Embittered by his purpose, Merrick du Loire must honor an ancient pact and bring peace to his cousin’s soul, releasing him from the clutches of their enemy. When he stumbles upon history professor Anne MacPherson, he discovers that she possesses a sacred artifact that marks her as a seraph. Duty demands he set aside his personal quest and locate the knight she’s fated to heal. As Merrick struggles with conflicting oaths, Anne arouses buried hope and sparks forbidden desire that challenges everything he’s sworn to uphold.
Anne has six weeks to complete her thesis on the Knights Templar. When Merrick takes her to the Templar stronghold, he presents her with all she needs—and awakens a soul-deep ache that he alone can soothe. Yet loving Merrick comes with a price. If she admits she is destined for him, her gift of foresight predicts his death.
My Review:Honestly, I wasn't so sure I was going to like Immortal Hope. After all, the subject of the Templar Knights is uncharted territory for me. I wasn't sure what to expect or if it would even hold my interest.
Maybe it was due to my doubts about this book. But the story was a bit slow to pull me in. But I am delighted to say that this impression did NOT last long! WOW!! This book is packed full of fast paced action, heartache, smoldering hot tension and a VERY lustful and passionate romance! I couldn't help but fall in love with Immortal Hope!
The Knights have been cursed with immortality. They have sworn an oath to protect humans from evil. They fight demons and with each battle, the evil taints their souls a bit more and eventually the darkness will take over and they will fight against their own brothers. Their only hope for redemption is for each Knight to find their one fated mate. A woman (seraph) who shares their own unique mark. Only their seraph will let the light back into their souls and chase away their darkness.
The characters were very well developed. Not only do you get a very vivid picture of who the main characters are, but you also get to know and love many of the secondary characters. I'm sure we will be able to indulge in more of their personal stories in future installments in this series. *Hint* ;)
Once that spark of interest ignited there was NO turning back! I am now HOOKED on this series and will be going into the next book with my eyes wide open!!
Please welcome to WVR today, Claire Ashgrove :)
Could you tell us a little about yourself?
Well, I’m a mother, an animal lover, and an author. That pretty much defines my three passions and devotions. I’m published in contemporary romance, and am here today for my paranormal romance – IMMORTAL HOPE. I also write erotic romantic suspense for Berkley as Tori St. Claire
What inspired you to write your first book?
I don’t really know, to be honest. The very first full book I wrote when I was seventeen. I was bored in English class and wrote most of a Regency during the week or so we watched Watership Down. My first published book, Seduction’s Stakes, was inspired by a horse I then-owned, and while he wasn’t the caliber of racehorse in the novel, the world he might have been a part of had his opportunities been different, really called to me. I think too that the world was still raving about Barbaro, and that inspired me a bit as well.
Which authors influenced you before you decided to become a writer?
Johanna Lindsey. She was the first and only romance author I read many years ago when I began writing romantic stories as a pre-teen. I’d have to say a love for novels like Little Women, Black Beauty, anything Faulkner, and whatever I could get my hands on at the library also played a part. I was a voracious reader. But as far as romance goes, Johanna Lindsey was the only romance author I read at the time.
What would you say is the most productive writing environment for you? Do you listen to music or need complete silence? Do you lock yourself in a cave, putting up "do not disturb" signs or can you work around everyday life?
Mostly, given I have small children, I have to work around everyday life. But I prefer to wait until everyone is asleep when I can and the house, including critters have all settled down for the night and it’s quiet, save for the sounds of snoring dogs, dogs licking the wood floor, dogs chasing the cats out of nowhere, and the cat growling over a recently-caught mouse, warding his other feline companions away.
What are some of your favorite books that have inspired you along the way?
Oh, man, I can *never* get the title right on this. Johanna Lindsey’s Reina and Ranulf medieval story. Also Karin Tabke, Shayla Black, Maya Banks, and Meridith Duran. Moreover, Steve Berry has really made a difference. I am a *nut* about speculative fiction. I’m also a fantasy addict. R.A. Salvatore, Mercedes Lackey, Christopher Paolini – my influences are really diverse.
What would you say is the toughest criticism you've received as an author?
