It’s always a pleasure to meet a fellow historical romance author! Please help me welcome Clair Brett and let’s find out more about her writing inspiration and stories. Here’s her bio and then we’ll dive right in to the interview.
Author of 5 historical romances, including the Improper Wives for Proper Lords series, Clair Brett lives in NH with her ever emptying nest which includes her children when they come to visit, two cats, one willful dog, and a mean Pitbull mix, that will lick you to death and run into her kennel when you speak loudly, and an ever harassed husband who takes it all in stride. A lover of all things Regency, Clair was hooked when she first read Jane Austen. She is a firm believer that a reader finds a piece of who they are or learns something about the world with every book they read. She wants her readers to be empowered and to have a refreshed belief in the goodness of people and the power of love after reading her work.
Betty: When did you become a writer?
Clair: When my daughters were little and I was teaching middle school full time. I needed a world to escape into that I had control of. I would finish reading a book and think “hmm, I would have ended that differently.” So, I decided to give it a try and I was hooked.
Betty: How long did you work on your writing skills before you became published?
Clair: I wrote for over 10 years and have one manuscript that I wrote and have not published, because it was my practice piece. After being told by many editors that they loved my voice and story, but my heroines were too strong for historical romance I decided to go indie.
Betty: What authors or stories do you feel influenced your writing style?
Clair: Again, I write strong female characters, so writers like Eloisa James, Nicole Jordan, and Hannah Howell were strong influences. Karen Hawkins humor and light heartedness also spoke to me.
Betty: What prompted you to start writing?
Clair: I have always loved writing, but never thought of myself as a writer, until I had two tiny girls at home and a full time job as a middle school teacher. As much as I loved all the children in my life, I needed a place where grown ups were in charge and I was also looking for some place where I felt I had some control. As an author you are in control of your world and how your characters interact in that world. If I wanted them to eat their peas, they did.
Betty: What type of writing did you start with?
Clair: I have always loved Historical Romance with a level of suspense and action/adventure. I was raised on a solid diet of Dukes of Hazzard, MacGyver, and the A-team, and I think that influences my need to have an exciting sub plot.
Betty: What do you most enjoy writing? Why?
Clair: I love writing the scenes where my hero is being himself. Usually he is working something out with a friend or brother and doesn’t have to behave in a certain way. I also love to write the scenes where the heroine takes charge of the situation leaving my hero to sit on the sidelines and watch or help (strong heroines, remember?)
Betty: How did you learn to write? A mentor, classes, conferences, craft books, or something else?
Clair: I joined RWA early in my writing journey, I read any book I could get my hands on about craft, took classes, went to conferences, but in the end I think I learned most about the ebb and flow of a story from reading other authors. I find when I don’t have time to read, I can feel a disconnect between my story and the flow. It is because I haven’t been reading and need to take the time to get back to that.
Betty: What do you wish you knew before you started writing/publishing?
Clair: That once you start it becomes part of you, like breathing and it would be impossible to walk away from once I got started. I could have planned better. lol
Betty: What other authors inspired you (either directly or through their writing) to try your hand at writing?
Clair: All the writers in my NHRWA chapter. They were the first “real” writers I interacted with, and those authors at conferences that I stalked, too nervous to talk to, Karen Hawkins comes to mind. She was amazingly kind and welcoming when I finally got my nerve up. Also Julia Quinn, who is very down to earth and encouraging when she finds out you are a writer as well and not just a reader.
Betty: What inspired you to write the book you’re sharing with us today?
Clair: I’m not sure if I can remember. Winn’s Fall has been in my mind for many years. I think I asked myself the question what would make an otherwise responsible man be a daredevil with no care for his own safety. Often I will have a scene come to me and then I have to figure it out from there, and the scene I got from this was the meet/cute for my hero and heroine. He is in a homemade hot air balloon and she is watching him come across a field from the middle of the road. What could go wrong with that?
Lord Winthrop (Winn) Burton will die on his own terms. A family curse says he will die by the time he turns thirty years old. He will not leave a young wife and a child behind like his father did to him.
When childhood friend Miss Zoe Chase returns to stay with his sister and find a husband, Winn’s plans are thrown into chaos. Not only is the once gangly, awkward girl he remembers, is now everything that tempts him, the accidents that once plagued his life are happening to her.
He must keep her safe, but how can he do that when ravaging her is all he can consider? Or perhaps the curse isn’t a curse after all.
Will Winn die, or will he fall?
“I will not speak a word until my plate is full and my cup refilled, twice,” He demanded as he sat down at his spot and hefted his cup toward Winn. Who unceremoniously slid the wine bottle toward him and took up the plates to serve the now simmering dinner. Once they were both seated, his friend started. “When admitted to the parlor, your mother and sister were chatting with a woman; I would say close to your mother’s age. It was, without a doubt, the older woman with your pretty partner from earlier. She was introduced to me as Lady Dorothy Lambert.”
“If I remember, that is Zoe’s maternal aunt.”
“Quite right, or so I was told when introduced. It was the same woman we met on the road — the one who scooped up her charge and pierced us with reproachful glares. I got a similar one this evening. Your young lady was not, however, in attendance.”
“She is not my young lady,” Winn corrected. Why would he even say such a thing? They didn’t even know each other anymore. A lot changes a person between the ages of nine and nine and twenty.
I love that you made your characters eat their peas, Clair! That’s funny! Thanks for sharing about what inspired you to write your latest romance, too.
Happy reading, folks! At least that’s one thing you’ll never run out of: books to read. Stay safe and healthy!
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