Amazon.com's top twenty bestselling horror novels for 2000 comprised mostly of authors who are very familiar to Hellnotes readers. However, the name at number 14, Tamara Thorne, may not ring bells with many horror fans. This will likely be changing soon.
Tamara Thorne is a pseudonym for Chris Curry, a former HWA Treasurer who has written several books: WINTER SCREAM,TRICKSTER, PANIC, THUNDER ROAD. Under the name Tamara Thorne she has published HAUNTED and MOONFALL and has two more novels debuting in 2001, including ETERNITY, which has just been released.
Q: When Tamara Thorne was created you had already established yourself as Chris Curry, what made you decide to use a pseudonym?
TT: I had to use a pseudonym to write for another publisher at the same time as I was writing as Chris Curry. That's common in contracts. I didn't mind -- I liked it because it was a fresh start. Tamara Thorne feels like my real name; it just popped into my head and that was that. She's sort of an evil twin, letting me indulge myself with a non-schizophrenic multiple personalty.
Q: Both HAUNTED and MOONFALL have a more humorous tone than the novels you wrote under Chris Curry. Do you approach writing a Tamara Thorne novel differently?
TT: In a way. When I became Tamara I already had a career, so I had nothing to lose; hence, I did exactly as I pleased. To my delight it worked. Future books will go with the flow: some may be more Tamara, others more Curry. The February release, ETERNITY, feels more like a Curry to me. The one after that, a vampire novel, is utterly Tamara.
Q: What first interested you in horror? Who were the writer's than inspired you?
TT: I was born interested in horror--to be more precise, ghost stories. I remember camping out on the floor devouring "Twilight Zone" and "Outer Limits" as a very young child. But it probably started before that. My mother read to me from infancy, so I got a dose of the "Oz" books and similar things every morning. By the time I was five or six, all I wanted to read were ghost stories. At seven, I discovered Ray Bradbury, and that was that.
When I was a little older my father liked to take me swimming, hiking, you name it, and when we were all alone, he'd start telling me how we were likely to find a dead body in the woods, or step on one in the murky lake water, describing what it would be like as the gaseous body erupted underfoot. This turned me into a child so afraid of everything that therapy was really called for -- and I quickly found it in writing. Writing helped me control human-made fears and also let me indulge happily in what I really liked -- ghosts.
Other than Ray Bradbury, I hooked early into Roald Dahl. There was also Richard Matheson, a slew of science fiction writers, and at age eleven came the epiphany named THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE. There was a God and her name was Shirley Jackson. And I'm afraid that MAD magazine was also a powerful influence.
Q: You mentioned your father as an influence in your interest in horror. How did your parents feel about your books? Did they get to read any?
TT: My father was an influence, no doubt about that. He did two things: terrorized me in a number of creative ways and burned my writing. He fed my fear and my rebellious streak. My mother provided me with books, her sense of humor, and support.
My father died before I wrote professionally, but he would have disapproved, given his earlier penchant for destroying my work. My mother probably didn't love my subject matter, but she was simply proud of me. She accepted me with open arms. I miss her.
Q: Why did your father burn your writing?
TT: He never talked about it, he just did it whenever my mother and I went away for a few days. I believe it was partly his puritanical streak even though I wasn't writing anything objectionable; a lot of it was just humor. It was the writing itself he disliked. Long after he died, I found out he had written occult stories when he was younger and couldn't get any published. But I don't believe his actions were due to jealousy. Rather, there was probably a strong feeling of identification because of the writing -- not a good thing because he was never happy with himself.
Q: Can you give us a short preview of the two novels you have coming out in 2001?
TT: ETERNITY (February) is about earth vortices and what they can do to shift reality. Additionally, it has a base in the considerable lore of Northern California's Mt. Shasta, alleged home to everything from Lemurians to UFO's to Bigfoot. I had a lot of fun twisting things around and adding my own lore, but my favorite moment comes when Bigfoot's bloodlines are explained. The story takes place in Eternity, a Shasta-like place, involves a confused sheriff, a kinky serial killer, and a bunch of townspeople, none of whom you'd trust to feed your fish for the weekend.
CANDLE BAY (August) is about a family of vampires that run a hotel on California's central coast. It's hard to describe; let's just say they run into a lot of trouble and a human woman and a thousand-year-old nostalgia ridden vampire are at the heart of it. There is also a vampire totally hung up on "The Godfather" and "The Sopranos" who doesn't help matters much.