Interview with Ethan Cross
What genre do you write and why?
I write crime thrillers. I’m not sure where my fascination first stemmed, but to give perspective, I’ve only read one fictional book where no one was killed or no crime was committed. It sounds pretty morbid when I read those words, but honestly, I think it all comes back to what’s at stake. The more that’s at stake, the higher the level of excitement and tension. My goal with writing is to create a book that I would want to read, and crime/action thrillers are the type of books that excite me because they have the highest stakes.
Who are your favourite authors?
I enjoy any book that’s action-packed, regardless of genre, and I've been known to read three or four books in a week (at least I did back in the day before I was writing full time myself). I love David Morrell, James Rollins, Lee Child, F. Paul Wilson, Dean Koontz, Jeffery Deaver, James Patterson, Douglas Preston, and many, many more.
What advice do you have for other writers?
The first step in succeeding as a writer is having a deep love of stories and then learning how to write. You can do that in many ways including reading (and doing it a lot), taking classes, attending conferences, etc. For me, the most significant and worthwhile experience was attending Thrillerfest in New York. While there, I took classes from some of the biggest selling and most accomplished writers in the world. I learned so much and have applied those techniques to my writing. I also made a lot of great friends and business connections while there. So I guess I could sum it up as: have an incredibly strong desire to write and a deep love of stories, learn to write well (and keep learning and improving), and get out there and make connections.
What's your favourite quote about writing/for writers?
“If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.” - Stephen King. I think this sums it up. You can learn more on the craft of writing by reading great writers than by sitting in any classroom or attending any conference.
What's the best thing about being a writer?
The fortune, fame, and groupies…wait, that’s a rock star…or maybe a politician ;-) But seriously, I think the best thing about being a writer is the act of creation. I’m happiest when I’m enjoying someone else’s creation or bringing one of my own into existence. Forging something new from nothing using only your imagination can be a very therapeutic and fulfilling experience.
Who is you favourite character in your book and why?
The character most often commented upon by readers in my books is definitely Francis Ackerman Jr.
I think the key to writing any character well is first for the author to care deeply about that person, otherwise the audience never will. As strange as it sounds, I love Ackerman. He’s a complex character that has endured more pain than anyone could withstand and yet a part of him wants to be more than what he is. He wants to be a “good guy,” but his warped perception of the world and his appetite for pain makes this impossible.
The idea for Ackerman came about while researching serial killers and the concepts of nature versus nurture. I thought, from a scientific standpoint, of what the results would be if you studied the effects of pain and trauma experienced by children and measured the results. This, of course, could never be done because who in their right mind would willingly subject any child to such horrors. But what if the person wasn’t in their right mind? What if a broken psychologist decided to conduct such research on his own child?
And that’s how Ackerman was born. He’s an amalgam of all the pain experienced by the world’s worst killers. He’s the child of monsters.
Why do you think readers are going to enjoy your book?
Without quoting another blurb or running through the standard book description, I would say that my goal is always to write a book that I would want to read. And I love books that are fast-paced with a lot of action. With my Shepherd series, I’ve tried to take the serial killer genre but put a slightly different spin on it. There are a lot of books out there that feature the hunt for serial killers; after all, these men are like aliens among us. They think and act in ways that most of us cannot begin to comprehend, which in turn makes them fascinating. But while most novels of this type take the police procedural approach and the following of clues to find the killer (and my books do have some of this), The series is designed to get the reader into the killer’s head and wonder how the other characters are going to escape. In other words, it’s not a “follow the clues to unmask the killer” type of book. It’s more a “oh my God, he’s in the next room…and he’s got a shotgun” type of book.
Who designed the cover?
Funny you should ask ;-) I actually design most of my own covers, and I’m really pleased with the way this one turned out. It’s always a bit of a balancing act between having a cover that is eye-catching, fits with the genre, and has a connection or meaning to the events of the book. In this case, all of those factors seemed to come together well.
When you’re not writing, how do you spend your time?
I’m a huge movie buff. My wife and I religiously have date night every week and take in a movie. And if I’m not writing or watching a cool story, I’m probably reading one.
Where can people find out more about you and your writing?
Readers can find me at or connect with me on Facebook ( ) or Twitter ( ). Also, I have a very special group of readers who get the inside scoop on what I’m working on now, exclusive stories, free books, and actually get to participate in the creation process by giving their feedback. In order to find out more about my “Story Army”, readers can sign up for my mailing list here: