Saturday, January 28, 2012

Interview with Claire Ashgrove and Giveaway - January 28, 2012

Please welcome Claire Ashgrove to The Qwillery. Claire's most recent novel, Immortal Hope (The Curse of the Templars 1) was published on January 3, 2012.

TQ:  What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

Claire:  Writing quirk? Hm. I’m thinking it’s my very OCD-like approach to organizing each book. First come the spreadsheets. Sometimes in hordes. But they have to be in place with links loosely identified before I can do anything else. Then comes the outline. And by outline I mean… 5-10 pages with details per each chapter. After that, I have a folder. Inside that folder everything is broken out by: Chapter 1, Chapter 2, and so forth. When I finish a chapter, I plug it into one file, named with the particular characters I’m working on, and tally the word count.

At that point, I then go on to the next chapter, and so forth until the book is finished. Then, I give it an editing pass, and resave the file with its final working copy title.

I don’t delete files, ever. And I can’t seem to function outside of that OCDish approach.

TQ:  Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Claire:  Heh. If that wasn’t obvious in the above, I’m a plotter, and I drive my critique partners nuts with my plotting obsession. But, on the other hand, most of my books have sub plots that require a lot of forethought. So the plotting is a combination of necessity and habit.

TQ:  What is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Claire:  Right now the most challenging thing is finding the time to get everything done, along with my family demands, and along with promoting. Promotions are fairly new to me; in the past I didn’t put a lot of effort into major pushes. So now, I’m finding that I have to readjust my schedule.

TQ:  Describe Immortal Hope (The Curse of the Templars 1) in 140 characters or less.

Claire:  Eep! Um… “An exciting and sexy read involving archangels, demons, immortal Knights Templar, and seraphs who can lift the dark curse upon their souls.”

Shew! I have 2 characters left.

TQ:  What inspired you to write Immortal Hope?

Claire:  My passion for history, and in specific the Knights Templar. I’ve studied them for years, and of many different legendary societies, theirs has not only fascinating truths, but compelling mysteries. There are so many “unknowns”, even with all the recorded fact. My writer’s brain just couldn’t stay away!

TQ:  What sort of research did you do for Immortal Hope?

Claire:  Cumulative – a lot. Years worth. But in depth, probably an active year of compiling what I already knew, digging for more specific things, and linking in the rest of the series components, such as locations, the history therein, Christian foundation beliefs, etc. I did go into the project with a lot of comprehensive knowledge, though, so that made it somewhat easier.

TQ:  What is the most unusual information that you found about the Templars?

Claire:  Oh, wow, there’s really so much…

Really though, I think it’s the impact of realizing just how large the Order was in its heyday. With over 40,000 members – not all were actual knights – spread throughout Europe, the Order had the numbers and political power to become their own nation, had they so desired.

It’s that last part “become their own nation”. For the era in which they were active, that is astounding.

TQ:  Who was the easiest character to write and why? Hardest and why?

Claire:  Easiest? Hm. Probably Merrick, with Caradoc coming in a close second.

I can’t answer the second question, as it would reveal a spoiler for Immortal Surrender. Suffice to say I had to craft a particular character very carefully so his/her actions in the second book were plausible and his/her later actions remained consistent.

TQ:  Without giving anything away, what is/are your favorite scene(s) in Immortal Hope?

Claire:  Hands down, my very favorite scene is the second-to-last scene with Merrick and Anne. It was the scene I was always writing toward from the opening word.

TQ:  What's next?

Claire:  Gosh, 2012 is full of excitement on my end!

Immediately forthcoming, in February, the 4th installment in my Inherited Damnation series will be available. And that series will conclude (8 in total) in 2012.

Later this year, Immortal Surrender will also be available.

I also write under the pen name Tori St. Claire, and launched a debut series on January 3rd there as well. The second Black Opal book will be available in July.

TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Claire:  Thank you for having me! It’s been very fun, and I’ve enjoyed it immensely!

About Immortal Hope

Immortal Hope
The Curse of the Templars 1
Tor Books, January 3, 2012
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 368 pages

Centuries ago, Templar knights defied the archangels and unearthed the copper scroll that revealed the locations of the gates to hell. Cursed for their forbidden act, they now roam the earth, protecting mankind from evil. But darkness stalks them, and battles they fight bring them ever closer to eternal damnation. One promise remains to give them salvation—the return of the seraphs.

Embittered by his purpose, Merrick du Loire must honor an ancient pact and bring peace to his cousin’s soul, releasing him from the clutches of their enemy. When he stumbles upon history professor Anne MacPherson, he discovers that she possesses a sacred artifact that marks her as a seraph. Duty demands he set aside his personal quest and locate the knight she’s fated to heal. As Merrick struggles with conflicting oaths, Anne arouses buried hope and sparks forbidden desire that challenges everything he’s sworn to uphold.

Anne has six weeks to complete her thesis on the Knights Templar. When Merrick takes her to the Templar stronghold, he presents her with all she needs—and awakens a soul-deep ache that he alone can soothe. Yet loving Merrick comes with a price. If she admits she is destined for him, her gift of foresight predicts his death.


