Friday, 6 January 2012

Immortal Hope Blog Tour: Author Interview with Claire Ashgrove + Excerpt/Giveaway


As apart of the Immortal Hope: The Curse of The Templar's blog tour, we have author Claire Ashgrove on the blog today to do an awesome author interview and we have some awesome details on awesome giveaway Claire is hosting too. If you missed Melanie's review for Immortal Hope: The Curse of the Templars please click the link.

So, please welcome Claire Ashgrove to Book Passion for Life. Hi Claire!

What made you choose the Knights of the Templar?
I have always, always had a passion for the Knights Templar – from the myth to the actuality and the power that they amassed it’s just completely fascinating to me.  In the height of their power they had enough members throughout Europe to form their own country if they desired, as well as the financial wherewithal.  Add into that the fact that I’m a historian and working (as time allows) on my Masters in Ancient Civilizations with a secondary emphasis on early Medieval France, and writing about the Knights Templar became rather second-nature.  The questions that surround their culture and their reign make the perfect pairing for a paranormal setting as well.

There is a lot of information in the book about them, did you do a lot of research?
 Yes.  I possessed a lot of knowledge, but it took about a year of steady research to get all the facts in line, marry all the intricacies, and blend it to the point that I felt confident enough to write it correctly.  I’ve read historical accounts, studied archaeology in the era, and did a lot of research on each of the settings that are in the series.

How factual is it? Do you know of the Knights original purpose?
 It’s pretty factual, all things considered.  Merrick tells the story briefly – nine rode with Hugues de Payans to theJerusalem where they went on to become protectors of the pilgrims roads to the Holy Lands, and the properties held by the Christians, from the assault of Saladin, leader of the Muslim nations/factions.  They were sworn to chastity, they had to be of noble linage and able to obtain knighthood in their own right, and they had to sacrifice all their property, belongings and money to the Order.
Where it differs is in the intricacies, the loopholes not documented in research.  Nine knights went… only eight have been written down in historical documents.  Merrick’s lineage is based on actual characters in history.  Only his father in the book, in real life, sired no children.  (Which I find difficult to believe given the great percentage of bastard children that were part of common society.)  All of the historical names in the book are actual names, and even my fictional characters come with a degree of history attached as well – I went to great pains to come up with names that were either a) names documented in the time of the knights birth or b)likely names given based on naming practices for the era.

 What challenged you the most when writing this book?
 Picking out the pieces of history stored in my head that would make for an entertaining story and not a historical document J  No really, layering everything for the series was challenging.  There’s a good deal of information that has to be relayed in the first book, but at the same time, I found myself cutting parts because it was “too much”.  The sub plot is very intricate, and there are a lot of twists and turns – some of which I wanted up front, some of which I’ve saved.  Getting that all laid out and plotted correctly took a bit of effort.

How long did the whole writing process take?
Once the research was in line, I had to lay out the plot.  That took a couple weeks.  When it was finalized and tidy, the actual writing of the story came easily.  It took about 45 days.  But, as my critique partners will tell you, I write very quickly and like a madwoman, and that’s not necessarily out of the norm.  I attribute that to the fact I am a heavy plotter, and I have spreadsheets, plus detailed outlines that I work off of when I sit down to write.  By the time the first word comes onto the file, I’m ready to roll all the way through.  It’s just a matter of putting creative word in, as opposed to the non-entertaining dictation in the outline.

Is book 2 finished or still in progress?
It is finished, and in copy-edits now.

How many books do you plan on writing in the series? Will we see the most featured knights find their Seraphs? And do you already know who is going to be paired with whom?
The series is outlined as six books.  I do know who is paired with who and how those story lines play out.  And yes, knights who are dominant will have stories told.  However… I leave that with the caveat that not every book features the same knights.  Book two has some surprising twists.

 Do you plan on bringing the ladies in on the demon-hunting action with their knights?
All I feel comfortable saying here is that every seraph has a role to play.  What that is, how it falls into the scheme of things, I’ll leave to the individual stories.

Who would be your ideal actors to play Merrick & Anne?
Oh gosh… I haven’t even thought of that!  In all sincerity, the last movie that I’ve seen is Transformers III, and I am not one to be able to spit out names of actors.  I don’t follow Hollywood at all.  I do think that’s a great question for the folks reading this interview though – who do you all think would make good actors for them?

Any teasers on who is intended for Sophie? Have we met him?
 Yes, you’ve met him.

Random 3 questions:

 What’s your favourite time of year?
Anytime that’s not wintertime?  Spring probably, although I despise the mud that comes with it on my farm.  Which leaves me with summer… yes, I’d have to say summer.  There’s no mud, I don’t have to layer on clothes, and my children are outside most of the day making for great work productivity!

Favourite food?
Italian.  I don’t care if it’s spaghetti or rigatoni – hands down Italian.

Are you a romantic?
 Mm… I’d say yes, at heart.  But I think those closest to me would disagree.  I don’t tend to show it very well, though I have great plans in my head!

A huge thank you to Claire for joining us today and we wish you all the best with the book release.

Claire Ashgrove has been writing since her early teens and maintained the hobby for twenty years before deciding to leap into the professional world. Her first contemporary novel, Seduction's Stakes, sold to The Wild Rose Press in 2008, where she continues to write steamy, sexy stories for the Champagne and Black Rose lines. For those who prefer the more erotic side of romance, she also writes for Berkley Heat under the pen name Tori St.Claire. 
Visit Claire at: www.claireashgrove.com OR www.toristclaire.com


Excerpt of Immortal Hope: The Curse of the Templars

Seeing a thin white scar that spanned across the back of his hand, she traced the mark with her nail. “I want to know about you,” she added more quietly. “What caused this?”

