Anniversary Interview & Contest: Claire Delacroix

Claire Delacroix1

SONY DSCJen:  One of the first medieval romances I ever read was a Claire Delacroix book.  When we were planning this historical week, I knew we had to ask Claire to be a part of the celebration.  So, without further ado, our guest for day three of historical week — Claire Delacroix!
Claire: Bestselling and award-winning author Deborah Cooke has published over fifty novels and novellas, including historical romances, fantasy romances, fantasy novels with romantic elements, paranormal romances, contemporary romances, urban fantasy romances, time travel romances and paranormal young adult novels. She writes as herself, Deborah Cooke, as Claire Delacroix, and has written as Claire Cross. She is nationally bestselling, as well as a USA Today and New York Times’ bestselling author. Her Claire Delacroix medieval romance, The Beauty, was her first book to land on the New York Times List of Bestselling Books.

Deborah was the writer-in-residence at the Toronto Public Library in 2009, the first time TPL hosted a residency focused on the romance genre, and she was honored to receive the Romance Writers of America PRO Mentor of the Year Award in 2012.

Currently, she’s writing the Dragonfire series of paranormal romances as Deborah Cooke, and the True Love Brides series of medieval romances (with fantasy elements) as Claire Delacroix.

Website | Deborah’s FB Page | Claire’s FB Page

Jen: Please tell us about your newest release and where the idea came from.
Claire:  The Frost Maiden’s Kiss by Claire Delacroix, which will be published in August, is the third medieval romance in my True Love Brides series. This series picks up the story of the siblings introduced in my Jewels of Kinfairlie trilogy. The Frost Maiden’s Kiss is Malcolm’s story. Ravensmuir, the sister estate to Kinfairlie, collapsed into the sea in Vivienne’s book The Rose Red Bride, killing Tynan (Malcolm’s uncle) who had made Malcolm his heir. Malcolm had no means to repair his inheritance, and although he tried, he didn’t have the experience to administer it either. In Alexander’s book, The Snow White Bride, Malcolm left Scotland to become a mercenary in Europe, much to Alexander’s disapproval. The Frost Maiden’s Kiss begins four years later, when Malcolm returns to Ravensmuir, richer, wiser and embittered by what he’s seen and done. He sets to work rebuilding the keep, determined to make some good come of his experience. That’s when he meets Catriona. Used and abandoned, she’s alone and pregnant, maybe just as bitter as he is but determined to do best for her unborn child. Intrigued and attracted, Malcolm impulsively offers to marry her: he knows he’ll never love as he did once before, but he sees that he can do good for Catriona by making her son his heir and giving her a haven. Catriona, for her part, thinks little good of men, particularly those accustomed to using force to claim their desire. Malcolm appears to be a man of principle to her, and one who offers her a tempting choice. She’s sure he doesn’t need to know her history or the promise she means to keep, but past deeds will do more than haunt these two before their future is secure.

I always enjoy returning to Ravensmuir, a holding I first created in my medieval romance The Rogue, and this book is no different. There’s always a bit of a gothic feel to Ravensmuir and that continues in Malcolm’s story – he hears a mysterious maiden singing in the castle ruins, and is also watching for the return of the ravens to the keep. Catriona has nightmares about her past, and both see the ghost of Tynan, the previous Laird of Ravensmuir. There’s also the very earthly influence of a large, noisy family, and their determination to help the ones they love, even when their involvement isn’t entirely welcome. I’m having a great time with this book.

I’m also putting together a collection of my own shorter works. It’ll be called Beguiled and will be listed as both a Claire Delacroix book and a Deborah Cooke book. It should be out in July, and is the first time I’ve been able to gather these individual works together in one volume.

Jen: What what age did you discover writing? Tell us your call story.
Claire:  Well, I always wrote stories. For as long as I can remember, I was scribbling something. In high school, though, I was told that being a writer of fiction was no way to make a living, and that I should make a practical choice of career, keeping my writing as a hobby. I took that advice but about ten years later, I decided to try to get my books published. I was reading historical romance, so wrote one of those. I also wrote a paranormal romantic suspense and a short sexy contemporary – that last one was because I’d heard they sold well. I had these three books in rotation: I’d revise one and send it out to a number of agents and editors, then revise the next one. In those days (around 1990) editors and agents wrote real rejection letters, often several pages worth of comments and suggestions, and replied within 3 months or so. I learned a great deal from those letters and after about two years of this, in April 1992, I came home from work to find a message on the answering machine from Tracy Farrell at Harlequin Historicals. She had my medieval, The Romance of the Rose. I knew she hadn’t phoned from New York to tell me that she hated the book, so I had a little squee before calling her back. I think I sounded reasonably calm, but maybe not. That book was published in March 1993, and was the first of eleven medievals I ultimately sold to Harlequin.

