She held no faith in magic. Now, fate is calling her…
Halle Rhoads has a terrifying gift--she can kill with the fury of the storm.
She should have known that kind of power wouldn't go unnoticed. Thrust into a world full of dark magic with a handsome stranger who claims he can teach her, she struggles to master her abilities and stumbles onto a dangerous truth. She's a windwalker, the chosen vessel of the ancient dragons who once ruled the world. Many will stop at nothing to possess the power in her blood, should they discover her secret. With necromancers hunting her and Halle's closest allies guarding secrets, mastering her magic becomes a matter of necessity.
But accepting her destiny is altogether different. For doing so means she must sacrifice everything.
To See A Review, Character Interview & Giveaway go HERE
“Halle.” Kale sighed. “We can’t have this conversation here. There’s too many ears around. Come with me, and I’ll explain in private.”
It was all I could do to not burst out with a derisive laugh. Seven years of living on the streets taught a girl that private encounters with would-be kindly strangers usually left girls dead. “Do you think I’m stupid? I’m not going anywhere with you.”
“I’m afraid you don’t have much choice.” He rose to his feet, his voice strangely low and hushed.
Instinct warned me to step back as he approached. My heart kicked several beats, and I reached for the knife I usually kept in my back pocket. My fingers fumbled with the button that held the pocket closed. Before I could work it free, Kale had invaded my personal space. One large hand reached for me.
I whirled to run.
He caught me by the wrist. I skidded to a stop after less than a foot. Panic infused me, and I jerked on my arm. I couldn’t overpower this guy, not like the skinny, crack-addicted street thugs who gave me trouble now and then. Everything clicked into place in one, heart-stopping burst of reality. He had been chasing me. Now he had me. And I couldn’t get away.
I was not going to die out here in the woods, damn it!
With all my strength, I kicked my leg back, hoping to connect with some vital part of his body and he’d drop to the ground. Instead, my heel jammed into his calf, but he’d moved so close I couldn’t have possibly done him significant damage. He didn’t even let out a grunt.
Instead, he moved into me, wound both arms around my torso, and trapped my back against his chest. “Halle, be still,” he whispered, “Look.” Releasing one arm, he pointed at the hilltop in front of us.
I lifted my gaze and met the unblinking stare of two, glowing red eyes. I had to be imagining things. Or the absence of light was playing tricks on my eyes. I blinked, shook my head, and looked again.
Now, two sets stared down at us.
Kale’s hand fisted around mine. His hushed voice filled my ears. “Run!”
I stumbled as he jerked me sideways. But two steps later, I matched his ground-covering stride, my long legs an easy pairing with his. Sapling branches snapped against my shoulders,
whipped alongside my cheek. I didn’t feel them.
For the first time in my life, I was afraid.
Author BioBuilding on a background of fantasy game design, a fascination with history, and a lifetime love of books, award-winning author Claire Ashgrove brings to life action-filled, passionate journeys of the heart. Her paranormal series, The Curse of the Templars, marries the history of the Knights Templar with the chilling aspirations of the most unholy--a must-read for speculative fiction fans. She also writes as the National Bestselling Author Tori St. Claire and historical romance author Sophia Garrett.
In her non-writing time, she’s runs Finish The Story, a full-scale editing house co-founded with Bryan Thomas Schmidt. She lives in Missouri and enjoys cooking, studying ancient civilizations, and spending downtime with her two sons and too-many horses, cats, and dogs.
Keep in Touch via:
Claire Ashgrove Website
Tori St. Claire Website
Sophia Garrett Website
Untamed Spirit Blog
InterviewI got to interview the amazing and talented Claire Ashgrove author of Before the Storm! a wonderful tale of adventure, love, and extraordinary magic!
Halle has had a troubled life, always on the run, always looking over her shoulder and always on her guard ever since the night she killed her father when she unleashed a storm the likes no one has seen before or since. Now with the help of Kale and a group of magic welding gaudiness Halle will finally learn to control what is inside of her and hopefully get her sister back from the clutches of her evil Uncle.
Claire Ashgrove is a wonderful author who keeps you on the edge of your seat with her thrilling adventure and keeps you drooling with her endless romance and intriguing magical battles. believe me this is a book you don't want to miss out on!
Q: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and what made you delve into the world of fiction?
I’m Claire, and I’ve been writing since I was a little girl. As a young teenager, I read everything I could get my hands on, but my favorites ran neck-and-neck: fantasy and romance. I wrote for hobby, fanfiction on movies, revolving stories with my friends, and really anything that came to mind. Eventually, in my junior year of high school, I wrote something with more substance and completed my first historical romance.
I can’t say that there was any one thing that made me delve in—other than I read voraciously and at a very early age. So fiction was part of my life, if you will. It was really a natural extension to start writing. I’ve never looked back, and I love what I’m doing now.
