As you may know, I’m not a huge reader of romance, however, Claire Ashgrove’s Immortal’s series drew me in and kept me riveted (my review of Immortal Hope), and I’m always thrilled to host Claire and spread the word about her books! Her newest book in the series, Immortal Surrender, is out now, and Claire was kind enough to write about her worldbuilding for us, and there’s an excerpt too, so please welcome her to the blog!
Also, Tor has offered 3 copies of Immortal Surrender for giveaway, so check out the details at the bottom of the post!
One of my favorite aspects of writing is world building. Frankly, it’s a passion of mine, and I’m all about hearing author share theirs as well. A world that is built well, is an art form, and one I strive to meet every time I put word on paper. This may come from my background, which is in Fantasy, and frankly where I see the strongest worlds coming to life. Primarily because the genre has more freedom and allowance within it, than others. (IE Readers don’t necessarily balk at 500 page books in Fantasy, where they would in Romance).
My favorite part of the Templar world building is blending the past with the present. The Templar world is so vastly different from ours. They are cloistered, pretty much. And they are rooted in a time that many of us can’t comprehend. Yes, they’ve experienced the passing of 8-9 centuries (depending on the knight), but they haven’t been part of that, unless they absolutely have to.
Their weaponry, their lifestyle, their purpose and their very values are archaic compared to our lifestyles. They are simple – communal property, no financial dependency, eat what sustains, fight, sleep and die. And that also carries a ‘hardness’ that defies our rather comfortable lifestyles.
Just as a quick example, let’s look at how they fight. They were founded when the only successful means of fighting anything was a sword, in hand-to-hand combat, with minimal protective armor. Early, early 1100s… when gunpowder didn’t become prominent in England, until 250 years later. The first mass-produced gun didn’t happen until 1835. Naturally, the archangels created a means of overcoming evil with what the men could use at the time. And if evil was susceptible to the blade, evil would have to become susceptible to bullets in order for the knights to “come around” to modern warfare.
If what they kill doesn’t respond to modern technology, they have no need to alter their battle tactics. Add in the fact that we’re talking 600-700 years of expertise with the sword, the gun is going to be awkward when it comes around. Why fix what ain’t broke?
So blending this in, maintaining the old world form, style, and beliefs on top of the modern existence, has been a wonderfully fun endeavor! It’s allowed me to incorporate history, historical fact, and play with possibilities that defied the historical times. For a writer, it doesn’t get better than that!
Specific questions on my world building? Ask away! I’d love to answer!
IMMORTAL SURRENDER EXCERPT
In the blink of an eye, his serene expression morphed into a dark scowl. “You do not believe me.”
“No,” she answered on a chortle. “Did you really expect me to? I’m sure someone else would—you’ve put so much feeling into the tale. But I’m a scientist. I don’t even believe in God.” To soften his disappointment, she reached between them and patted his hand. “You did good though. Better than some of the things Gabriel has told me.”
He abruptly pulled his hand away. “Everything Gabriel has ever told you is true, damsel. He is an archangel. Whilst he may behave most strange, he is God’s messenger and cannot lie.”
Gabriel an archangel. Oh man, the two of them were in this together. When she saw him next, she’d buy him a drink for this. She grinned at Farran and shook her head. “You two are something else. I swear, I should have known. He tries to do this to me all the time.”
“Woman,” Farran barked. “’Tis no jest! You are branded as mine.” He grabbed the hem of his shirt and yanked it over his head. “Look for yourself.”
Noelle gaped at the vision that sat before her. Smooth bronzed muscle lacked any trace of hair and bulged even as he sat still. The chest she remembered so vividly was nothing less than a wall of corrugated stone. Thick forearms led to even thicker biceps, arms so strong she felt three times smaller than normal. He could crush a man—or so her imagination said.
Her appreciative stare dropped to his belly and stopped on her gasp. Scored into his taut abdomen, a white scar ran from his ribs down beneath the waistband of his jeans. A good three inches wide, and easily three times as long, the scarred flesh assumed the distinct shape of a ring-hilted dagger. Someone had heated metal and pressed it to his skin.
“My word,” she whispered.
Drawn to the horror of the mark, she leaned in and traced a fingertip down the length of the hilt. The pain he must have felt—her heart twisted hard. “What happened to you?” She glanced up at his face.
Eyes closed, he sat utterly still. “’Twas meant to gain my confession.”
Noelle winced. Looking back at the ugly scar she couldn’t take her hand off of, her chest tightened. What sort of person could do that to a man? His stomach bunched beneath her fingertips, mystifying her even more. As deep as the wound had been, he was lucky he could feel anything at all. Whoever had done this was sick. Sick, sick. “Were you in the war?” she asked quietly.
About Immortal Surrender:
Farran de Clare, loyal member of the cursed Knights Templar, wants nothing to do with predestined mates. Even the Almighty won’t turn him into a fool again—he’d rather sacrifice his soul. Yet in the scientist Noelle Keane, a devout atheist, Farran meets the seraph designed for him.
Ordered by the archangel Gabriel to protect Noelle, the possessor of a sacred relic that could give Azazel incredible power, Farran swears to do his duty—but in name only. Fighting an attraction that grows with each day, he’s determined that he’ll never pledge himself to her.
As they war over her future, their mutual passion ignites a conflict far more damning. But before Noelle will agree to eternity with him, she demands the ultimate sacrifice – his heart.
“This series (The Curse of the Templars) is explosive, sexy, riveting, and Claire Ashgrove is a master of her craft.” ~ NYTimes Bestselling Author, Maggie Shayne
About the author (via her website):
Claire Ashgrove has been writing since her early teens and maintained the hobby for twenty years before deciding to leap into the professional world. Her first contemporary novel, Seduction’s Stakes, sold to The Wild Rose Press in 2008, where she continues to write steamy, sexy stories for the Champagne and Black Rose lines. Adding to these critically acclaimed romances, Claire’s paranormal romance series, The Curse of the Templars will debut with Tor in January 2012. For those who prefer the more erotic side of romance, she also writes for Berkley Heat as the National Bestselling Author Tori St. Claire.
She is an active member of Romance Writers of America, and her local RWA chapters, Heartland Romance Authors, Midwest Romance Writers, North Texas Romance Writers of America, and Celtic Hearts Romance Writers.
Claire lives in Missouri with her two toddler sons, and too-many horses, cats, and dogs. In her “free” time, she enjoys cooking, winning at Rummy, studying Ancient Civilizations, and spending quiet moments with her family, including the critters. She credits her success to her family’s constant support and endless patience.
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