HE THOUGHT HE KNEW WHO HE WAS, HE’S ABOUT TO FIND OUT IT’S A LIE.
You are invited to the Obsidian Hotel, an art deco leviathan which sits abandoned on a remote island. Many secrets lay buried within its decaying rooms and at the bottom of the treacherous waters which block it from the mainland. For Hunter Cade though, the invitation comes too late. He’s already there.
When Hunter wakes up inside The Obsidian it quickly becomes clear he is not alone. Determining friend from foe becomes a life or death mission. Because as well as secrets, the hotel has ghosts. Hundreds of them. And for a man like Hunter – a reluctant psychic – a place like The Obsidian Hotel could very well be his undoing.
So what can we expect to find in The Dead and The Living?
You can expect to find a part police procedure, part supernatural horror that takes you on a journey through some pretty twisted minds. The novel is set five months after the events in No Way to Die and delves more deeply into the nature of Hunter’s unwanted abilities. We learn more about his mysterious past, what he can do, and what that might mean for the safety of not only the people trapped in the Obsidian, but for the public at large.
There are a few more viewpoint characters than in the prequel. As well as DI Jesse Rider, tasked with finding the captives, we get to see things through Falon Crowley’s eyes, and also each of the other six people locked in the Obsidian Hotel. I really enjoyed getting into the minds of these diverse characters and it gave me the chance to really make the hotel and its permanent guests come to life.
What inspired you to set The Dead and The Living in a creepy, abandoned hotel?
My love of creepy, abandoned hotels!
Seriously, I don’t think there are enough films or books set in creepy hotels – (and ghost ships, so expect some kind of Titanic/Mary Celeste setting for one of my novels in the future). It’s one of the reasons I made Falon Crowley an urban explorer because then I had a legitimate reason to put abandoned buildings in my series. I also have a major love of the art deco period. It was an interesting era in terms of aesthetics, but also because of the burgeoning freedom women experienced during the 20’s and 30’s.
Aside from urban exploring, what inspires you?
The work of writers like Stephen King, Dean Koontz, James Patterson and Patricia Cornwell. Good crime thrillers, but also imaginative books and King and Koontz definitely get kudos for their extensive imaginations. TV comic book spin-offs, computer games like Heavy Rain and Resident Evil. Music is also a great source of inspiration.
Not every aspect of writing is creative. I love mind maps and giving myself time to think about the characters and plots, taking all my ideas and throwing them onto a page. Sitting at the computer and banging out word count is more about the craft side than the creative side of writing. It’s more a left brain activity than a right brain activity and so it’s important to build on word count, of course, but then to give yourself time to think – to let what you have written swirl about in your head. This is where inspiration comes from – the time you allow yourself to daydream about a project. It might look to a non-writer like you’re doing nothing, but it is an important aspect of the job.
Hunter Cade is a hot but vulnerable hero. You seem to have an obsession with writing about hot but vulnerable heroes, would you say this is true?
What makes a great hero – in my eyes – is a man who has some kind of sexual appeal (and I’m not all, ‘they have to be buff and look like models.’ Sexual appeal can come from many areas that aren’t necessarily visual) but who is also flawed, dealing with emotional turmoil (preferably internal, I love writing about internal conflict), and if they aren’t sure how to cope with the challenges they face this is also great. Will Graham from Thomas Harris’s Red Dragon is a great example of a perfect hero and also Karin Slaughter’s Will Trent. The hot part isn’t essential (really??) but what is essential is putting a hero through hell and showing how that hell affects him.
The same can be said for a great heroine. You want a character that has flaws, that has strong emotional reactions to both the good and bad things that happen to them. Plot, in my opinion, comes from character whatever genre of novel you write and so I don’t always start out with the plot – I often times have a character and then follow them through the story as if it already happened and they are allowing me a glimpse into their most hellish experiences. It’s about the intimacy of getting deep inside another person’s thoughts I find exciting.
THE DEAD AND THE LIVING is available to purchase in eBook and paperback formats from AMAZON.