Three books that changed the course of my writing career can best be described as a domino effect. A really slow motion domino effect, since it took ten years or more between the fall of each domino . . .
The first book fell into my hands at the tender age of eight. I went to a tiny, parochial school where each grade consisted of a classroom of about twenty-five kids. The library held maybe a hundred books all told. For that reason, once a month, the local public library sent a box of books. We were allowed to pick through and choose one book, which we had possession of for the subsequent three weeks.
Its impressive, coffee-table size, the hardcover, and the shiny dust cover—these were what led me to draw out a book called Early Netherlandish Painting. I don’t remember the author. But it was a picture book of famous paintings from the late Middle Ages. One particular work, The Arnolfini Wedding by Jan Van Eyck, mesmerized and frightened me. Although too young to decipher the symbolism in the painting, its power left a lasting impression on me. I became a “Rennie,” one obsessed with research of the early Renaissance. I embarked on a mission: to become an expert on the history of the period.
It was then I picked up the first romance novel I ever read—Jude Deveraux’s A Knight in Shining Armor. I swear, the book opened up new passageways in my imagination.
For one, Deveraux not only spun a fascinating love story, but she transported me—quite literally, along with the heroine—back to the time period I’d been fascinated with since I was a child. Glued to the pages, I believe I read the book in one sitting, and came away feeling as though nasal spray had been applied to my brain.
Time travel romance. Wow. What a unique concept. I’ll have to write one of those someday.
Six months later, A Taming Season was born—only one of the four novels I’ve written and had published over the last two years. Thank you, Oh Master of Horror, for scaring me into the coveted title of Author.
Her latest book released only a few days ago:
The Phoenix Syndrome
Turning forty, for Lannie Marvin, is rough. It’s the day she discovers her husband is leaving her for a younger “soulmate.” At work, a crazed mouse being treated with an experimental drug brutally bites her. Then, Lannie goes a little crazy, too.
Seems she’s recently developed a serious crush on the drummer of her son’s favorite heavy metal band. Waking up to her husband’s empty closet, her finger still throbbing from the mouse bite, Lannie snaps. Under the ruse of a shopping trip, Lannie kidnaps her sister-in-law/best friend, and heads toward Bethel, New York – the site of the original Woodstock concert.
Just so happens Dreamwish is playing a concert there, and Lannie managed to procure the pair of tickets her son won but couldn’t use.
Tristan Allard, the band’s drummer, holds this benefit every year in memory of his wife, whom he lost to breast cancer. The musician is beginning to doubt his ability to write the band’s music without his wife’s inspiration – she was also his muse. Plus, he’s damn lonely. So when a sexually charged, extremely attractive, slightly older woman literally plows into him at the backstage reception, Tristan is ready to learn more about her – and her long-buried interest in musical composition.
The two head off for a wild ride of a weekend, but reality boomerangs around way too soon. Tristan is headed to the UK to audition his next album’s scores. And an elevated libido isn’t the only side-effect of that experimental drug.
To her horror, Lannie soon discovers the treated mice have gone deaf.
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Thanks, Claire, and you can find out more about Claire at her Website or Amazon author page, and follow her on Twitter and Facebook.