Q&A with Claire Ashgrove - Tor/Forge Blog

Q&A with Claire Ashgrove

Immortal Hope by Claire AshgroveQ: Why the Templars? Is there anything in particular in their history that drew you to them?

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.


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4 thoughts on “Q&A with Claire Ashgrove

  1. Monks, even warrior monks, don’t belong in romance novels except as matchmakers or men about to leave their orders. As a Catholic, I find the whole concept frankly disgusting. I don’t get why non-Catholics like it; a man who can’t keep one set of vows isn’t a good romantic prospect or likely to keep marriage vows, either.

    And if there’s angels running around having sex, that’s also pretty stupid. When you consider that at best you could only have the illusion of having sex with purely spirit critters, when you consider that to them you’re about as intelligent as cute worms or maybe a Chihuahua, and when you realize that only evil angels who are waging war against you personally would even consider taking advantage of you that way, the romance kinda dies on the vine.

    Everybody wants to play with the cool Catholic toys, but they don’t want to pay any price for it — not even so far as logical consequences.

  2. Sounded interesting at first but seeing Mr. abs from heaven on the front of the book made me question the sexuality of the whole thing, especially since the Knights Templar were supposed to be a “version of monks.” Shouldn’t this include vows of poverty, chantity, and whatever else,

    Maureen, your comments gave me pause for thought. I think my Kobo is better off without it.
    Thanks for the info.

  3. Okay, if you don’t buy the warrior monk falling to temptation, you obviously are not a Jaqueline Carey fan… I am… it works… Just because this is treading on the toes of your faith’s dogma, does not mean it’s not a good novel. It is, after all, a work of fiction.

    I’m with mhlewallen, however, on the cover. Looks like a Harlequin bodice ripper to me, and from the description, that’s not your aim. I have not read the novel, so forgive me if I’m off base here. I find absolutely nothing wrong with a “chaste man fallen from grace for the love of a good woman” motif, and as a huge fan of the above mentioned author, I’m no prude, but the cover… that’s a buzz kill for me.

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