Author Claire Gem released ‘Spirits of the Heart’ aptly on the 14th of February, 2017. In an exclusive interview with www.welovequalitybooks.biz the author — Claire Gem reveals what makes her such a perceptive, honest and successful fiction writer!
Learn about the author, her writings and why it will take you a blink to become an ardent fan of Claire Gem and her thoughtfully touching authorship.
WeLoveQuality Books: Hi Claire. We loved your latest release “Spirits of the Heart“. How did you come up with such a lovely storyline?
Claire Gem: I grew up in the town where this abandoned asylum is, and it has always haunted me. I actually did date a security guard who worked on the grounds back in the 1970s, but it wasn’t Miller Stanford :–)
There is also an alcohol treatment center on the grounds, even today. Alcoholism isn’t a subject often broached by romance writers but is a very real problem in society. I thought I’d give it a go.
WeLoveQuality Books: What made you choose writing as a vocation?
Claire Gem: I have always loved to write, and the practice has served as therapy for me more than once in my life. But about ten years ago, I awoke on a Sunday morning very early with a story idea in my head, and I knew it was time to take writing seriously and put my words to work.
WeLoveQuality Books: All the reviews of ‘Spirits of the Heart‘ are a 5 Star. How does it feel when you know your work is being well received?
Claire Gem: Thrilled, of course. I am frustrated because the number of reviews remain small, yet I feel confident that the story will be well received no matter how many reviews are written. It’s very difficult to get people to take the time to write reviews, even if they love a book. I would like readers to know how very important it is for those reviews to go up: honest ones, for better or worse. It’s the only way our work can find a new audience.
WeLoveQuality Books: This is your second book in the Haunted series. What made you choose this genre?
Claire Gem: I love ghost stories, and there aren’t many in the romance genre. Most paranormal romances involve vampires, werewolves, or shape shifters, or are set in times past. I love the modern romances by Heather Graham (her Krewe of Hunters series is wonderful), and I’ve read every one of the late, great Barbara Michaels ghostly stories. I thought the reading world could use some more contemporary romances with ghost stories intertwined, so I started writing them.
WeLoveQuality Books: How is “Spirits of the Heart” different from your first book, “Hearts Unloched”?
Claire Gem: The two books are completely unrelated, even though they are part of what I call my Haunted Voices series. These books are (and will continue to be) linked purely by genre. Hearts Unloched takes place in a haunted hotel on a lake with a sinister history, and the heroine is psychic. SOTH takes place in a haunted asylum, and I have another book in the works set in yet another haunted asylum. Each book will center around a different location—a different haunted location. I love scouting out places to set my next Haunted Voices novel.
WeLoveQuality Books: What is the USP of “Spirits of the Heart” that makes us all love it?
Claire Gem: I believe the tackling of the subject of alcoholism makes SOTH unique. Also, the addressing of the subject of how patients in mental asylums were once treated or maltreated, is one not often woven into a storyline.
WeLoveQuality Books: Your novel expresses an affinity with the thought ‘Everything happens for a reason’. Do you believe the same in real life too?
Claire Gem: Absolutely. I live by this mantra. How did you guess? 😉
WeLoveQuality Books: The novel talks about medical malpractices in mental asylums. How much research went into it?
Claire Gem: Tons. My day job is in scientific research, so I am, by nature, a stickler for accuracy of facts. I usually spend several months researching before I write the first word. It’s amazing how a simple story idea can blossom and be fed by the facts I come up with in doing my research.
WeLoveQuality Books: What is amazing is how a love story develops so convincingly in a haunted scenario. How did you achieve it?
Claire Gem: Hauntings cause fear, and fear drives people closer together. I think fear was the initial draw between Miller and Laura, and by finding comfort in each other’s company, their love developed organically.
WeLoveQuality Books: We see the deep toll alcoholism takes in the lives of the characters. How were you able to delicately yet astutely tackle the issue in “Spirits of the Heart“?
Claire Gem: Personal experience. Alcoholism runs in my family, and several family members have been affected. So I knew how sensitive a subject it could be. That gave me the insight to handle the subject tactfully, yet honestly.
WeLoveQuality Books: Is there a third installment coming up in the Haunted Series?
Claire Gem: Oh yes. The next novel is underway, entitled “Pigments.” My heroine is a DNA researcher who possesses the unique ability to access the memories of artists whose DNA is embedded in the paint. She, therefore, has a phobia of art museums, since the voices she hears overwhelm her. My hero is a museum curator. How will that ever work? Guess you’ll have to wait until “Pigments” is released to find out, later this summer.
WeLoveQuality Books: You begin your novel with a touching dedication to your husband. Do you think as a writer, family support is imperative?
Claire Gem: Absolutely. His patience for the hours I spend over a keyboard is just the beginning. My husband serves as my initial sounding board for my story ideas. He helps me brainstorm. His encouragement and support help keep me going when my confidence—or my muse—falter.
WeLoveQuality Books: To take this question further, how do you think writers who have no support can pursue their dreams as a writer?
Claire Gem: I’m not sure—it depends on the individual, certainly. If someone is used to doing things on their own, they would probably do fine as a writer as long as they have the dedication behind them. But my husband and I have been a team for almost 39 years, so I can’t imagine sustaining any endeavor without his support.
WeLoveQuality Books: Writing is a complicated business. The challenges for a writer are immense. What was your greatest challenge and how did you overcome it?
Claire Gem: My greatest challenge was overcoming the belief that unless I got picked up by a big, NY publisher, my writing wasn’t any good. But after securing contracts with four small publishers, I realized that the politics involved in the big publishing game was holding me back—not the quality of my work. When my first self-published title, Hearts Unloched, won the NY Book Festival, I was reassured that I could go on to sustain my writing career as an Indie author. Since I’m a control freak, this way suits me better anyway.
WeLoveQuality Books: Thank you for the wonderful conversation, Claire. Before we go, please share where we can find all your novels to read and buy.
Claire Gem: Sure! Visit my Amazon Author Page: http://amzn.to/2nabvbm
You can also find me on my website, blog, and social media. I love hearing from my readers!