Q&A with Claire Ashgrove
I’m a history addict, and I’m particularly fond of the mysteries in history. Cultures that disappeared, people who have lost histories, people who’ve gone missing—the Templars are the epitome of that particular passion. I’m not so much enchanted with “What did they find and where are they hiding it?” but more… What happened to an entire network of people that numbered enough to form their own nation and possessed more power than the king who was bent on eradicating them? History has a plausible explanation, but still, there are gaps that just don’t make logical sense.
In the end, when the author’s brain got a hold of the question “What happened?” the Templar history was the perfect playground for a paranormal series.
Q: What research did you do?
Oh my goodness. A year’s worth. Literally. I read references and lecture material to get started. I’ve watched everything from documentaries about the Order, to archeological investigations that happened to include cross-references to the Knights Templar. I studied armor and weaponry, and usage of both. And I did some digging into Christianity, particularly the legends around sacred relics, and Old Testament documentation.
Q: What is it you love about fate or a higher power trying to push a couple together, like it does for Anne and Merrick?
I like the inescapability of it all. Like the old saying, “You can run but you can’t hide…” There’s a heightened sense of utter destruction if fate is ignored too. In Anne and Merrick’s case, they can resist, they can turn their backs on the predestined. But if they do, what is the true cost? If they ignore the push from the higher power, and Merrick dies, there’s no undoing that mistake. No second chances.
Q: Anne reads her Tarot cards at one point. Do you read Tarot?
I have. I do on occasion. I’m told that I do well interpreting, but I have no confidence in that ability, so I don’t put much stock in it. It’s more for enjoyment than for definitive insight.
Q: What do you have planned for the next book in the series?
Well, we’ll meet the second seraph, and another knight will be tested. (No, I’m not giving hints on who.) There’s a bit more danger, more mystique about the sacred relic in jeopardy. We also change settings with a trip overseas where we’ll meet a new archangel. Immortal Surrender is darker. You’ll see the true threat of Azazel’s power and meet a seraph who’s willing to sacrifice everything for love.
Q: What authors have influenced you in your own writing? Is paranormal romance your favorite genre?
Actually, my favorite genre is speculative fiction, and Steve Berry is my favorite author. Within the romance genre, Shayla Black, Larissa Ione, Karin Tabke, Alyssa Day, Sylvia Day, and Anya Bast have inspired me on many levels. There’s many many more, but these ladies have really been role models when it comes to my paranormal writing. Still I must say my love of romance all goes back to my early teens and Johanna Lindsey.
From the Tor/Forge February newsletter. Sign up to receive our newsletter via email.
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