Jen: You write fantasy romance as Deborah Cooke and medievals as Claire Delacroix. How do you switch between the two genres? And why?
Claire:  I like to write in a lot of different sub genres. I think that switching between them keeps my ideas fresher – when I return to 14th century Scotland after some time in the here and now with my dragon shifters, for example, I notice different details about Kinfairlie and the family, and see different threads to explore. So, the variety works for me. In terms of publishing, there are two different schools of thought about marketing works in different sub genres by the same author. One plan is to market everything under the same author name, but distinguish the sub genre with the cover art and design. The other – which used to be the more prevalent thinking – is that each sub genre of an author’s work should be distinguished not only by the cover art and design but by the author name (the brand). My having multiple author brands is a bit of a legacy from that kind of thinking. I have been trying to make stronger links between them, by amalgamating everything into a single website. I also eliminated one of my author brands (Claire Cross) when I republished the eight books originally published under that author brand: the time travel romances became Claire Delacroix books, and the contemporary romances became Deborah Cooke books.

Jen: Are there any other writers, published or not, in your family?
Claire:  No, just me. 🙂

Jen: If you were able to travel in time, where would you go and what 3 things would you take with you?
Claire:  I’d go to France in the 12th century, and maybe tag along with a party headed to Palestine on crusade. It would be tempting to take things like aspirin, but I think I’d rather just go and avoid the anachronisms. I’d like to blend in to the crowd rather than be an object of curiosity.

Jen: On your blog, you have a knitting feature every week. Do you have a favorite project that you’ve done? What else do you do in your free time?
Claire:  I do knit a lot, but my knitting is mostly about process: I enjoy the creation of each project. For example, I knit lace because it’s interesting and challenging, but my friend teases me that my finished lace shawls just live in the drawer with the cedar blocks. I’m trying to remember to dig out my knitting and wear it when it’s done. The sweaters I knit for my husband see the most action, because he wears them all. That’s pretty satisfying. I also work in my garden in summer, and like to cook.

Jen: What’s next for you?
Claire:  After Malcolm’s book, I’ll be finishing the final book in the True Love Brides series: The Warrior’s Prize, which is Elizabeth’s book. After that, I’ll be finishing the final Dragonfire book, Firestorm Forever, which is Sloane’s book. I’m hoping to have both of these published in 2014. Then in 2015, it’s on to all new series! I can’t wait to dig in.

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45 thoughts on “Anniversary Interview & Contest: Claire Delacroix

  1. HI Jen –

    Thanks so much for inviting me to be interviewed here. You didn’t say that one of your first historical romances was one of mine! How fun is that? 🙂

    Deb
    aka Claire

    • Whoops… guess I forgot to mention that when I emailed. I’d read some regencies and then stumbled upon medievals and yours was one of the first that got me hooked. To this day, I still love a good medieval… there’s just something about them that are more satisfying than regencies…

  2. Linda says:

    I love the courtesy, the dresses and the politeness.. Oh and the men, taking charge .. And it´s the time of pirates, ships and parties where people interact, don´t keep their noses to their smartphones checking in on FB all the time LOL
    THanks for the giveaway & Happy Wednesday!
    //Linda

  3. Laney4 says:

    I like that your husband wears all your sweaters. My mom made me a gawd-awful brown poncho when I was in school, and she made me wear it often. Years after my mom died, when I was in my forties, I finally put it in my yard sale. Funny that.

  4. Debbie Haupt says:

    Jen what a wonderful interview of my all time favorite author of not only historical but fantasy novels.
    Deb Love You!!
    Thanks for this great informative chat and for the fabulous contest!!!
    deb

  5. Irma Jurejevčič says:

    I love the details, I love that heroines are mostly innocente, I lve it to be wild, I love the fact that the heroes have to fight with their own muscles,… I love so much stuf I can’t even remember right now.

  6. Jane Squires says:

    Learning how it is in different countries, area, etc. and characters who help you relate.

  7. anne says:

    Your historicals portray such fascinating eras and realistic and captivating characters whose lives are fraught with trials and tribulations. Your novels are enthralling and give me a glimpse of lives and the locale which is part of the plot. Memorable novels and unforgettable.

  8. laurie g says:

    i love historicals b/c they take me to a different time and away from my own boring life

  9. Jess1 says:

    I love the different time period feel of the story and experiencing what it’s like to live during that time.

  10. erinf1 says:

    congrats to Claire on the book! I love HR b/c it’s a fun escape into a completely different time/culture 🙂

  11. pamela paterakis says:

    I love the physical obsticals of surviving they endure along with trying to love

  12. I love historical romances because they take me away into another time and place, away from the realities of modern times. I love the language, the dress, the scenery and of course the romance. I love the historical details which are often based on real events or real people or places. I usually learn something I didn’t know before.

