It gives me great pleasure to welcome Cherie Le Clare to our blog today. Cherie lives in the coastal city of Nelson, New Zealand. She was originally a teacher and is married with two grown sons. She signed her first publishing contract in 2008 and has been commended in several writing competitions. She is the author of several romance novels, mostly set in her native New Zealand. She has written two WW2 historical romances, FRENCH KISS and KIWI KISS. She has also written THE WATER BABY (contemporary romance). Her latest release TAMING THE BAD BOY is romantic suspense. She is a regular visitor to the USA where she has family and some of her novels feature US as well as NZ characters.
Cherie can be found online at her website (http://cherieleclare.com/), her blog (http://cherieleclare.com/
Maria: Cherie, you write romance fiction in several genres, contemporary, historical and suspense. Which is your favourite category and why?
Cherie: I don’t really have a favourite category because I enjoy the challenge of trying different genres. Perhaps my historical novels are the most interesting to write because they involve a lot of research.
Maria: Where do you get the inspiration for your stories?
Cherie: Inspiration strikes in all sorts of ways. I have a folder full of ideas I’ve jotted down as they’ve popped into my imagination. The idea for FRENCH KISS came from a series of comics (graphic novels) I read when a teenager, starring Mademoiselle Marie, fearless leader of a group
of World War II French Resistance fighters. I was inspired by the brave heroine’s adventures for my heroine, Louisa. The hero for that book (Joe) came from my uncle who flew spitfires for the RAF during that war.
KIWI KISS, also set in World War II, was inspired by my parents’ stories of their experiences in New Zealand at that time. One of my sisters died at only 14 weeks old while dad was away serving in the army, and mum had to cope with this on her own, along with caring for my three other siblings who were all under five years old. Tears would spring to my eyes when mum talked about this, and it led me to wonder what life was like for other women left behind to “keep the home fires burning”. The “Dolly Varden” tearoom, which no longer exists but was open during the war and beyond, was actually managed by my parents when I was a baby during the 1950’s and my eldest sister left school to help them run it.
THE WATER BABY came from me having friends, neighbours and acquaintances who have emigrated from Germany, America, Britain, Sweden, India, Taiwan, Japan and Australia to settle here in New Zealand. I started wondering why they would want to permanently leave their families and culture. While listening to their stories I often found a common thread – they wanted a better life, and to start afresh far from difficult relationships, overcrowding, or bitter and sad memories.
A newspaper headline on men’s complaints about not receiving equal custody rights inspired TAMING THE BAD BOY. “What if…?” My imagination answered the question, I added an unexpected twist, and the story revealed itself!
Maria: Do you listen to any special type of music when you write?
Cherie: I’ve tried writing to music but quickly discovered I need peace and quiet to concentrate
Maria: I’m really curious about the answer to this one. Do you plot your stories or just follow where the muse takes you?
Cherie: I do plot my stories out as much as I can – I’ve found even a simple structure saves me wandering off the track and having to do extensive rewrites. Having said this I’m open to the magic “light bulb” moments of “Hey, this is a much better complication or twist.” And I often don’t know my characters very well until I’ve written at least three chapters – sometimes they behave in ways which surprise me and I may change course a little. Uncovering their hidden layers to give them depth can be quite an exciting process when it works well.
Maria: Do your characters ‘speak’ to you?
Cherie: Speak to me? More like whisper perhaps – usually at inconvenient times like the middle of the night, or when I’m in the shower, or driving, and don’t have a pen handy to jot anything down!
Maria: What is your favourite book of all those that you’ve written?
Cherie: I don’t really have a favourite. Like my children they all equally evoke emotions of smiles and sadness, chuckles and fear. I aim to write emotional books, where the reader joins the roller-coaster ride of the characters’ joys, heartaches, tears and triumphs, and, finally, rejoices in the peaceful calm of the happy-ever-after ending.
Using drastic measures to take what he wants backfires on Luke Knight when he meets solo foster mum, Katie Ryan. Both suspicious of one another’s motives, yet equally determined to protect five year old Emily, they must support one another and learn to co-operate to keep the little girl safe. But, when Emily goes missing, their relationship is tested to its limits. And discovering the truth turns out to be the biggest test of all.