Drew Cross | The Undercover Writer

  Today I welcome Drew Cross into my studio @ Dragonfly Scrolls. I first met Drew through a writing group on Facebook. Then I got to know the writer behind the man when I read and reviewed the book he co-authored called Eternity. This is a man who in his own words is:        “a guy who doesn’t like to give much away, lol! :)”…Drew has also published the first in a gritty crime fiction series called Bitemarks. He is not only a crime writer though. This man of few spoken words but a talent trove of written words also writes YA paranormal romance, MG fantasy, horror, satire, poetry and song lyrics. So join me now in welcoming Drew Cross to the interview couch…
Welcome Drew…
girl with a quill: Tell us a bit about yourself in 6 words. Who is Drew Cross?
Drew:   Thoughtful, confident, driven, capricious, complex, mischievous!
girl with a quill: When did you decide that you wanted to be a Writer?
Drew:   A couple of years back I made the decision to return to writing (I stopped when I went out to get a ‘real’ job at 18yrs old and didn’t restart until I was 28-ish); I’d been finding myself writing poetry and fragments of stories with increasing regularity, and the voices in my head needed to get out!

girl with a quill: How long have you been writing for?
Drew:  As long as I can remember, with the exception of the hiatus in the middle; I needed somewhere to escape to when I was young and books were my only friends. It seemed natural to try to write my own one day.

girl with a quill: Many people in 9-5 jobs have a water-cooler space where they go to talk with their colleagues about work issues. Do you have a “water-cooler” group for your writing life?
Drew: I’m pretty much a lone-wolf in almost all aspects of my life, so I don’t have that group or network to fall back on.

girl with a quill: Who or what is the greatest influence on you as a writer? and Why?
Drew: Two answers on this one; for ‘who’, it would have to be some of the greats of poetry past and present. I love Baudelaire’s Fleurs De Mal, as well as Carol Ann Duffy’s Rapture and anything by TS Eliot; they showed me what language can really be when it is both crafted and from the heart. For ‘what’, it would have to be the troubled upbringing and life experiences that shaped my early years. The things that I’ve lived through colour my world view and can make life difficult, but they also gave me a powerful imagination to retreat into and an ability to deal with complex emotional states with sincerity and integrity.

girl with a quill: If your life story were a novel, what genre would it be and what would be the story-arc up to this point?
Drew: In many respects BiteMarks, my debut crime novel, is my life-story! Lol! As are elements of everything else that I write. I try to incorporate little pieces of me in amongst the fictional aspects; it’s a conceit but also an outlet.

girl with a quill: Tell us about the place that you write? What do you fill that space with?
Drew:  I dream of one day having ‘a place’ in which I can write! At the moment it’s usually on buses, trains, on the settee with two children bouncing on me, while I’m out walking the dog, at work….pretty much anywhere I can pull out a pad and paper and scribble furiously for a few precious minutes!

girl with a quill: Tell us about your writing process from that magical moment when the story’s idea / character voice
interrupts your thoughts…what happens next?
Drew: I find that there’s a continuous internal dialogue that mulls over ideas and problems running behind my everyday thoughts – it refines and obsessively collects ideas, trying to formulate a story out of them. I get the story out by trying to enforce a certain number of words on myself each day; often I’m not completely sure of what’s going to hit the page until I start writing it, but then elements start to become clearer and the novel begins to emerge.

girl with a quill: Are you a plotter, a pantster or a little of both?
Drew:  I never plot beyond having an idea of a start and a finish (and not always that!); the excitement for me is in seeing where my mind is going to go.

girl with a quill: You have written mainly in the crime fiction genre. Has your past career as a cop influenced this?
Drew:  I’ve actually written more in other genres than in crime, but they’re mainly not yet in the public domain! It just so happened that BiteMarks was the first completed novel and therefore the first full length work to get published. My time as a cop did however become useful from the point of view of getting the detailing right, and in allowing me to show the tensions within that professional environment with the eye of someone who has sat on both sides of the divide.

girl with a quill: What would you say is the secret to a successful crime story?
Drew:  It needs to avoid being formulaic. Undoubtedly there are a lot of lazy works within the genre that still sell well, but I don’t define success exclusively in pounds and pence. For me, successful crime fiction should surprise, shock, challenge, break conventions and ask important questions. Hopefully I’ve managed to achieve some of that in my own work.

girl with a quill: If you could try your pen at another genre, which genre would you choose?
Drew:  I’ve so far penned work in YA paranormal romance, MG fantasy, crime fiction, horror, satire, poetry and song lyrics…I’m not sure that there are many other genres that I’m in a hurry to branch into, but I am keen to learn the fundamentals of different forms: esp. scriptwriting.

girl with a quill: Can you tell us a bit about the book/s you have published?
Drew:  Okay; so far there’s BiteMarks published through an Indie called Night Publishing, a crime novel that breaks all of the conventions and rules of the genre (ignore the publishers blurb though please – it’s not a ‘vampire’ novel, neither does it feature any supernatural characters). There’s also Eternity, a co-authored paranormal romance novel set in a war-torn pre-human existence heaven (a challenge to write for a non-believer like me); and in the next few days I’m putting out a 10,000 word horror short called ‘Under The Influence’, which is dark and nasty (just designing a cover for it and finishing formatting).