  13. Dawn says:

    I actually love the history. It was my favorite subject in school and I still try to learn new things. I’m amazed at some of the things I’ve learned in historical romance. You learn things in these books that you don’t learn anywhere else. I’m thankful to authors, like you, who do research to make things accurate.

  14. Amy Wilson says:

    Historical romances offer a true escape from the daily grind. The opportunities are endless depending on the reader’s whims. I like the way that history is redefined with each new author I discover. While the historical facts may be real, there’s always something magical when combined with an author’s imagination.

  15. Alyn says:

    I love the history even if it isn’t always super accurate. I read to get away to a different world and history takes me there.

  16. Kristy Petree says:

    I love the time periods themselves, in many ways a simpler time (none of our modern technologies that keep us from being stronger in family and our other relationships). It’s like a fantasy, but from real days gone by. 🙂

  17. Jeanne Miro says:

    Hi Jen and Claire!

    I love reading historical romance especially ones set in England and Scotland because that’s where my ancestors left from to move to what is now the United States! My husband loves to read historical fiction and is always amazed at the history I’ve learned and how much I’ve learned about different parts of both countries.

    We were fortunate enough to visit both countries several years ago and because of the books I had read we were lucky enough to visit some of the small towns that most tourists have never heard of and loved talking (and getting some great advice of other places to visit that aren’t in the “popular” tour books from so many people in those towns (and finding the best places to eat some great regional dishes).

    Claire –

    I’ts stories like yours that got me intersted in “finding” my family even if it’s only by reading books that are set in the locations from your books!

  18. Marcy Shuler says:

    I especially love medieval Scottish highland books. I like to imagine living in that time with the castles and warrior men in kilts. It’s romantic in books, but I’d miss bathing if I actually lived in that time. LOL

  19. Wow, lots of history fans here! It’s good to see so many kindred spirits.

    I love history, too, and actually, one of my university degrees is an honours bachelor with a specialist in history (and a focus – surprise! – on medieval studies). What’s fascinating to me about writing historical romance is that the research is about social history instead of political history. Although it’s important who is king and what battles are being fought, it’s more important to find out what people ate, how they lived, what women wore when they were married, etc. etc. etc. Traditionally, historians have been less interested in this (some call it the history of “pots and pans”) but there are more and more scholars researching these details and writing about them. That means more sources for writers of fiction.

    The other interesting thing is that people have a lot of preconceptions about different eras, often from movies and television shows. So, people will say something like “everybody knows that no one bathed in the middle ages”, but actually, medieval people bathed frequently (and a lot more frequently than Renaissance people). It was a social thing. There were public bath houses, and there are many images of people sharing baths and having a good time together. It was near the end of the era that prostitutes began to work out of bath houses and their reputation changed. That probably also contributed to people bathing less in later centuries.

    See? Get me talking about social history and I can’t stop! LOL. Thanks to all of you for stopping by and commenting. 🙂

    Deborah
    aka Claire

  20. Diane Sallans says:

    I love a romance story & when they are historical I get to visit a time long past – and I often learn things too.

  21. Carol L says:

    I definitely have to read the True Love Brides series: Historical fiction is a great pleasure to read. I love anything having to do with the past and I’m always fascinated about the things that have already happened in life and going back through my reads .
    Carol L
    Lucky4750 (at) aol (dot) com

  22. Mary McLarty says:

    I love the “interconnected series” concept you have perfected so much. It’s cool to have that back story and sense of history for the characters and their offspring. I love historical romance as a whole, but there are some who take it to a whole new level and you are one of them! Looking forward to reading the True Love Bride series now!

  23. Negar says:

    I love learning more about the time period and how people actually lived. You can always tell an author who did research.

  24. april holthaus says:

    I love Claire DeLaCroix’s books. My favorite is Renegades Heart. Can’t wait to read this one!

  25. Jamie Steadman says:

    Claire Delacroix historical books were some of the first historicals I had read and I still have some of her books.

  26. Teresa says:

    What do you love best about historical romance? — Mostly the knights, sword fights, and the women how inspire.

  27. Kimi Court says:

    I like being swept away to another time and reality. I have no desire to read contemporary cause they are not taking me anywhere but where I already live. I want to go back where men were real men, and women needed them as much as they needed us.

  28. Linda Townsend says:

    I found you thru Terry Spear’s party tonight! Thanks for mentioning this giveaway there! I love the brawny guys, the historical aspects, Books are my escape from reality and I’m with Kimi… I look forward to being swept away to another time and reality.

  29. Cathy Phillips says:

    I really enjoyed the interview and thanks for the contest!

    I like historicals because they take me back to a time and place that I can only dream about.

  30. Lots of people popping over from Terry’s FB party! Thanks to all of you for stopping by – and for making that event so much fun.

    It looks like it’s unanimous – we all love historicals, AND men in kilts!

  31. Rebecca says:

    I love the dresses, castles, manor homes – all the sparkly, twirly images in my head that I can’t get with contemporary romance!

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