Novels Alive, in association with our sister site, BeMyBard.com are very thrilled to welcome, a bright new talent in the world of historical romance, author Máire Claremont.
We’ve all pondered the age old question of which came first the CHICKEN or the EGG? As a writer, when creating a new story, which tends to come first for you—the CHARACTERS or the PLOT?
It’s never the plot! I wish it was. I am a panster, having very little idea of what’s coming next. So, for me, it’s always a character and event that comes first. In THE DARK AFFAIR, Powers was growling in his asylum cell. It was the image that came to me and how I ALWAYS begin. THE DARK LADY had a specific image too, but I’m sharing that as an exclusive scene in my newsletter. For LADY IN RED it was Mary, battered, knocking on the door of a brothel in the rain.
It’s inevitable that small bits and pieces of a writer’s own personality will make their way into the characters they create. But if you had to write yourself into one of your books, would your character most likely be the hero/heroine, the steadfast best friend, the comedy relief or the villainous mastermind?
Jeez. That’s a tough one. As you say, a bit of me is on all of them. But if I had to write myself into the story, I’d definitely be the heroine or possibly the anti-hero character. I identify the most with my heroines, which is why I think some people say I write heroine driven stories. Powers on the other hand is a bit of an anti-hero in Lady in Red, and I adore him. He’s another kind of character I’d like to be.
Speaking of villains…do you prefer writing characters that are clearly evil from the second they appear on the page or the surprise villain that no one would ever expect?
Well, I actually don’t like flat out evil villains. I’ve written one and have regrets about it. I really prefer my baddies to have dimension, so that the reader understands how they became that way, or can see why they act so badly. They’re people too. . . Just not nice people. For instance. I LOVE Mrs Palmer the owner of the mad house in the Mad Passion books.
If you had the power to step inside the pages of any book for 24 hours, which one would you choose and why?
Yixes! Just one? Can’t I be like Doctor Who and travel to multiple times. . .Er I mean books? Its funny because most of my FAVORITE books like Karen Marie Moning’s books, yes all of them, JR Ward’s BDB or Michael Faber’s THE CRIMSON PETAL AND THE WHITE are all books I LOVE LOVE LOVE reading many times over. However, I wouldn’t wish to be in ANY of them. I know that I would be that side character that ends up dead on page 3. Same with my books. The worlds are tough, and I have no real desire to live in Victorian London or say, Medieval Scotland (KMM’s time travel) , though a Highland Druid would be fun if he wanted to travel forward and stay in the future. ;D So, to make a long answer longer, I’d choose CROCODILE ON THE SANDBANK by Elizabeth Peters! The book is hilarious and features a droll English spinster in the 1870s who travels to Egypt and blossoms into a mad capped murder solving, archeologist. The books are SO much fun.
If you could use that same power to jump through the screen into the world of your favorite television show or movie, which would it be and why?
GAH! Same as before. Where is my movie/tv Show T.A.R.D.I.S? And also, kind of similar answer. Hands down, my favorite show right now is Game of Thrones. People die like crazy in that show, as they do in The Tudors, another of my ultimate favorites. . . So, if I had to choose. I think I would like to travel into BBC’s Sherlock and be Irene Adler. Because One) Benedict Cumberbatch. I adore him and his oddness. Two) I LOVE LOVE LOVE London. Three) Irene Adler is the boss and I want her house and all her clothes.
Over the last few years, books of an erotic nature or with taboo subject matter have become more acceptable—even popular—in the mainstream marketplace. How, if at all, has this change affected the way that you write your own “love scenes”?
Honestly? Not much. My books deal with heroines who’ve had a rough time of it, so I don’t have particularly adventures sex scenes though they are detailed (no closed doors please!). I do love that the genres have opened up. For fabulous historicals and really steamy, adventurous sex I recommend Delilah Marvelle.
There was once a time when authors had to rely almost solely on mainstream media like newspapers and magazines to find reviews written on their latest book. Now that the internet has made it possible for anyone with a keyboard to become an armchair critic, has the sheer number of reviews available for your books made it easier or harder to deal with criticism?
At first, criticism is always tough. ALWAYS. I have cried over reviews and ranted especially with my first book. But, they’re opinions and one reviewer will love a book and another will hate it. I also read them ALL. Yep. All. I’m OCD like that. I goggle myself. I must admit to becoming fairly immune, and perhaps it is the sheer volume. I also, realize that when I have 100+ reviews out there ONE or TEN really negative reviews isn’t going to destroy my career.
Many authors have branched out into multiple genres over the years. Is there a particular genre of fiction that you have always wanted to tackle but, haven’t tried yet?
Yes! I love time travel and I love contemporary. So, at some point I’d really love to give those a try. Though with time travel my favorites are medieval Scotland and ancient Egypt.
If you could choose one historical/contemporary romance from your own or another author’s library of work to be made into a feature film which would it be and why?
I would choose THE DUKE OF SHADOWS by Meredith Duran. It’s a fabulously angsty and dramatic tale set to the backdrop of India’s revolution of 1865 and then subsequently in London. It’s AMAZING. So full of drama, passion, and history.
Tell us a little bit about the project you are working on now or share something about your newest or upcoming release(s).
THE DARK AFFAIR is very special to me. I wrote it right after my mother died. And to do so, I traveled to Ireland and spent three weeks there. The book isn’t set in Ireland, but my parents and I spent many happy trips traveling over the Emerald Isle and to honor my mother and my father (he died a decade ago) I took their ashes and scattered them in the Avoca River at a place called “The Meeting of the Waters”. It was a wonderful, empowering, research filled trip. My mom and dad would have loved it and the story.
THE DARK AFFAIR will be available, tomorrow, March 4th. Be sure to check it out and all of the previous titles in Ms. Claremont’s wonderfully dark and romantic Mad Passions series.
2011 Golden Heart winner Máire Claremont first fell in love with Mr. Rochester, not Mr. Darcy. Drawn to his dark snark, she longed to find a tortured hero of her own… until she realized the ramifications of Mr. Rochester locking his frst wife up in his attic. Discovering the errors of her ways, Máire now looks for a real-life Darcy and creates deliciously dark heroes on the page. Oh, and she wants everyone to know her name is pronounced Moira. Her parents just had to give her an Irish Gaelic name.