Let's welcome author Claire Gem to the blog today! Thanks so much for allowing us to interview you, and readers, you definitely need to check these books out they all look like great reads!
HFP: What inspires you to write?
CG:Several things, really, depending on where I am in the writing process. If I’m in the middle of a project, reading another book in the same sub-genre as what I’m writing—by an author I admire and enjoy—can be very motivating. I’m particularly inspired by audiobooks. I listen on my commute, and some days I can’t wait to get home to get back to my keyboard.
Other times, a place, or an event, that moves me emotionally will inspire a brand new story idea. I was visiting Binghamton, N.Y. not long ago and visited the Phelps Mansion. The intriguing story about the house, and the curious and tragic events of the family’s lives, got my creative juices flowing. I wouldn’t discount the possibility that Binghamton, N.Y. could be the setting for my next paranormal/ghost romance.
HFP: What is your favorite sub-genre within romance to write?
CG: I write in several: contemporary, paranormal/romantic suspense, and women’s fiction. I can’t really tell you which one is my favorite, as I love them all. The best part is having a variety—I don’t think I’ll ever tire of any particular sub-genre.
HFP: Okay, I have to ask, do you still have the Camaro that your now husband fixed?
CG: Unfortunately, I do not. It’s been over thirty-eight years since he fixed up that car and got me as a tip! And boy, if we did still own it, in the condition it was in, it might be worth a fortune. But after we got married, and then my daughter arrived a year later, life got expensive. We sold the car to help with the down-payment on our first house together.
HFP: Since you were once a bridal dress designer, I'm curious did you ever meet any bridezillas? Inquiring minds want to know! LOL
CG: No bridezillas—but plenty of MOM-zillas! LOL The brides were so starry-eyed, basking in the attention of their own, personal “designer,” they were usually no problem. Plus, it was my job to make sure they got exactly what they wanted, so they had no reason to complain. The problem was, what the bride wanted, and what their mothers wanted FOR their daughters, were sometimes at complete odds. It was never about the cost, but about the style. Many moms had a specific idea in mind for how they wanted their daughters to look on “the day,” which seldom coincided with what the brides wanted. Yet in most cases, Mom was the one toting the checkbook. Put me in a tough spot. No, I have to say, it wasn’t bridezillas that chased me out of designing—it was Momzillas!
HFP: What is your favorite part of being an author?
CG: I’m a control freak, in many aspects of my life. So my favorite part about being an author is that I can control each and every aspect of what happens in my stories. I can create heroes I swoon over, heroines I admire. I can ensure there will always be a happy ending.
I also love, love, love promoting the books. Since Hearts Unloched came out in April of this year, I think I’ve been at some sort of book event almost every weekend—a signing, a panel for a writing group, a talk at the local library. I even did a signing on a Dinner Cruise ship floating on Lake George this month!
HFP: Who are your favorite authors and why are they are your favorites?
GC: I love Nora Roberts for her versatility—she writes in so many sub-genres I lose track! I’m also a big fan of Susan Elizabeth Phillips for her quirky yet incredibly sexy beta heroes, Kristan Higgins for her humor, and Simone St. James for scaring the bejesus out of me! I have a new favorite I recently discovered—Rosalind James. She knows how to establish a believable friendship between her hero and heroine that slowly builds to more. She’s also a master of dialogue.
HFP: What is your favorite fictional universe and why is it your favorite?
CG: Well, the problem is, it’s not really fictional. After reading Nora Roberts’ Boonesboro Trilogy, I am in love with that town in Maryland—and I’ve never even been there! Those three stories made me feel as though I’ve not only visited, but didn’t want to leave. I hope to schedule a trip to Roberts’ Boonesboro Inn sometime in the near future.
HFP: Out of all the cities you've lived in which do you enjoy the most and why?
CG: We lived just north of Ft. Worth, Texas for two years in a town called Denton, and I loved it. My husband and I are both horse-crazy (we raised and showed horses most of our lives) so Texas is definitely the place to be for horse events. Never seen a more beautiful sunset in my life. And you’ve never had a steak dinner until you’ve eaten one in a Texas steakhouse—in Texas. It was the people, too. They were so welcoming, so down-to-earth—I do miss living there.
HFP: Who is your favorite character that you've written and why that particular person?
CG: I’d have to say my hero from Hearts Unloched, Marco Lareci would be my favorite. Marco was born in Brooklyn, like me. His heritage is Italian, like mine. So I can relate to his way of thinking, and his high-strung yet compassionate nature. And he’s a gentleman: when he swears, it’s only in Italian. I actually had to sit down with an Italian-speaking colleague to learn how to curse in Italian! I had a lot of fun creating Marco. So far, he is my favorite.
HFP: Here's a fun question. LOL If you had a choice between chocolate and coffee which would you pick and why?
CG: Coffee. I drink it black, and that means it’s guilt-free—no calories! Even if I cheat and get chocolate-flavored beans 🙂
About the Author:
Claire is a multi-published, award winning author of emotional romance—contemporary, paranormal, romantic suspense, and women’s fiction. Her heroes are hot, her heroines strong and brave: a combination lighting the spark to fan the flames of your most intense romantic fantasies. Claire's characters are human—they make mistakes, get clumsy sometimes, and they're not too proud to laugh at themselves and each other.
Her paranormal/romantic suspense, Hearts Unloched, won the 2016 New York Book Festival. Her latest release, The Phoenix Syndrome, won the women’s fiction division in FCRWA’s TheBeacon Contest.
A New York native, Claire has lived in five of the United States and held a variety of jobs, from waitress to bridal designer to research technician. She and her happily-ever-after hero, her husband of 38 years, now live in central Massachusetts.
Visit Claire on the web: