I’m very pleased to to be welcoming author Claire Ashgrove to the blog today. Claire is the author of the Curse of the Templars paranormal romance series, which I’ve really enjoyed, published by Tor Romance.
Welcome to the blog, Claire. Let’s get started. Were the Knights Templar something you were interested in before you started writing or was it something that grew from an idea for a plot?
I have always loved the Templar. Well… make that knights in general. And when I set out to do a paranormal series, my first thought was “Hm. Must do knights. Now how to make this work? Oooh. Templar.” So it started with knights, then relatively immediately went to the Templar. Primarily because there’s so many things to play with in a paranormal world, with them.
What sparked your interest in the Knights originally?
I have an absolute fascination with a question that comes up many times in the book from various characters: How did a network that was so large it could have formed its own country, capable of outpowering the other countries there, simply disappear? I’m not so fascinated with the legends about what they found, but the simple fact that very few were put on trial, very few died, and they spanned continents…and pretty much overnight… gone. We have some records, we can ascertain certain facts, but the vast majority is pretty open to interpretation.
Gabe is very cryptic, Merrick is a bit of a grouch, Anne is super sassy, and Farran is a down right stick in the mud. Have you based any of your characters on people you know or have encountered in real life?
Laugh! No, not at all. I actually tend not to do that, in general, because I have too many college-day friends that pester the heck out of me about putting them in stories. Though now that you mention Gabe: As he appears to Anne in Immortal Hope, with the long white dreadlocks, and the way he smells – that man I did encounter. Gabe, the character, was already developed at this point, but I super-imposed that man’s physical appearance and cologne onto Gabe for Immortal Hope. I have no idea who the real man was – I just passed him at an art fair.
Will Anne’s visions come into play again later on in the series?
Yes. All I’m saying there
What made you think of the boys having to put their surcoats outside of their door when they have been with a woman?
That’s actually somewhat from history. Per the actual Code of the Templar, that violation warranted the commander taking the knight’s sword and surcoat. It would later be given to another or returned to the knight when the commander felt that it was appropriate. Back then, that was pretty serious – if you live by the surcoat and sword, you can’t go to battle. It would also be very shaming to have them claimed. But I figure there’s not a man in history that can go hundreds of years without … ahem… an occasional slip up. (No pun intended). So I downplayed the fictional event.
Where do you like to write and do you have a favourite time of day?
Anymore, I write whenever and wherever I can. Typically, this involves late night when the household is asleep. And weekends. My young children (the demidemons if you follow my Facebook) are active in soccer and Scouts, so that eats a lot of my evening time.
What are your favourite snacks to nibble on while you’re writing?
I have a thing for Wheat Thins. Which really, if you know me, is such an odd thing because I am so not a health food addict. I live by chocolate, sweets, and there’s four teaspoons of sugar in my coffee. But Wheat Thins and writing… the demidemons have to take my box away, literally, if they want some left for them.
What are you working on now?
I just wrapped up a Templar Surprise! And now, I’m going back to work on the follow up book in the Black Opal series as Tori St. Claire, plus my follow up for my independent, historical pirate romance.
Do you know how many books there will be in the knights series?
Concretely? Nope. Ideally? Yep! But that’s information Gabriel has forbidden me to share.
“Damnation,” he hissed through clenched teeth.
He stalked back to the bed. No longer concerned for her injuries, he snatched up her fingers and inspected the scar once more. Nay, his eyes did not play tricks. She bore a dagger on her hand. It matched his as if someone had miniaturized the eighteen-inch-long weapon and scalded it into her flesh.
She belonged to him.
The door opened, and Farran’s head snapped up. He returned Louise’s pleasant smile with a glare. “You may undress the wench.” He shouldered past the aging caretaker, ignoring the way she spluttered.
So Gabriel sought to pair him with a maid, did he? ‘Twas no wonder the archangel did not forewarn him of her nature. Gabriel well knew Farran would rather swallow his own sword.
He took the stairs two at a time, in desperate need of fresh air. His fingers twitched with the need to pummel something. A seraph! His seraph! God’s teeth, would he be allowed no mercy? Could he not just leave this world and be done with life?
In the wide front room, Farran braced his hands on the table and squeezed his eyes shut tight. Duty bound him to accept the pairing. With the oaths they were fated to take, the Templar would gain much needed strength. Much as he would like nothing more, he could not walk away from the woman in the bed upstairs.
And yet . . .he did not have to stay either.
“Brother? Is something amiss?” Lucan’s voice drifted down the stairs.
Farran turned around and raised his glower to Lucan’s face. “You will go to her apartment. Fetch her cat. Fetch her things. Deliver them all to Mikhail.”
Lucan’s gaze narrowed with suspicion. “I trust you do not seek to have the maid to yourself?”
“Nay!” God’s teeth, nay. He would no more touch her now than he would touch a snake. He would say his oath, deliver her to the temple, and leave with the first light.
Cocking his head, Lucan studied him. Slow dawning filtered into his expression, and he answered with a thoughtful nod. “You recognize her mark. I shall have her mate sent here.”
Farran exhaled through his teeth. At his thigh, he clenched a hand into a tight fist. “There is no need for such.”
“Farran, you cannot be serious. She must be paired at once. ’Tis written—”
“She is mine, Lucan.” With the vile truth exposed, Farran stormed out the door
Award-Winning Author 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 romances, Claire’s paranormal romance series, The Curse of the Templars debuted with Tor in January 2012. For those who prefer the more erotic side of romance, she also writes for Berkley Heat as the National Bestselling Author Tori St. Claire. She is an active member of Romance Writers of America, and her local RWA chapters, Heartland Romance Authors, Midwest Romance Writers, and North Texas Romance Writers of America.
Claire lives in Missouri with her two sons and too-many horses, cats, and dogs. In her “free” time, she enjoys cooking, winning at Rummy, studying Ancient Civilizations, and spending quiet moments with her family, including the critters.