Interview: Claire Ashgrove, author of the Curse of the Templars series

Claire Ashgrove is the author of the wonderful Curse of the Templars series and the third book, Immortal Trust, just came out! Claire was kind enough to answer a few questions about the book, and also share some exciting news!

Please welcome Claire to the blog!

claireashgroveClaire, the last time we chatted, Immortal Hope, the first novel in your Curse of the Templars series, had just been released. Now, the 3rd book, Immortal Trust is out (along with a novella, Immortal Protector)! Will you tell us a bit about it and Immortal Protector?
Sure! Thanks so much for having me back today and giving me the chance to share some Templar goodness!

Let me start a bit with Immortal Protector, which actually builds on the second book, Immortal Surrender. In Surrender’s prologue you meet the knight Iain, who’s seraph is actively killed in front of his eyes by Azazel. As you know, the seraphs are the knights’ only hope of saving them from turning into evil.

Immortal Protector steps aside from the main quest of the relics that can stop Azazel’s quest for ultimate power, and focuses on how Iain is coping with the knowledge he has no future except death. He’s very much disillusioned by his purpose and finds himself further torn when he aids Catherine, a young woman who provokes feeling that he hasn’t felt in centuries. To me, Immortal Protector is more of the story of those knights who aren’t the six destined to be paired with seraphs in the Templar Prophecy. It’s more… the “regular man’s” struggle. As his story unfolds and he begins to realize how far he’s willing to sacrifice for her, other questions about the Templar past and the Archangels’ purpose arise.

immortal trustImmortal Trust, however, returns to the quest to stop Azazel from reaching the highest throne. Lucan is charged with protecting Veronica’s Veil, which is about to be unearthed by a woman he already knows is his seraph, the archaeologist Chloe. Lucan struggles with suspicion as part of his curse, but problem is—so does Chloe, who’s been burned by a professional rival and former lover. She also is hunted by demons and has been most of her adult life. Lucan is forced to instill fragile trust, despite the inherent difficulty, to determine whether she’s working for the dark lord or whether she’s in true danger. Meanwhile, those closest to Chloe pose the greatest threat to her safety, Lucan’s salvation, and the Templar’s survival.

What do you enjoy most about writing this series?
Oh that’s so easy! By far the history that I get to incorporate with this. Each relic has demanded a certain amount of research, and then placing that relic somewhere where it’s history could really lend to where it is currently, plus building on the bits and pieces of different, intertwining legends about Christian relics and the Knights Templar. As well as the historical settings. In Trust, particularly, I got to “travel” to France and spend several days researching what I could find on the old Medieval castle in Ornes that Hitler toppled. I learned so much about not just what I was looking for but Hitler’s attack on France and World War II as well. It’s a complete adventure each time I create a new story.

immortalprotectorOut of the 4 books, do you have a favorite character, one that you enjoyed writing the most?
My absolute favorite knight’s story hasn’t been told yet. But my close second is Farran from Immortal Surrender. Farran’s past stuffed a fist in my gut, so to speak. And as that past has eaten away at him, as he’s tried to keep it locked away with little success, he became more and more ‘wounded’. Pulling that emotion out of him to keep him with Noelle was so rewarding for me when it all came together. And while Surrender closed on a happy note, there are things that happen to Farran in books yet to come, that are equally as powerful. I think of all the knights he’s the one who is impacted by everything going on around them the most (well, okay, maybe not Declan), and has the most legitimate personal growth throughout the series.

There’s also a young woman who shows up in Immortal Protector who grabbed me from the minute she … ah… experienced what she did at the end. She was supposed to be just a ‘prop’ type character. Now she’s got a whole story building in my head. And the European Templar Knight Gareth fascinates me as well, but that’s likely because part of his personality was inspired from my eldest child. Laugh!

Where do you see the series going from here (this is my sneaky way of attempting to get you to reveal teasers for the next book.)?
Hee-hee! I have been, and will remain, pretty close-mouthed about what’s happening next. But the prophecy is there in every book at the start, and Immortal Trust contains a very large hint as to what’s coming next. Obviously we have to finish out the prophecy. What happens in between, or even after, is still under lock and key.

Is there any other news of upcoming projects or events that you’d like to share with us (or anything at all!)?
Yes – always news on my end!! I believe you also know I write as Tori St. Claire, and while I can’t offer much detail (ink’s not dry yet), there are some very cool things coming from that direction this year: a totally new endeavor plus more Black Opal goodness. In fact, I can say the third Black Opal book is completed and in the editing process now.

I’m also hoping to branch off on a whole new path for me this year, with a historical romance that is very dear to my heart. My agent is still preparing the submission, so obviously I can’t talk about it in detail. But suffice it to say, this is my “dream project” and I will be sharing what I can on my Facebook page as news develops. I hope you’ll all share that journey with me and support it as you have the Templars.

Also, and this is the first I have mentioned it – so you’re the first to share the news! Last year I was inspired to write a Steampunk series. In considering all the options for this smaller, niche-type project, I am leaning more and more to branching into Indie publishing more heavily. I don’t know how my time will affect the launch of it, but I will be working on it under a new pen name, and I’m really excited to get that ball rolling. I’m hoping to make a big push in that direction as we get closer to fall. Of course, that depends entirely on contractual obligations and my existing projects.
Keep up with Claire: Website | Twitter

About Immortal Trust:
When archaeologist Chloe Broussard accepts the contract to lead a dig in Ornes, France, she has no idea she will uncover the Veil of Veronica. When she does, she discovers a danger far greater than the demonic presence stalking her at night. Azazel wants her, as well as the Veronica, and his chosen minion is her brother. Her hope lies with immortal Templar Knight Lucan. Her life depends on oaths she knows nothing about.

For countless centuries, Lucan of Seacourt has lived with the knowledge that his brother killed their family. Now, as Azazel’s darkness eats away at his soul, old betrayal stirs suspicion. He trusts no one. Not even the seraph who can heal his dying spirit.

With the fate of the Almighty hanging in the balance, Lucan must find faith in something more terrifying than the dark lord’s creations. He must learn to believe his heart.

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