Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Immortal Hope blog tour: Author interview, excerpt and giveaway

One of the best books I read over the festive period was Immortal Hope by Claire Ashgrove, if like me you love a bit of a story with your steamy hot romances then Immortal Hope is the very book for you. Check out my review which was posted yesterday.

Author Claire Ashgrove kindly agreed to give a little bit of insight into the world building behind Immortal Hope:

There are three four layers in IMMORTAL HOPE that each took some strategic planning to figure out how they would blend together appropriately.

  1. The immortal Templar Knight – where men are firmly rooted in the 12th Century
  2. The archangels – elements of Christianity
  3. Metaphysical gifts – the seraphs powers
  4. Modern Life – the background of the seraphs and the world the Templars must interact in.
I’ll be honest, it would have been much easier to cut out one or two.  For instance, my seraphs didn’t have to be gifted.  And my knights could have come into Immortality for reasons that were completely unrelated to Christianity.

But really – can you have a Templar Knight without the basis for the Order’s founding?  And surely, the seraphs wouldn’t serve a purpose if they weren’t something special, otherwise they could be just any random woman a Templar passes on the street.  Why would they descend from the Nephilim if they didn’t have some sort of gift?

That actually became the starting place for blending the concepts together.  Templar Knights were Knights who served early Christian ideals.  Which made it a necessary component to make their immortality related to this.

I chose to play upon the question no one can answer – “What happened to the Knights Templar”, and one fact in particular that stood out to me.  When King Phillip eradicated the Order, and locked up key figureheads, an entire fleet of Templar ships vanished from port. 

Now, because every good hero needs a bit of angst, I couldn’t give them immortality because they’d done such a good job at their duties.  So we needed a reason immortality would be a bad thing.  Which led me back to the accepted belief the Templar found something beneath the Temple Mount… and well, it didn’t just tick off King Phillip.  They were cursed for digging there.

So the archangels had to come into play, as the archangels are typically understood as the angels who interact with man most commonly.  They have the power to curse.  But as the initial concept went further, I realized I needed to limit them somehow as well.  Otherwise, if they were completely all powerful, there’s no need for immortal Templar Knights.  Enter the specific assignment of duty that the archangels I chose possess.  They are not allowed to act outside of their little “box”, and each is skilled in something entirely different.

I knew from the get go that I wanted the women to be contemporary women.  Otherwise, the series would have turned out to be a historical series.  This gave me a set of challenges to work with.  Modern women don’t fall into the role of a 12th century woman.  We're more "do it yourselves" kinda gals. And that whole "here's your place"- not so much. There's nothing more certain to set a 12th century knight on edge than a woman who speaks her mind and refuses to fall into line because of her gender. Like Anne, who has a very distinct reaction to Merrick's initial order, "Take off your clothes." And while 900 years ago he might have gotten away with removing them for her, he knows times have changed, and he can't just strip her bare without permission.

Given the knights various backgrounds and personalities, this made internal conflict, and romantic conflict very easy to develop.  Also given that modern women (and men) aren’t as prone to accepting ‘fate’ or ‘higher powers’ controlling their lives, that presented a grounding point for external conflict as well.  They aren’t going to hear their role and necessarily accept it without hesitation.

The setting was frankly the most enjoyable.  Because my Templar knights are rooted in the 12th century, their ideals, beliefs, and goals are already ingrained by the time we reach 2012.  The world around them is going to make them uncomfortable to some degree.  Sure, they have made concessions when they have to – such as driving vehicles and using cell phones.  But going to the movies, trendy clothes, fancy meals and guns aren’t things they embrace.  I get several good laughs in when I have to force my knights into contemporary society.

As I said, it would have been easier to pick one or two layers to merge.  But in the end, blending so many proved immensely enjoyable, despite the challenges. 

And to illustrate that, here’s one of my favorite scenes from IMMORTAL HOPE:

He took a deep fortifying breath at Anne’s door. A small portion of his soul demanded he let himself inside and take the liberties he would have enjoyed had she wandered into his life nine hundred years ago. Whilst he shared the residence with many others, the simple fact remained, she resided in his house. Once he had dreamed of such a circumstance. Now the fantasy only created a bitter taste in his mouth. Resigning himself to reality, he knocked twice upon her door.

She answered as he lifted his hand for the third, concurrent rap. Briefly, she stared, bewildered. Then, her gaze fell to his armload of supplies, and her porcelain features lit with such delight a fist clamped around Merrick’s heart.