“Merrick, wait,” she called softly.

“Nay,” he answered on a hard swallow. “Nay, Anne. If I stay another moment, I will have you in that bed.” He shoved a hand through his hair and reached for the doorknob.

“But that’s where I want you,” she whispered.

He nodded once, a sharp dip of his chin. Pulling the door open, he answered, “I know.” Another protest, and he would turn right back to her waiting arms, cart her off to that oversized bed. When he finished with her, he would hate himself.

He entered the hall and shut the door.

Determination narrowed his gaze as he descended the stairs. He trained his thoughts to his cousin, focused on the oath he swore to Fulk. The very moment Anne discovered her intended, he vowed to leave. No sacred nail, no protected relic, no other oath would he honor until he fulfilled the promise to his kin. In so doing, he would free himself from this torment and lift his blade in Azazel’s name. It was a price he no longer feared to pay.

Claire's Giveaway**

 Claire will be giving away a $25 gift certificate to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour, and a second $25.00 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 the Blog Tour badge for a complete list of blog stops.

** The Qwillery is not affiliated with Claire's blog tour giveaway and is providing this for informational purposes only. Please follow Claire's rules to enter.

About Claire

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. Adding to these critically acclaimed contemporaries, Claire’s paranormal romance series, The Curse of the Templars, debuts with Tor in January 2012. For those who prefer the more erotic side of romance, she also writes for Berkley Heat under the pen name Tori St. Claire.

Claire lives on a small farm in Missouri with her two toddler sons, fifteen horses, four cats, and five dogs. In her “free” time, she enjoys cooking, winning at rummy, studying ancient civilizations, and spending quiet moments with her family, including the critters. She credits her success to her family's constant support and endless patience.

To learn more about Claire, visit her at:
Twitter: @ClaireAshgrove

The Qwillery's Giveaway


What:  One commenter will win a Mass Market Paperback copy of Immortal Hope (The Curse of the Templars 1)  from The Qwillery.

How:  Leave a comment answering the following question:

Which historical person(s) would you like to have dinner with?

Please remember - if you don't answer the question your entry will not be counted.

You may receive additional entries by:

1)   Being a Follower of The Qwillery.

2)   Mentioning the giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter. Even if you mention the giveaway on both, you will get only one additional entry. You get only one additional entry even if you mention the giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter multiple times.

3)   Mentioning the giveaway on your on blog or website. It must be your own blog or website; not a website that belongs to someone else or a site where giveaways, contests, etc. are posted.

There are a total of 4 entries you may receive: Comment (1 entry), Follower (+1 entry), Facebook and/or Twitter (+ 1 entry), and personal blog/website mention (+1 entry). This is subject to change again in the future for future giveaways.

Please leave links for Facebook, Twitter, or blog/website mentions. In addition please leave a way to contact you.

Who and When:  The contest is open to all humans on the planet earth with a mailing address. Contest ends at 11:59pm US Eastern Time on Saturday, February 4, 2012. Void where prohibited by law. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 years old or older to enter.

*Giveaway rules are subject to change.*


  1. Hey, great interview!! I've been wanting to read this book for quite some time already.:D

    As for dinner...I'd like to have with a knight, or duke, or earl, or prince, hahahha, or maybe Queen Nefertari from Ancient Egypt.:D

    Thanks for this giveaway!

    +1 Comment
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  2. I'd like to have dinner with Beethoven (assuming we could understand each other since I don't speak German & he's deaf!)

    +1 comment
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    +1 tweet!/LindaThum/status/163268944097050625

  3. Great interview. I would love to dine with Beau Brummel.
    debby236 at gmail dot com

  4. Great interview. I love this hop.
    I have no idea about dinner maybe Di Vinci.

    Tweeted:!/Jovial_1/status/163289950597545984 +1

    GFC as Victoria Sloboda +1

    commented +1


  5. First, congrats on the book! I find the history of the Templars to be so mysterious and fascinating, put that together with angels and I'm so there!
    I would love to meet King Arthur and the knights of the Round Table assuming they were real! If I couldn't meet him or a knight, I would go in a totally different direction and want to meet Jane Austen. I think she would be a really interesting person to have tea with, don't you think?

    +1 comment
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    msmjb65 AT gmail DOT com

  6. Me again. I'm totally new to Twitter, so I'm not sure if the URL I put in my last comment was correct of if this one is:!/msmjb65/status/163312180467478528

    It might be this one since it lloks like other commenters' Can anyone take a sec to let me know if I did this correctly??
    msmjb65 AT gmail DOT com

  7. Hi, Claire. I enjoyed the interview. I would love to have dinner with King Arthur and his knights, especially Sir Gawain!