Merrick looked down to where she touched him. Using his opposite index finger, he traced the same path her fingernail had taken. Briefly, their fingertips touched. “’Tis a mark from a lance.”

“A lance?” Anne struggled with the urge to twine her finger around his.

“Aye. ’Twas a battle that came to us unexpectedly. I was not given time to don my armor before the riders set upon us. The knight struck me there, and here.” He touched his ribs beneath his right arm.

Anne’s gaze lifted to the vulnerable spot and pictured the battle as it might have occurred: Merrick standing down an armored knight on horse back, the sharp metal spear that punctured his flesh, the way his face might have contorted as he bit back a painful cry. Impulsively, she gathered his hand in both of hers and lifted it, bringing it to her lips to place a gentle kiss over the scar. “I’m sorry.”

Merrick said nothing, and in his silence, she began to question maybe she’d taken one too many liberties. They’d hardly begun to get along—what if her unchecked impulse just crossed some invisible boundary? Slowly, cautiously, she lifted her eyes to his. What she found in his fathomless dark eyes, however, said nothing of anger or annoyance. They gleamed with startling intensity, light bright enough to make her catch her breath.

“Do not be sorry,” he murmured. His eyes canvassed her face, lingered on her mouth. “’Twas a scar borne from duty. An order I was sworn to obey.”

The husky quality of his voice sent shivers coursing up and down her spine. She tried to look away, ordered her eyes to settle anywhere but on the sudden softening of Merrick’s expression. But her body refused, leaving her unable to do anything but choke down a dry swallow. When her thoughts cleared enough to form coherent words, she sought to lighten the moment with a bit of humor. “Orders can do that to you, I guess. Like now, you’re stuck with me.”

“I cannot say I find these orders entirely displeasing.” Merrick lifted his free hand to push a length of her hair away from her shoulder.

The back of his hand grazed the side of her neck and goose bumps scattered down her arms. “No?”


Giveaway! 
Claire will be giving away a 25$ Amazon.com gift certificate to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour, and a second 25$ Amazon.com gift certificate to a second randomly drawn commenter at the end of the tour. Be sure to follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning! Click here for a complete list of blog stops. 

25 comments:

reviewingshelf said...

I feel like I already know you Claire. :D

Melanie H said...

Great Interview ! i must say you can tell how much effort and research was done in this book but it isn't over the top like a history lesson and it made me need to know more. It's a very interesting subject and I enjoyed every minute of it, the only other time I've taken notice of the Templars was watching my sons on Assassins creed lol. Thanks for the insight Claire :D

mcv said...

Wow! I'm impressed by the amount of research and work that went into the novel. Hope all your hard work reaps great rewards.
mcv111 athotmail(dot)com

Claire Ashgrove said...

Morning everyone! Thanks for having me, and showing up this morning on the tour!

Melanie, they are truly fascinating as an order... there's so much about them that didn't make it into the book!

Later on in the tour, I'm revealing some fact vs. fiction examples and things I altered. Keep an eye out!

sweety said...

Nice Interview!!loved it!!

Happy New Year and Have a great day :)

GFC name - sweety
sweety225(at)rocketmail(dot)com

Joanne said...

I've been following the blog tour and having a fun time. Great interview and excerpt. Can't wait to read Immortal Hope.

e.balinski(at)att(dot)net

booklover0226 said...

Hi, Claire.

I enjoyed the interview; it was a fun read. And I'm thrilled book 2 is done, even though I haven't read book 1, yet!

I look forward in reading this series.

Thanks,
Tracey D
booklover0226 at gmail dot com

Jean P said...

A great interview, such a fascinating topic to write about. Enjoying learning all this information about the Knights of the Templar.

skpetal at hotmail dot com

Arianne Cruz said...

the male character's way of talking is strange, but awesome :D i like old-fashioned lads :D

email: cruz042 at cougars.csusm.edu

Tori St. Claire said...

Hello new faces and familiar ones. Thanks for jumping on the tour. When you consider the research alone, I think you can understand why I'm so excited to be able to finally share this book with all of you!

Claire Ashgrove said...

Mumble. There... I did it again... stupid Google refuses to log me out when I tell it to.

Anyway -- names aren't terribly important, right? :)

hotcha12 said...

STILL FOLLOWING YOU CLAIRE AND YAY IT'S FRIDAY!!

Bri said...

This book sounds awesome! Ill have to add it to my wishlist :)

Claire Ashgrove said...

TGIF, absolutely! Been a crazy week, and I'm looking forward to relaxing a little over the weekend.

Bri -- Nice to have you join the tour! Let me know your thoughts if you give it a whirl.

JoAnna said...

I like your answer last answer. I feel the same way. Great interview Claire! Thanks for sharing!

beckerjo at verizon dot net

Claire Ashgrove said...

JoAnna -- enjoy your weekend! Stop in if you get a chance. The tour will still be going.

Sophia Rose said...

This is good to know that there is a great deal of research that has gone into the writing of these books. I love learning new historical facts.

Thanks for the interview and for the giveaway opportunity.

sophiarose1816@gmail.com

marybelle said...

I'm no good at matching actors to characters in books. Maybe I should hold auditions.

marypres(AT)gmail(DOT)com

Cherry said...

Paul Doherty totally put me off Templars in his The Templar Magician. Perhaps this would be the book to correct that issue :)

Cherry Mischievous
cherrymischif-darkward [at] yahoo [dot] com

Victoria said...

This looks like an excellent read. How many books will be in this series? Thank you for the nice interview.

vsloboda(at)gmail(dot)com

Dusia said...

I'm quite interested in the book... The man isn't very handsome though ;)

Dannyfiredragon said...

How many books are planned for this series?

dannyfiredragon at aol.com

Anonymous said...

Your style is really unique compared to other people I've read stuff from. Thanks for doing this.
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