"My things,” she murmured as he moved past her. “Oh, Merrick, you brought my radio.”

The whimsical quality of her voice, the gratitude that turned her words into music, swelled his chest. Damnation. She had turned him as soft as butter. This trial of loyalty would surely be the death of him.

He set the bags down, unwilling to look at her for fear she would see how deeply she affected him. “I brought what I thought you might desire. Should you find something missing, we shall discuss it in the morn.”

Oh. You’re leaving again?”

His back to her, he closed his eyes. The touch of disappointment that fringed her question disturbed the accursed hollowness in his gut. “Aye.”

Before he could fully shrug off the thick straps digging into his shoulder, her hand settled against the small of his back. “I’d hoped you might stay with me for a while,” she murmured.

Her fingertips slid up his back, warming his skin. As he righted himself, she ducked under his elbow and looped her arms around his neck. Stepping in close, Anne pressed her body to his.

Everything inside Merrick coiled tight. Her warmth, the feel of her breath upon his neck, the perfume in her hair, she overwhelmed him in a heartbeat. He battled with the urge to slide his arms around her waist and draw her even closer. The longing to capture her mouth and drink from her honeyed lips assailed his senses with the force of a battering ram. Like a strangled man desperate for one gulp of fresh air, he disentangled himself from her embrace and took a step away.

He knew only one way to combat the fierce desire she awakened. “I must fight tonight.”

So, for fun – what would you do if you were born and raised in a different era, and one day woke up in ours?  I’m very curious how you’d answer.  While I love the world I live in, I have to say I think I’d be looking for the quickest ticket back home.


Claire will be giving away a $25 Amazon.com gift certificate to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour, and a second $25.00 Amazon.com gift certificate to a second randomly drawn commenter at the end of the tour.  Be sure to follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning! Click here for a complete list of blog stops.


  1. Hmmm, if I were born in a different era? I'm not sure if I would even understand with significance half of what I would see- people talking to little black or silver boxes against their ears, lighting with no visible flame, horseless carriages, indecent clothing, odd speech, cold storage that did not require ice- I would probably shrug over some of it, but panic and think Magic and Witchcraft over others. After a little understanding of what I was seeing, I would probably want to go home.

    The explanation on the four layers of world building was interesting and I enjoyed the excerpt.

    Thank you for the giveaway opportunity.


  2. I'm sure to be dropped into a foreign era, either one from the past or the future, would be very disorientating. I have no desire to time travel in any way. Familiar surroundings and culture are too comfortable.
    mcv111 at hotmail(dot)com

  3. Wow! Amazing!

    catchingashootingstar at hotmail dot ca

  4. I would find my "new time" to be quite strange and scary. If I had been raised in an era where women had no opinion, no rights, basically seen but not heard and then, BAM! I'm in the 21st century.

    I'm a wimp, I would find a corner and cry....

    Tracey D
    booklover0226 at gmail dot com

  5. What would I do if I was born in a past and then transported to today, I would think that I would be overwhelmed. With all the technology and the hustle of today, I would just be trying to find a way back to my own time. I don't think I would do good going the other way either though.
    manning_j2004 at yahoo dot com

  6. Thanks for the info on your blog. Good luck with your latest book. Have a great year and enjoy writing as much as we enjoy reading.

  7. WELL...I liked the movie Kate & Leopold. Hugh Jackman's Leopold is transported from the past into our time and he really does make the most of it. I like to think I'm an observer and a questioner and someone who kind of blends in--skills that would help me if I woke up in a different time.

  8. Hmmm, If I was born in another era and transported to this current time?

    I'd probably be a little afraid and very overwhelmed at first, maybe if I found someone friendly who was willing to believe my time travel situation then I wouldn't mind being in this time after a few months.

    My first thought though as soon as I arrived would probably be finding a way home.


  9. I think I would panic. Trying to figure out all the metal moving objects. I think it would be terrifying.

    beckerjo at verizon dot net

  10. Yes, I'm with all of you -- all this technology is SCARY! I would absolutely be on near-panic and doing all I could to get back home.

    Thanks for stopping in today, all! See some new faces here -- welcome. I hope you'll join the tour!

  11. It would be very frightening to be out of your era,. I think especially jumping forward. We know much of the past, but those from the past, of course, know nothing of our world. I'd be looking for somewhere safe, like a church.


  12. I think it would be overwhelming and I would panic. I mean ,I wouldn't understand all of this new technology, the clothing, language. I would try to find my way back to where I came from. I have really enjoyed the blog hop. Thanks.



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