There was one rejection that really got to me after an editor essentially frothed at the mouth over the pitch. She didn’t criticize the story. She criticized my voice, something which I have little control over. It took me months to get over that. In the end, I just had to accept that the story didn’t work for her, there wasn’t much I could do to change things, and I moved beyond it. With success – shortly thereafter I signed with my agent, and in a couple weeks sold IMMORTAL HOPE.
What sparked the idea for Immortal Hope?
I’m a historian, and the Knights Templar fascinate me on a historical level. Much of what motivates Anne are beliefs of mine to a degree. The Order was too powerful to be eradicated by one man, one man who had valid, but not terribly convincing documented motives. I’m not so much into the conspiracy theory that they’ve got treasure buried and are guarding the Holy Grail… but I am convinced that the Order fell because they threatened power, not just the King’s but the Church’s as well. Blending that with paranormal events and adding more mystique was just part of the fun of developing the plot.
In Twitter fashion, use 140 characters or less, sum up Immortal Hope for us.
Immortal Hope – a dark paranormal romance involving immortal Templar Knights, archangels, and an unholy presence with the power to overthrow the Almighty. (I stink at condensing!)
Could you tell us, what was your favorite scene to write in this novel and why?
I’d have to go with one of two – either the very first encounter with Anne and Merrick, or the very last intimate scene between them. I can’t elaborate on the last without spoiling the story. The first is just engaging and was *really* fun to write. “Tell me your name, demon. I wish to curse you as you die.”
While you were writing Immortal Hope, did you feel most connected with any certain character?
Strangely, Caradoc. Merrick and Anne were obviously yammering constantly in my head and I have a bond with them. But when Caradoc made his appearance in my outline, he compelled me. When he made his first appearance in the actual writing… yeah… he really speaks to me.
Was there anything you found particularly challenging about writing this book?
This book began as the first in a series. It wasn’t, as some of my other works, written to tell Merrickand Anne’s story, and then the series developed more or less around that. It started from day one as plotting each and every book. Layering all the elements in, structuring it more in an epic fashion than just a single stand alone, was challenging. I had to decide which elements to blend, which to save, which to elaborate on, and which I was keeping as surprises for the overall plot progression. All at the same time, everything had to be geared with the reader in mind AND most importantly, the romance reader.
What were your feelings when you first saw the cover of your finished book?
I liked it a lot. As I told my editor – I’d long ago become detached from visualizing the cover after one particular disappointment. So I didn’t really have any concept of what I wanted, except the two obvious ones – the Templar Cross and a sword. It was very pleasing, very exciting, and I really think the artist did a wonderful job!
I like to ask, just for fun: ;)
What was the last movie you went to see?
At the theatre -- Transformers III with my son. I just watched The Eagle on DVD – loved it!
What is the latest book you've read?
I just finished Karin Tabke’s Blood Law.
Milk chocolate or dark chocolate?
Dark. The only way I will eat milk chocolate is on a Snickers and a Kit-Kat, for the most part.
Alcoholic – really anything with Rum. Non-Alcoholic I’m pretty much always seen with coffee in-hand. Four sugars and three creams please ;)
If you could be any character from any of your books for a week, who would you chose to be and why?
Mm. Really I’d like to be Payton who hasn’t made it to her book yet. When she does, you’ll see why. But I don’t suppose that’s what you’re looking for. Hee! That said, gosh… I’ll have to go with Maddie from Seduction’s Stakes as she has, in her life, all of the elements that would keep me happy in the long run. A farm, a Golden Retriever, a horse, and one hell of a guy.
I would like to thank you, Claire Ashgrove for stopping by WVR today! It's been fun and interesting having you here today! I would like to thank everybody for stopping by and checking out Immortal Hope!
Thanks for having me – it’s been a lot of fun! Just as a heads up – I’m doing a coinciding Blog Tour for Immortal Hope this month, and am giving out some Amazon Gift Cards to those who choose to follow the tour. It’s a separate event from this one – so be sure to check out my blog site and jump in with both feet! You’ll learn lots of insight to Immortal Hope and the background behind the book. http://claireashgrove.blogspot.com
If that isn’t enough to keep you entertained, as Tori St. Claire I also have my debut release, STRIPPED, out and am touring it as well. More chances for more prizes! http://toristclaire.blogspot.com
One person will win an signed copy of Immortal Hope! Please leave a comment for the author along with your email address! Good luck!!
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