    +1 comment
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    Tracey D
    booklover0226 at gmail dot com

  8. I'd be fascinated to find out if the legends of King Arthur were true. But I'd want to have dinner with Guinevere so she could dish the dirt on Arthur :)
    +1 comment
    +1 follow - irgl7

  9. I want to have dinner with Marie Curie! I've always admired her work in the sciences. edysicecreamlover18@gmailDOTcom
    GFC Krystal Larson

  10. Hi,

    i thought a lot about my asnwer to this question, first i thought about king Arthur to see how he thought to be able to maintain old tradition and new ones but after...seing all the problem in my country i thought it was better to ask King Leopold 2.. he was a visionary and strong willed... i guess we could use his help so politic around the dinner ^^

    +1gfc follower: miki


  11. I would say Jane Austen. I enjoyed reading the interview. Thanks for the giveaway.

    + 1 comment
    + 1 follower


  12. I would love to have dinner with Lancelot. I think that would be very interesting. I love the tale of King Arthur and Camelot. I am a follower and email subscriber. Please enter me in contest.

  13. I love stories about Knights! So I'd love to attend a Banquet with Arthur & his Knights (perhaps the Clive Owen version). And since my goal of 2012 is to read more paranormals, this would fit right in.

    +1 comment
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    +1 Tweeted:!/DianeSallans/status/163358236605558784

    sallans d at yahoo dot com

  14. That was an interesting interview. I do believe that for all the interviews I have read, Claire is the first writer to admit to being a complete plotter when answering that question. I love that so much background research has gone into this series.

    As to which historical figure I would like to share dinner with? I've always been big on Egyptology so I'm going with Imhotep the architect of pyramids, statesman, physician and so many other things. I'd love to see what an ancient Egyptian would think of our modern times.

    Thanks for the giveaway opportunity.
    +1 follower GFC: Sophia Rose

  15. Thanks for a fantastic interview and excerpt! I've been reading such positive buzz about this book, I now have book lust! Me wants!

    I'd have to say that I'd love to have dinner with Joan of Arc. Find out if she really was crazy ;)

    +1 gfc: erin
    +1 comment

  16. Thanks for the great interview and giveaway!!!
    As for historical figures, I would love to have dinner with the captain of the Titanic..just would love to go back and warn him of the upcoming doom...soo many innocent people. Very tragic!!!

  17. Claire, the book sounds right up my alley! History is a passion of mine also. I added this to the list of books to look for that seems to be rapidly growing, but I added a check beside it being as I felt drawn to it. I love finding new to me authors :)

    If I could have dinner with someone from the past, who would it be? That's a hard question for me and I couldn't narrow it down to just one so I'm adding two. William the Conqueror and King Henry the ll. Gotta love those Plantagenents! I would have many questions for both but the most important one would be to ask what was the one thing that happened in their life that was THE defining moment that made them who they were.

    Follower and commented

  18. Great interview. I 'd like to have dinner with King Arthur and his knights. Nice excerpt. Can't wait to read this book. Thanks for the blog tour.
    +1 comment
    +1 follower (GFC- Joanne B)


  19. This comment has been removed by the author.

  20. I think I'd like to have dinner with William Shakespeare--to ask him if he really was the author of all the plays and sonnets.

    GFC Follower: Catherine

  21. I would love to have dinner with Vlad Tepes or Vlad the Impaler. I find him interesting. I have read different books with the character in it. Plus I am a big fan of vampires.
    This book sounds great and would love to win and read. Claire is a new author for me and always looking for new books and authors to check out.
    Thanks for the chance to win.

  22. Queen Victoria was a fascinating woman. I'd love a chat with her.

    I follow.


  23. I would love to have dinner with Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy.

    +1 Comment
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  24. I would love to have dinner with Anne Boleyn!! How cool would that be?!! Thanks for the chance to win a copy of this awesome sounding book!!!

    +1 comment
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    +1 tweet:!/jwitt33/status/163438705145675776

    jwitt33 at live dot com

  25. I'd love to have dinner with the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). I think that no other person in the history of the world could hold more interest for me than the man chosen as the number 1 most influential person in the world.

    I love the excerpt and look forward to reading your book.

    +1 comment
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    +1 Tweeted:!/SweetNSensible/status/163581637421039616


  26. Great interview! I would love to dinner with William the Conqueror.
    Thanks for this giveaway!

    +1 Comment
    +1 Follower GFC
    +1 Facebook
    filiafantasy at gmail dot com

  27. Well, I would probably want to have dinner with Queen Elizabeth. She seems like such a nice person. or at least I hope she is....
    +1 follower
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  28. It's so hard to choose one historical figure. I think I'd like dinner with either Cleopatra or Aristotle.

    GFC: ML

    mljfoland AT hotmail DOT com

  29. I think I'd like to have dinner with Jesus. Clear up the religious questions...

    Follow Qwillery blog by email.

    On Twitter: @ZaraAlexis

  30. Years worth of research huh, that makes me even more excited to pick up this book!
    I would want to have dinner with King Arthur, so many questions and then I would ask if he could introduce me to his knights =)
    Fun post!

    GFC follower Lexi
    eyesofblueice (at) gmail (dot) com

  31. Hum... I would like to have dinner with Vivaldi or with Peter Paul Ruben. :) Beautiful music and art.

    thanks for the chance!

    +1 comment
    +1 gfc Kah_Cherub

    kah_cherub at hotmail dot com