Claire Gem has stopped in for a visit today. Her previous hit was “Phantom Traces” and she is here now to talk about her recent release, “Hearts Unloched“. Welcome, Claire! What a breath-taking cover. I like the black bird out on the limb and the full moon rising. over the loch.
CLAIRE: Thank you, it’s very nice to be here.
RYAN JO: So, what can you tell us about your newest book? Is it ghostly like “Phantom Traces”?
CLAIRE: HEARTS UNLOCHED is a contemporary romance with a ghostly twist, a genre I call The New Gothic. Here’s the tagline:
A psychic interior designer reluctantly agrees to renovate a sexy investor’s abandoned hotel on Loch Sheldrake, a lake rumored to have once been the mob’s body dumping ground.
My heroine, Kate Bardach, is an interior designer, a modern single girl living in Manhattan and spending weekends at her lake house. But there are some projects she can’t take on because of the spirits trapped there. Kate is psychic—she sees dead people.
Marco Lareci is an investment broker who’s achieved all of his life’s goals—except for finding his soulmate. His latest project, an abandoned resort on Loch Sheldrake, needs a savvy designer to transform the crumbling complex into a boutique hotel. When Marco meets Kate, he can’t believe his luck. She’s the perfect match for his business and his heart.
Marco’s body excites Kate even more than does his renovation project. But the haunting there, a bonafide poltergeist, affects her on an intensely personal level—Kate’s aunt disappeared from the place fifty years ago.
RYAN JO: Sounds shiveringly exciting. How did you come up with the idea to write it?
CLAIRE: My husband grew up just a few miles from Loch Sheldrake, a tiny burgh in the Catskills about a hundred miles north of Manhattan. He still has family and friends there, and we visit often. A visit to the local museum last summer stirred my interest in the local urban legend about the lake. I literally wrote the book out loud during the four-hour drive home that day—and took notes like crazy once I got home.
RYAN JO: That’s a great example of writing what you know. How long did it take?
CLAIRE: I wrote the first 54,000 words during November of 2015 participating in National Novel Writing Month. The remaining 48,000 bled out of my brain during the month of February.
RYAN JO: Can you describe the path to publication?
CLAIRE: After being contracted and published by three small publishers, I decided to go the indie route on HEARTS UNLOCHED. I’m a control freak, and wanted complete control over the entire process, from editing to cover design. It’s been a lot of work, but incredibly satisfying as well. I’m very fortunate to have a wonderful cohort of talented beta readers, and my sister, Terri DelNegro, is a gifted graphic artist. She designed the cover for me, which I absolutely love.
RYAN JO: That is wonderful. I’ve never been ambitious or brave enough to try the Indie route yet. Maybe someday. Are you working on anything else right now?
CLAIRE: Yes, in fact, two projects. My women’s fiction, THE PHOENIX SYNDROME, is undergoing the editing process right now. The book’s opening pages finaled in several contests in 2014, and won The Beacon Contest in December of that year. It’s a rock-star romance, also with a slightly paranormal twist. Bostonian lab technician Lannie Marvin just turned forty, found out her husband was leaving her, and got bitten by an experimental lab mouse—all within three days. She goes a little mad, kidnapping her sister-in-law and heads out after the heavy metal band her son idolizes—Lannie is in serious lust with the drummer, Tristan Allard. But erratic behavior isn’t the only side effect from the drug the mice were being treated with: the mice are now losing their hearing.
I’m shooting for a release date for THE PHOENIX SYNDROME in August of this year. I’m also writing a prequel to PHANTOM TRACES, my debut New Gothic Romance from Soul Mate Publishing that was released in February of 2015.
HEARTS UNLOCHED was released just yesterday (squeee!) and is presently available in eBook on Amazon (link to follow). It will also be coming soon in paperback and on audiobook through ACX – I was fortunate enough to land the same talented producer who narrated PHANTOM TRACES, Josh Saulter.
And here is a short excerpt:
Claire Gem turns the paranormal genre on its ear by combining the elements of gothic horror, mystery/thriller, and contemporary romance into a genre she calls New Gothic.
Claire loves ghost stories, and has done her homework when it comes to exploring the world of paranormal phenomena. She holds her certificate in Parapsychology from Duke University’s Rhine Institute of Paranormal Studies. Her obsession with cemeteries, a severe case of taphophilia, has served her well—some of her best stories were born while exploring an old graveyard. She also loves abandoned places—asylums, crumbling hotels, places far out in the woods where only the fairies dare to venture.
Although she most definitely believes in ghosts, she doesn’t suffer from nightmares. They are simply midnight musings for her next gothic novel.
You can find Claire and more about her work here: