Before the Storm is Claire Ashgrove’s newest release, a fast-paced Urban Fantasy. It is a fabulous kick-off to the new Windwalker series. I read it at rated the book 4.5 of 5 Stars (my review), that’s right, I loved it! I interviewed Claire for this release week blog hop. Help me welcome Claire Ashgrove to Got Fiction blog!
Heather: Hi Claire, can you tell us a little bit about Before the Storm?
Claire: Sure thing! It’s an urban fantasy, for starters. (Gee, great exciting intro yes!) So, Halle is the heroine. She has the ability to control storms, only she can’t control her ability. (Man, my editor would be all over that sentence.) She’s been in hiding after creating a catastrophic event, but comes out of hiding to protect her sister. In the process, she’s confronted by a stranger who swears he can help her master her powers.
What results, is a complicated mess. Halle finds herself amid a war between different factions of magic users, with her family on the side of wrong. She discovers she’s far more than a sorcerer. She’s the chosen bearer of the ancient dragon’s power, and her magic is unlike anyone she knows.
In the quest to master her skills, she’s confronted with shocking family histories and a deep need to find herself. But trusting those around her isn’t easy, when everyone is keeping secrets. Add in a clan of necromancers hunting her for her soul… and life gets interesting quick!
Heather: Where did the idea or inspiration for Before the Storm come from?
Claire: Well in its simplest form, it originated with “Blown Away” the song by Carrie Underwood. That song gave me the visual of a young woman standing in the path of a tornado’s destruction, watching as her house was torn down, but immune to the flying debris. (Not hiding in the basement and just passively allowing life to happen as the song portrays). My character actively willed this into existence.
From there, I delved into why, how, what came next, and so forth. My background is in fantasy, despite my numerous romance books, and going the urban fantasy route gave me more room to work with my passion—world building. Once I had the bare bones, I was off and running.
Heather: Great song! Can you tell us a little bit more about Halle, the main character? What is her best and worst quality?
Claire: Halle deliberately killed someone who was pretty terrible. (I’ll let you find out whom, in the excerpt below). After, she took to the streets, living under the guise that she was dead. So she’s pretty hard on the outside. Letting people in – definitely not her strong point. She trusts very few. I’d say that’s her worst quality because it gets in her way. Despite that though, underneath her shell, she’s very loyal to those she does trust. And she’s determined—she never gives up, even when the odds are stacked against her.
Heather: What plans do you have for the series? Do you know how many books there will be or is the series mapped out yet?
Claire: I’ve really wanted to create a series I could come back to again and again, but the downside to that is, as a reader, I often feel lost with a never-ending series. Like I either have to start at the beginning or skip it, or if I miss something in between then I will never catch up.
So what I’ve planned is to tell the series in a series of trilogies. With each trilogy being something that is separate, yet still intertwined. Halle’s tale will be three books long. The next player, three. And so forth. With occasional guest appearances across the board. Hopefully that way, I can satisfy the desire to have something timeless, while readers won’t ever feel overwhelmed. At most they would have a two-book catch-up if they stumbled onto book three of a given trilogy first.
Heather: I love the plan for the world and the series, I’m looking forward to each book! Who is one of your all-time favorite book heroines?
Claire: Wow that’s hard. I don’t think I have one to be honest. My gut response is Scarlet O’Hara, but that sounds so trite. Still, despite all her faults, she’s incredibly strong and determined and those qualities stick with me as a reader. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a lot of our contemporary heroines. But as I’m sitting here and thinking, it’s Scarlet from Gone With the Wind, and Fantine From Les Miserables who come to mind first. Ooooh!!! And JO from Little Women. How in the world could I forget her? Let’s go with her ranking above the other two!!
Heather: What are three things or habits you must have when writing?
Claire: Must have huh? How many people are going to beat me when I say my cigarettes? Otherwise, coffee. Flavored please—Chocolate Donut House or Hazelnut Cream. Almond Biscotti if neither of those are available. And three…three… Hm. My phone. So that when I get stuck on words, I can play a little Farm Hero’s Saga or Bubble Witch.
Heather: Claire, Thank you for the interview, best of luck with Before the Storm!
Claire:Thank you so much for having me!
Before the Storm
She held no faith in magic. Now, fate is calling her…
Halle Rhoads has a terrifying gift–she can kill with the fury of the storm.
She should have known that kind of power wouldn’t go unnoticed. Thrust into a world full of dark magic with a handsome stranger who claims he can teach her, she struggles to master her abilities and stumbles onto a dangerous truth. She’s a windwalker, the chosen vessel of the ancient dragons who once ruled the world. Many will stop at nothing to possess the power in her blood, should they discover her secret. With necromancers hunting her and Halle’s closest allies guarding secrets, mastering her magic becomes a matter of necessity.
But accepting her destiny is altogether different. For doing so means she must sacrifice everything.
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About the 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 contemporaries, Claire’s paranormal romance series, The Curse of the Templars, will debut 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 on the web at www.ClaireAshgrove.com
Each stop on the Blog Hop has an exclusive excerpt from Before the Storm. Start at the beginning and follow the hop to read then entire first 1.5 chapters!
For the duration of the Before the Storm Blog Hop, Claire Ashgrove will be giving away, daily, one digital copy of anything on her backlist to one random commentor. The Rafflecopter Giveaway for the Blog Hop is for a $15.00 Amazon / Barnes and Noble Gift Certificate, and a full digital set of my series, The Curse of the Templars. Be sure to comment and enter the Rafflecopter both!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Follow the Tour:
- 4/20 – Under the Covers (Meet Halle Rhoads)
- 4/21 – Book Passion for Life
- — Reading Between the Wines
- 4/22 – Wicked Lil Pixie
- 4/23 – Got Fiction
- 4/24 – Lola’s Reviews
- 4/25 – Literal Addiction
- 4/26 – Book Lover’s Life
Thanks for stopping by today! Remember to leave a comment to be entered in the daily prize giveaway! Happy reading-