Hi there, and welcome to Altered Instinct! Tell us a little about your book – what is it called, and what is it about? Give us your elevator pitch to make us fall in love with it!
The Ancient Ones tells the story of David, the last immortal blood drinker, who tells his story to the mysterious young woman he meets in a Limehouse pub. It’s gothic horror meets mythological fantasy, spanning from Ancient Rome to Medieval Romania. It has elements of ancient mythology and puts a new spin on vampire lore.
Without spoilers, what was one of your favourite moments of the story to write? What was it that made you enjoy that section so much?
My favorite scene is where my two main characters, Davius and Lucius, summon a certain deliciously dark goddess in their Greek bathhouse. I love the imagery, the magic, the emotion. While it doesn’t seem like that important of a scene, it foreshadows the unfolding dynamic between Davius and Lucius and sets the tone for the rest of the trilogy.
As a writer, have you ever had a character grow to be a much bigger part of the story than you expected? Who was the character and what was it about them that made them emerge from the sidelights?
Oh yes. Without a shadow of a doubt, it was my antagonist, Lucius. I tried so hard to make him a detestable bad guy, but I totally fell for him. He completely took over the second and third books. I love his snarky dialogue, I love how he’s always right about things, how he doesn’t care about anything (except a certain dark goddess who I also enjoy writing). We go into his mind in Book 3 and it was a blast for me.
What are your favourite genres to read – and what is it about those genres that draws you in?
I love horror, primarily gothic horror. All the main elements in gothic horror draw me - the grim atmosphere, the supernatural elements, the emotion. The only piece I don’t like is the damsel in distress, which I deconstruct in my own books.
Who are your favourite authors to read? And whose writing do you feel has inspired your own work most?
I loved reading Edgar Allen Poe, Charles Dickens, Anne Rice, and Stephen King - still do. They are responsible for shaping the writer that I am today. Since this is a sci-fi blog, I feel compelled to mention I also really loved Michael Crichton; I’ve read every single one of his books.
I must admit I’ve loved the readings you’ve done of Poe on Twitter! Are there any particular themes you address in your story? What issues do you explore, overtly or otherwise?
I love exploring moral ambiguity and every character I write has that inner turmoil. I also deconstruct mythology and retell history in a way that I hope will encourage readers to think about what is fact and what is fiction. I hope it will show how similar our myths/religions can be and how we all are part of a bigger, connecting thread. I also love tragic, heartbreaking romance, so that lies beneath the surface of the story.
What has been your favourite reaction from readers?
All of it; I love how people want to challenge my historical knowledge, I am tickled that people enjoy my prose, and I am over the moon that they like my characters. It’s really been a dream come true.
What’s next for you as a writer? What’s cooking in your literary kitchen?
I will be releasing the other books in The Ancient Ones Trilogy next year; I have several writing projects in the works, including come collaborations with other horror writers. I also have a podcast called Only In Your Nightmares coming out in November, and I will continue to be posting free short horror stories on my blog, Tales from the Shadows.
What has been your most satisfying moment as a writer so far? What made you punch the air?
When I mastered InDesign enough to typeset a really lovely book!
Where can readers follow you to find out more about your work?
I’m very active on Twitter (@CassThomps13) and I have my own website that houses collaborations, poetry, horror shorts, and book links: www.quillandcrowpublishinghouse.com
A traditional question here at Altered Instinct – what are you reading at present, and what is the best book you’ve read in the past year?
I am currently reading Ghost River by Chad Ryan and several upcoming works by Spyder Collins. I just finished Bloodhound by Marie Casey - she takes my vote for best book I’ve read this year.
The Ancient Ones is available here: https://www.quillandcrowpublishinghouse.com/buytheancientones