girl with a quill: What is your best sentence you have written?
Drew: There are several; but sticking to one poetic example (and no, my work isn’t entirely navel gazing and literary!): ‘The air is cobalt with scents of clean running water and the zigzag memories of dragonfly wings, the sun, a blazing heaven, dots tan speckles on lithe young limbs.’

girl with a quill: Are you working on any WIP now? Can you tell us a bit about it?
Drew: Sticking to just the full length novels, I’m currently working on three: TrackMarks – the second in the ‘Marks’ crime series, and dealing with more of Shane’s personal demons and the dangerous drugs and vice trade in Nottingham; the second book in ‘The Scarmap’ novels – a middle grade/young adult cross-over fantasy fiction trilogy; and ‘The Girl and Her Ghost’ – a standalone for a YA audience that tells the story of a girl who upon deciding to kill herself meets somebody who already has…

girl with a quill: First drafts are for the writers themselves. Who reads your work after you?
Drew:  The short answer is nobody right now. Anybody offering?!

girl with a quill: Why do you write?
Drew:  To connect and entertain, to stay sane and to exorcise my demons in a constructive fashion.

girl with a quill: Do you have a common theme or Omni-Premise that threads its way through all your writing? If so, what is it?
Drew: That our pasts don’t have to define our futures, and that there is always, always a reason to go on.

girl with a quill: Do you believe in Muses? If you do, who/what is your Muse?
Drew: No muse for me, I’m afraid.

girl with a quill: If you found a golden lamp with a genie and he told you he could either make one of your stories come true or that you could become a character for a short time
in another author’s book, which option would you choose and why?
Drew:  Possibly Eric Draven in the graphic novel ‘The Crow’; I could be entirely safe from harm for a while, while visiting retribution on those who deserve it!

girl with a quill: What is more important to you: Story or Character? Why?
Drew:  Character every time. If we don’t believe in and care about the character then the story becomes irrelevant.

girl with a quill: Who is your favourite character that you have created and why?
Drew:  A toss-up between Shane Marks, because he’s morally complex but growing and learning to reconnect with the human race again, which is exhilarating. Or Timit, the feisty runaway teenage girl in my Scarmap novels, because she won’t roll over and give up, no matter what the situation that she’s facing.

girl with a quill: Who is your favourite character in the literary world and why?
Drew:  Hannibal Lecter would have to be up there. He’s fascinating on all levels – as a monster, as a human being, as a symbol. Although the ‘monster’ from Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein would run it close for many of the same reasons.

girl with a quill: If you could throw a dinner party and invite 5 famous creative people, who would they be and why?
Drew: Stephen Fry and Alan Davies to make me laugh. Thomas Harris and John Connolly so I could figure out what makes them tick and get tips for my own novels. Maynard James Keenan (the frontman for rock bands ‘Tool’ and ‘A Perfect Circle’), because he has a savage intellect that I find interesting, and a singing voice that I could listen to all day.

girl with a quill: If you could throw a dinner party and invite 5 of your favourite fictional characters, who would they be and why?
Drew: Dr Lecter for the culinary skills and epicurean expertise (I’d supply the ingredients though!), Hap Collins and Leonard Pine (from Joe R Lansdale’s supremely funny novels) for the wise-cracks and banter, Nothing from Poppy Z Brite’s ‘Lost Souls’ so I could give him a hug and tell him that he couldn’t help his destiny, and Charlie Parker (from John Connolly’s novels) because he’s just a fascinating study.

girl with a quill: If you could give yourself one piece of advice at the beginning of your writing career, what would it be?
Drew:  Don’t fret so much, just about everything in publishing books takes tons of time, so you may as well just concentrate on writing the next one while you wait.

girl with a quill: What is the one piece of writing advice you could give your future self, 10 years from now?
Drew:  Hopefully to stop and enjoy the feeling of success for a while because he earned it!

girl with a quill: What do you want your lasting legacy, as a writer, to be?
Drew:  I want people from all walks of life to get something out of reading my books. It could be a feeling of connection or comfort, it could be them finding themselves transported or moved, or it could simply be entertained for a few hours of their time; just as long as they feel something.

girl with a quill: Where can we find your books for sale?
Drew: Here are links for BiteMarks:

US – Amazon.com

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KK ink

Writer | Poet | Wanderer | Insomniac Writer.In.Procaffeination ... between real deadlines and imagined deadbodies Survives on coffee. Eats Poetry for Breakfast.

13 thoughts on “Drew Cross | The Undercover Writer

  1. Lovely Post Kim…
    “That our pasts don’t have to define our futures, and that there is always, always a reason to go on.” Love this Drew- printing and pasting on my wall as I type…

  2. Hi Kim,

    Enjoyed the interview with Drew. YA Paranormal, MG Fantasy,Horror, Poetry…Drew sure straddles many genres. I am sure Drew, you can get many Crit Partners and Beta Readers if you wanted.

    Once upon a time, I too didn’t plot much. I loved the idea of being guided completely by my imagination. Will try it for a smaller WIP.

  3. Great post, Drew and Kimberly! Lovely snapshot inside a very talented mind… 🙂 And Drew, I know you’d have a dozen betas if you just asked… as well as a water-cooler crowd!

  4. It is so refreshing and releasing to hear of an author who doesn’t plan/plot or think it out too much. I love hearing about people who let the mind carry them from one thought. Great interview as usual,
    nice to meet you Drew

    1. Thank You for being so open and candid…hope the experience was not too scary?
      You are welcome back to be featured anytime!!!

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