Q: Can you please tell us a little about your book BEFORE THE STORM and what inspired you write it?
Before the Storm is about a woman whose always known she has a magical connection with storms but has never been able to control the power at will. She runs into a man who claims he can teach her how to master her ability, and driven by the deep desire to do so, she agrees to let him try for a short while. In the course of her lessons, she discovers she is destined for a greater fate, one that puts her life in jeopardy. What results is a quest not only for her magical abilities, but for herself as well, and it involves learning who to trust…or if there’s anyone she really can.
What inspired me initially came from a song I heard that gave me a snapshot picture, which I expanded on. That song ended up as barely related to the story, and the initial mental image became a lot more than what I’d originally expected. I found myself pulled back to my fantasy roots, drawing on traditional elements and archetypes. The world expanded significantly, the threat deepened. I can only attribute that to inspiration from my love for all things fantasy. And dragons. I finally found a way to weave in dragons, dammit! YAY!!
Q: Can you tell us about your writing process? Which comes first? The character's story or the idea for the novel?
I’m about fifty-fifty on that question. For instance, the contemporary I’m working on – the basic plot / idea came first and I’ve had to spend some time fleshing out characters that fit the plot appropriately. In Before the Storm (and others) the characters hit and I had to flesh out what sort of story was going to fit Halle, the heroine. From that point, usually I do a lot of plotting before the first word hits the page. But in this case, I pantsed every bit of it.
Laugh. Which was a bit of an adventure, to say the least!
Q: If you could do one thing over again in regards to writing, what would it be?
Hm. My mother encouraged me to seek publication about ten years before I actually did. I didn’t follow through; I had other priorities then. In hindsight, I think I would go back and try much earlier. No particular reason why, other than I’d be that much farther down my present path. But that’s about the only thing I can think of that I’d do differently. I’m pretty well satisfied with how everything has turned out!
Q: I loved so many parts of this story! Which part was your favourite to write?
Hm. I have two favorite scenes. The first being when Halle stumbles into the ability to become invisible and Kale’s reaction to the trick. The expression I envisioned on her face always makes me smile, and when I consider his verbal response, I still giggle. My other favorite scene is her first real battle. I had a lot of fun digging and coordinating the magical abilities, as well as the final culmination of that event. She comes into herself a little more in this scene, and it’s a strong period of growth for her, both physically and emotionally.
Q: If you could choose to live the life of one of the characters from your story who would it be?
Surana, a woman who has a minor role in this story. We see her fighting with knives. We know she has some secret. And she’s had her hands all over one heck of a hot man! I like her boldness, and the bit of mystery that surrounds her.
And really, I have a lot more reasons to make this decision, but that’d be sharing trade secrets. You know how the saying goes: “I could tell you but then…” J
Q: Do you have any strange writing habits (like standing on your head or writing in the shower)?
Laugh. No, I’m pretty boring when it comes to my writing space and habits. I do like it mostly quiet though, and I write better at night than I do in the daytime.
Q: What books/authors have influenced your life?
Steve Berry has really influenced much of my initial work; his twists and turns and the speculative fiction approach I really admire. There have been too many romance authors to name, and invariably I leave someone out, so I won’t call out specific names. In fantasy, R.A. Salvatore, of course Tolkien, Mercedes Lackey, Patricia Briggs, and Terry Brooks were huge early influences as well as Christopher Paolini. And more recently, Pat Rothfuss.
On a classical level, the specific books that have influenced me are: Les Miserables, The Grapes of Wrath, and The Sound and the Fury, along with For Whom the Bell Tolls are some of the books that have left the strongest impression. Faulkner is my hero. Someday, when I can compose a chapter that contains only five words, and have it mean something, I will have achieved my own goal in writing! J
Q: What is next for you? Do you have any scheduled upcoming releases or works in progress?
Next for me – that’s always a loaded question since I have three active pen names. LOL. We’ll start with “Claire”: I’ll be doing the next book in my The Curse of the Templars paranormal romance series later this fall. Closer to Christmas, we’ll have the book that follows BEFORE THE STORM. Or so I hope.
As Tori St. Claire, I will have another Brazen release early fall, and am working on a third book that will release, I believe, early 2015. Can’t give too many details, but I’ll just mention “Big Brother’s Little Sister” and “Wounded Warrior”.
And as Sophia Garrett, I’m currently working on the next book in the Sharrington Chronicles – a series about blue-collar workers in the Romantic Era (Just after Regency and before Victorian). This one is about a former convict who’s trying to redeem his name. He falls for a new resident in Sharrington, a widow who has her own dark, and realistic, past that she’s running from.
Q: Thank you so much for the interview, Claire. Would you like to tell my readers where they can find you on the web and where everyone can buy your book?
Buy Links:Amazon US
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