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Interview with Steve Alten

by Lois Wickstrom

You're known for writing horror scenes. In your book is Nessie friendly
or unfriendly?

No real marine creature is "friendly." Nessie is an animal, acting on instinct. When it's food supply is shunted off, it looks for alternative sources. The whole Nessie myth has turned a predatory animal that lurks at the bottom into a smiling plesiosaur. It's ridiculous. My books are grounded in real science.

When you went to Loch Ness for your research, did you find that the people you spoke with feared Nessie?

Actually, I have never been to Loch Ness, but I hired an investigator to go, who has some very good ideas about what the creature is. I tapped into his theories. And the locals have a good sense of what it is.

Or did they have affection for her? or him?

Not affection, just a need to use Nessie to earn a living. They do not want anyone screwing with tourism.

Did you speak with anybody who had seen Nessie? And if so, did you use that account in your story?

I have used about 30 accounts as blurbs between chapters.

What were some of your favorite Nessie stories that didn't make it into your book?

All the good ones made it.

What was one favorite Nessie story that is in the book?

I find the rare night land sightings most interesting.

You mentioned that your readers voted to request that you write a Nessie book. What other topics did they request?

It was a choice between a Loch ness thriller and a few sequels. They really wanted the Loch Ness story.

As a writer were there specific locations on the loch that intersted
you? If so, where?

Actually, I became mentally entrenched in the locations. I had an 8 foot map of the area stretched across my wall, so I knew every area and where to place characters. 

You publish your own books. Why have you chosen to do this?

I do not publish my own books. My first 6 novels (including two NY Times best sellers) were published by three major NY publishing houses. For The LOCH I switched to a new publishing company, Tsunami Books. They are aggressive, back my work with a six figure marketing campaign, and use cutting edge technology. So far, they have been a pleasure to work with.

Where can readers of this interview buy your book?

Readers can go to the major bookstores or purchase The LOCH at a discount at where they can enter a contest to identify the monster and win an all-expenses paid trip for two to Loch Ness (airfare and rental car included!)

Is there anything else you'd like to add?

Amazingly, the same researcher I hired was contacted by two American students on holiday at Loch ness in March. Apparently they found a shed tooth they might belong to Nessie! The story is at They are offering a $5000 reward for return of the tooth, but Mr. McDonald (investigator) says he is raising funds to increase that reward! It's an amazing story, I really hope they recover the tooth.

From Lois: This is probably a hoax. I visited:

Where several folks say this so-called tooth looks like a bit of a crab claw.

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