Posted January 25, 2012 by davincikittie in Informational

Book Tour & Gìveaway opportunity: Claire Ashgrove on Risks in Immortal Hope

Let’s give a big GT welcome to Claire Ashgrove, author of Immortal Hope!


Templar knights defied the archangels and unearthed the copper scroll, revealing the gates to hell. Cursed for their forbidden act, they forever roam the earth protecting mankind from evil. But darkness stalks them, and battles they fight bring them ever-closer to eternal damnation. One promise remains to give them salvation – the return of the seraphs.

Embittered by his purpose, Merrick du Loire must honor an ancient pact and bring peace to his cousin’s soul. When he stumbles upon history professor Anne MacPherson, he discovers she possesses a sacred artifact that marks her as a seraph. Duty demands he set aside his personal quest and locate the knight she’s fated to heal. As he struggles with conflicting oaths, Anne arouses buried hope and sparks forbidden desire that challenges everything he’s sworn to uphold.

Anne has six weeks to complete her thesis on the Knights Templar. When Merrick takes her to the Templar stronghold, he presents her with all she needs—and awakens a soul-deep ache, he alone can soothe. Yet loving Merrick comes with a price. If she admits she’s destined for him, her gift of foresight predicts his death.

On taking risks…

Authors talk about taking risks. For many of us, that’s a really daunting thought. Do we dare deviate from tradition or accepted practices and hope both the editor and the reading public will enjoy it? I was just talking with a friend of mine the other day about this, and how it seems risks will either reward wonderfully or bite you in the rear.

[floatquote]What if a demon possessed the means to overthrow God Himself?[/floatquote]Nevertheless, I chose to take the path of risk with Immortal Hope, and it began with the series question – what if a demon possessed the means to overthrow God Himself. We read countless stories where there’s a chance of taking over mankind, that’s the traditional, the safe path. Not that stories involving the theme are any less or better, just that it’s not as risky. And this particular risk could have backfired in incredible ways. Luckily, my editor found it as compelling as I did 

The next big risk I took with Immortal Hope, was that I wanted to craft something epic. I come from a heavy background of fantasy, and epic plotlines with a true hero journey are almost second-nature to me. I actually have a more difficult time writing a book that doesn’t have a sweeping, scooping subplot. And that preference has made it difficult here and there.

[floatquote]I wanted to craft something epic.[/floatquote]But I was pretty adamant that Immortal Hope was going to be a series, and it was going to be a true series with an epic plot, demanding several key players, and the subplot wouldn’t be resolved, or altered, per book. The risk in this is blending that ideal with romance. Romance is predisposed to have a happily ever after and most story-questions answered.

To achieve this I had to actually draw out the subplot further and put more emphasis, per book, on the romantic involvement between hero and heroine. There’s just too much planned to lay it out and tell the story any other way. If I tried, we’d have an 800 page novel – and we know all of about five people would read that monstrosity.

The last significant risk I took was changing up the experience with introducing my knights, and having my knights be so drastically different from both setting and the heroine(s). It could be extremely jarring for a reader to be toodling along, and then suddenly encounter a passage that reads like a historical. In fact, I was so nervous about this, that when I entered Immortal Hope in a contest, I squealed when one judge hit Merrick’s first passage and gushed about how she loved the knight’s tone. I’m not much on squealing, in general, but it popped out without my consent.

In the end, to make it less jarring, I chose a few key words that would make the knights stand out as old-fashioned, but blended as much as possible to make the read smooth.

[floatquote]IMMORTAL HOPE is a different experience, and there’s so many layers to it.[/floatquote]When it was all said and done, and I received the phone call that we had an offer, I felt, for the first time really, that the risk-taking had been worth it. IMMORTAL HOPE is a different experience, and there’s so many layers to it. I sincerely hope you enjoy the experience as much as I did crafting it.

With that said, let’s take a little look at an encounter with Merrick that illustrates the knights’ historical roots.


Excerpt from Immortal Hope

“Dine,” Merrick insisted as he jabbed at her bowl with his spoon, the gesture jerking her out of her thoughts.

Anne stared down at the greasiest bowl of . . . glop she’d ever seen. Merrick said it was stew. But her eyes—and her stomach—refused to consider this mushy concoction as anything but garbage. “Oh. Hell. No.”

She pushed the bowl away and fought back the urge to whimper. She was so hungry her stomach was in knots. But even starving people had their standards, and that bowl of crap defied the minimal ones she possessed.

Spoon poised near his mouth, Merrick lifted one reproachful eyebrow. The men on each side of him—men Merrick hadn’t wasted time in discovering they weren’t meant for her—stared at her as if she’d just committed blasphemy. A blush crept up her cheeks, and she offered Merrick a weak, apologetic smile.

“ ’Tis food, Anne.”

“No it’s not.” No wonder everyone around here had massive chips on their shoulders. How long had it been since they’d had a decent meal? “Is there maybe some salad somewhere?”

Merrick’s other brow shot up. “Salad?”

His companions continued to stare. Behind Merrick, a stranger with long ash-blond hair turned to looked over his shoulder. His gaze narrowed. Cold blue eyes flashed. Dangerous energy assaulted her.

Anne swallowed down unexplainable foreboding and met Merrick’s soothing onyx stare. The uneasy tension in her belly dissolved. “Yeah, you know— lettuce, celery, carrots, croutons?”

A chuckle shook his shoulders, but he refrained from smiling. “A man does not eat leaves.”

Just like they didn’t believe in radios. Somehow that didn’t surprise her. She dropped her spoon to the table, folded her arms over the scarred surface, and gave each gawking face a sugary-sweet smile. The two men hastily turned their attention to their meal. Behind Merrick, the nosy stranger abruptly turned back to his meal. Anne gestured at her bowl. “If I’m going to eat greasy crap, I think I’ll take McDonald’s. Or maybe Pizza Bob’s. He delivers, you know.”

Merrick indicated her food with his spoon. “What did you tell me earlier? Ah, aye, get used to it.”

TWITTER: @ClaireAshgrove

Comment for a chance to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card…

Claire will be giving away a $25 Amazon.com gift certificate to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour, and a second $25.00 Amazon.com gift certificate to a second randomly drawn commenter at the end of the tour. Be sure to follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning! Click the Blog Tour badge for a complete list of blog stops.

Winners will be announced on Claire’s blog, so please leave a way for her to contact you if you win!


Sue "DaVinciKittie" Brown-Moore is a veteran romance blogger and reviewer and the primary voice for GraveTells.com. Sue and GraveTells have won several blogging awards, and GraveTells recently celebrated its five-year anniversary! Sue is also a freelance Developmental Editor passionate about helping authors bring out the best in their stories. She loves reading romance, fantasy, and sci-fi and edits any genre she reads for pleasure. You can follow Sue's editing blog, with tips and tricks for authors, at DaVinciKittie.com.