of this earth. Father Antonio DeVargas is summoned as ghostly parties light up the old poolhouse, and phantom screams rip open the night. Meanwhile, the White Violet wanders the halls of Ravencrest warning the inhabitants of death and disaster to come.
And the current master of Ravencrest, Eric Manning, is decidedly not himself.