Interview with Tamara Thorne and Alistair Cross
Author of The Witches of Ravencrest (The Ravencrest Saga: Book II)
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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Can you tell us a little about The Witches of Ravencrest?
- The Witches of Ravencrest is Book 2 in The Ravencrest Saga. In Witches, governess Belinda Moorland is still very new at Ravencrest Manor, but she’s learning about her gifts -- she can communicate with spirits -- and how to use them. In Witches, she finds out just how powerful Cordelia Heller is when it comes to the dark arts. She also comes face to face with a terrifying ghost from the past named Rebecca Dane, and must fight her to save the man she loves.
(You can find an overview of the series under Book 1, The Ghosts of Ravencrest, at https://profilecritics.com/book/5cYYzMyMTxMIM/interview.)
Why is Ravencrest Manor so haunted?
- Because of the Curse of Ravencrest. Those who die there can never leave. Their spirits were trapped by a curse laid upon the manor when it was still in England. Even bones laid to rest -- or unrest -- hidden within the walls still harbor their human souls. While most of the spirits spend their time silently dozing, many roam the manor unnoticed by everyone except Belinda. As seen in The Ghosts of Ravencrest, when trapped spirits become aware of her abilities, they come to Belinda for help, and she and her mentor, Grant Phister, work to help them -- and to keep the evil spirits in the East Wing from escaping. There has never been a conjurer powerful enough to break the curse, according to Grant -- but he has hope that one day, Belinda will prevail.
Can you tell us more about Grant Phister?
- The head butler at Ravencrest, Grant Phister, is far more than he appears. He and his employer, Eric Manning, were boyhood friends, and when Eric left for America, Grant studied and became a prestigious Knight of the Mandrake, versed in sorcery and able to protect those in peril. A Knight of the Mandrake has always been assigned to guard the Mannings, and Grant is Eric’s protector now. He and his husband, Riley Doring, live together in the converted carriage house near the manor. Grant oversees the daily operations of Ravencrest and does his best to keep this very haunted house and land under control. Notably, he has worked with his nemesis, witch Cordelia Heller, to ward and seal the door between the main house and the East Wing. What lurks on the other side could be the death of them all. Grant has also taken Belinda under his wing and is training her in the art of magick.
Who is Riley Doring?
- Riley Doring is Grant’s husband, a handsome mysterious fellow who is in charge of the Ravencrest property. He spends his days keeping the manor’s vast gardens green and growing and he tends to creatures, four-footed, and winged, in a way that no one else quite understands. In The Witches of Ravencrest, Belinda sees him bring a rabbit back to life and begins wondering what Riley truly is -- he’s certainly more than a simple human.
What happens in The Witches of Ravencrest?
- It’s autumn and the Harvest Ball is coming. Everyone in town is hoping to be invited, including Corderlia Heller’s nemeses, a coven that calls themselves the Pastels. Speaking of Cordelia, she’s accidentally released a zombie plague that’s playing hell in town. Also, Belinda’s crazy mother arrives to take her wayward daughter home -- and she’s packing heat. Meanwhile, the terrifying ghost of Rebecca Dane is tormenting Belinda and threatening Eric, and the evil spectral nuns, Sisters Faith, Hope, and Charity, are again gliding along the corridors of the East Wing, gibbering and seeking a way out.
In a remote part of California just above the coastal town of Devilswood, Ravencrest Manor, imported stone-by-stone from England more than two centuries ago, looms tall and terrifying, gathering its dark and unnatural powers, and drawing those it wants as its own.
Governess Belinda Moorland has settled into life at Ravencrest and, as summer gives way to autumn, romance is in the air. She and multi-millionaire Eric Manning are falling in love … but powerful forces will stop at nothing to keep them apart. And as the annual Harvest Ball is set to begin, evil abounds at Ravencrest. Murder lurks in the shadows, evil spirits freely roam the halls, a phantom baby cries, signaling a death in the mansion, and in the notoriously haunted east wing, three blood-soaked nuns, Sisters Faith, Hope, and Charity, tend to the demented needs of a maid gone mad.
Ravencrest has come to life. In the gardens below, granite statues dance by moonlight, and a scarecrow goes on a killing rampage, collecting a gruesome assortment of body parts from unwilling donors … But Belinda’s greatest danger is the vengeful spirit of Rebecca Dane. Once the mistress of Ravencrest, Rebecca Dane has a centuries-old ax to grind with the powerful witch, Cordelia Heller - and Belinda becomes her weapon of choice.