1. Do you write a single genre or do your fingers flow over the keys creating tales in many forms?
I currently have books published in contemporary and paranormal genres, but my latest release leans more towards women’s fiction. Although there is romance, the heroine’s journey is the focus.
Does your reading choices reflect your writing choices?
Definitely! I started writing contemporary romances w/ghosts because I love this genre, and ran out of books to read! I will also try to be reading or listening to (I love audiobooks) a book in the same genre as the one I’m currently working on. Keeps me in the right frame of mind.
Are there genres you wouldn’t attempt?
I don’t believe I will ever attempt YA or even New Adult, as I believe I’m too “mature” to be able to relate to the minds of the younger set of today (I got a late start in my writing career). Although I would love to write a historical (I’m a Middle Ages freak—they call us “Rennies” for Renaissance fanatics), I am too much of a stickler for factual accuracy. I think I would drive myself crazy trying to write a fictional novel by cramming it too full of ancillary historical facts.
2. Heroes, Heroines, Villains. Which are your favorite to write?
I love them all, but I have to be in the right mood to right a particular character. Many times I’ll sit down to write a scene in the heroine’s POV, but the words just won’t come. If I switch to the hero or villian’s POV, suddenly the muse pipes up and I’m on a roll again.
3. Heroes. How do you find them? Do pictures, real life or plain imagination create the man you want every reader to love? Do they come before the plot or after you have the idea for the story?
I think most of my heroes conform to the “ideal soulmate” in my mind, so they are all rough and tough on the outside, a little goofy and clumsy, but have super soft spots they’re always trying to hide or protect. As far as the visuals, I get a mental image of my heroes once they start speaking to me on the page. The challenge is then to go “shopping” for royalty-free images of that man to use in my book trailers, or on my Pinterest page. Funny, though—I’ll be flipping through the pages and my hero pops out at me when I find him. Boom! No question, from first sight.
4. Heroines. How do you find them? Do pictures, real life or imagination create the woman you want the reader to root for? Do they appear before the plot or after you have the idea for the story?
My heroines, again, conform to my “ideal modern woman,” i.e., smart, beautiful, independent, even a little cocky—but with that secret wish to find the other half of her soul. Heroines also start out as a vague image in my mind, which becomes sharper and clearer as they come to life on the page. Then I have to go for “the search” for their picture for my book trailers.
5. Villains or villainesses or an antagonist, since they don’t always have to be the bad guy or girl. They can be a person opposed to the hero’s or heroine’s obtaining their goal. How do you choose one? How do you make them human?
I use humor to make my antagonists human. By presenting them in this way, they not only seem more realistic to the reader, but they aren’t as unlikable. I show them in embarrassing situations or making clumsy errors, thwarting their own efforts to interfere with the protagonists. Although my antagonists oppose my hero and/or heroine’s goals, they are seldom really bad people. Just flawed, misguided humans.
6. What is your latest release? Who is the hero, heroine and or the villain?
My latest release is called The Phoenix Syndrome. My heroine is a research technician who, on her fortieth birthday, discovers her husband is leaving her. Then she gets bitten by a mouse in her lab, once that’s been treated with an experimental drug. She goes a little bonkers, taking off to chase after an old dream of a career in music, as well as her latest crush, the hero: the drummer of a heavy metal band. There really is no human antagonist, but a very frightening opponent to the heroine obtaining her new goals—she discovers the drug the lab mice were being treated with have rendered them deaf. What worse fate for a woman with a goal of a new career in music?
7. What are you working on now?
I am finishing up another ghostly romance called Spirits of the Heart. A mental health counselor and a security guard are thrown together in a search to reunite a little girl and her father, two spirits trapped within the walls of an abandoned mental asylum.
8. How can people find you?
You can find me at www.clairegem.com and at www.emotionalcontemporaryromance.com. I’m on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and YouTube as well.