"I am ready to meet my maker. Whether my maker is prepared to meet me is another matter."
-Winston Churchill

Friday, July 20, 2012

Interview & Contest with National Best Selling Author - Tori St. Claire Touring With Lie To Me

Welcome to Immortality and Beyond Tori. I absolutely love the cover of Lie to Me and very excited to delve into your brain a little bit. Before we get started, may I offer you a beverage? 

Yes. With all the bloodshed I’ve been writing about, I think I’ll have some of that Vampires Wine. Thank you very much – and thank you also for having me here today!

Now that we're all settled in, let's get started shall we?

Ladies and Gentleman...Tori St. Claire!

IAB: You have quite the backlist, when did you realize you wanted to be a writer?

TSC: Oh my goodness. I don’t know that I “wanted” to be one… I just started writing one day. I was in junior high and my girlfriends and I used to pass around a notebook. L wrote one scene, then K, then me and occasionally J contributed. Then we passed it around again, and so on, until the story ended. From there I wrote a dozen and a half little short stories (almost all of them included Nikki Sixx, heh!) I wrote my first romance novel in my junior English class. In around 2008, I decided I’d see what this published thing was all about, and really just continued with what I had always done in my spare time. Then spare became full time, and here we are. I love my job!

IAB: Your books are of a variety of genres, how did you come about to write in more than one?

TSC: Quite by accident, I assure you. I envisioned my first published book would be a historical. Had the pen name picked out for a historical ring, and everything. And while those early works were being torn apart by agents, someone dared me to write erotic. I chose horses because at least I was comfortable with that aspect, and tried my best… and failed miserably… but that led to my first contemporary contract. I don’t really enjoy being boxed in, and need to be able to work in entirely different areas to nurture my creativity. As things have progressed, I’ve had a few ideas that hit, and luckily editors liked.

IAB: Tell us a little bit about Lie To Me...

TSC: It’s a very dark story about two very damaged people Alexei met Sasha two years previous but his role as a Black Opal forced him into selling her into slavery, despite his feelings for her. Now, he’s been sent to retrieve another girl, only to discover his target is Sasha, who for reasons she won’t explain, doesn’t hate him. As Alexei sets out to finish his mission and return her to her father, they find themselves in world of danger with no one but each other to trust.

All told, in many ways, it’s a story about redemption. And love. Deep, never-ending, nonjudgmental love.

IAB: One word that would describe Lie To Me...

TSC: Catastrophic

IAB: The basis of the story is Russian Human Trafficking, how much research went into this?

TSC: For this one, not a lot. The groundwork was already laid with Stripped, the first in series. This is more or less the conclusion of the human trafficking element and wrapping up loose ends. Research for Lie to Me involved more setting research than anything. Setting and staging with guns. Laugh.

IAB: What was the most difficult part to write for this story?

TSC: I think I wrote the opening scene about three times before I decided I was happy with it. There are so many things to convey there—both the basis of the plot, the trust, the betrayal, and all the justifications Sasha has, so she can play her part accordingly later… Yeah, that was a tough start.

IAB: How different is writing erotica from other genres?

TSC: Gosh, I think that’s author-dependant, and probably book-dependant too. I can tell you that with my own works, what you’ll find in almost everything I write is a very layered, detailed plot. So for me erotica differs in the detail that’s put into the intimate scenes. The coarser language, graphic terms, and more frequent between-the-sheets encounters. Otherwise, I’d say you could probably lay a Tori St. Claire novel beside a Claire Ashgrove novel and they are pretty similar in terms of tone and structure.

IAB: What is your favorite scene from the book?

TSC: I don’t want to give away details, but Alexei and Sasha have a fight after she’s done something…in a café…(hint hint). It’s the culmination of a lot of pent up frustrations and adrenaline from the surrounding events. Emotions are super-charged, and Alexei’s beyond angry. But when Sasha challenges him, he breaks, and all the things he doesn’t want her to know come rushing out, and of course this leads to an extremely hot encounter in the bedroom.

IAB: Favorite quote from the book?

TSC: “So tell me, Agent Nikanova, are you afraid of the fall, or are you afraid of the loss?”

IAB: Which actor and actress do you see playing the parts of Alexei and Sasha should Lie To Me be made into a movie?

TSC: I am so going to let the readers answer this one. I don’t know actors names at all. I’m just not a Hollywood follower by any means.

IAB: Where are your books sold?

TSC: All over. Lie to Me is in brick and mortar stores, all major booksellers, all digital sellers including Amazon and Barnes and Noble. If it isn’t in stock, it can be ordered through any book retailer.

IAB: Now to talk a little bit about you...If your friends were to describe you in one word, what would it be?

TSC: Dedicated

IAB: Who is your favorite author of all time?

TSC: Steve Berry gets that nod. Mmm… although… of all time? I’m a sucker for anything Faulkner.

IAB: Favorite book?

TSC: I don’t really have one. The book that comes to mind immediately as being the one I’ve read more than any other, is an original printing of Gone With the Wind, which I’ve read five times, at least.

IAB: Favorite movie?

TSC: Right now, this minute, it’s ARN. All time? Toss up between Gladiator and Transformers

IAB: Name one thing readers would be most surprised to know about you?

TSC: That I personally don’t care for the traditionally viewed romance things. IE: I’m not a flowers girl, I’m not a diamonds/jewelry girl, and sappiness makes my skin crawl.

IAB: Where can readers connect with you?

TSC: There are several ways:

Twitter: @ClaireAshgrove
Facebook: Claire Ashgrove

Tori, thank you so much for chatting with us today. It has been such a pleasure.

Thank you! I had a wonderful time!

A man of action…

After helping to break up a Russian human trafficking ring as part of the CIA’s elite Black Opal team, Alexei Nikanova’s newest assignment is to rescue one of the stolen women and return her to her father. When he arrives in Dubai, he discovers his target is Sasha Zablosky—a woman he knows all too well, and who has haunted him ever since their one unforgettable night together. But he finds Sasha reluctant to leave her Sheik, the only true friend she’s ever known. Only Alexei can’t give her a choice. 

A woman of deception…

With their yearning roused by intrigue, Alexei and Sasha can no longer resist and spend night after night in forbidden pleasure. Soon Alexei finds himself falling for her even as he battles a shadowy menace to protect her. But Sasha is no innocent. She has a past darker than she could ever admit or that Alexei could ever forgive. And it is about to explode into her life once more. Now, as the lies they tell themselves—and each other—pull them deeper into a perilous desire, what began as simple passion becomes a love certain to destroy them and end the lives of countless innocents.

Excerpt from Site:


Fury radiated off Alexei’s body in hot waves as he forcibly ushered Sasha through a white painted door, into a spacious suite at the Palazzo Vecchietti. He kept going through the living area, past the rich plum-colored furniture, and into the bedroom. His heel connected with the door, sending it slamming shut so forcefully a painting on the wall rattled. Sasha didn’t know whether Grigoriy followed or not, her head spun with a chaotic mixture of defiance, rage, and a smidgeon of fear.

He spun on her, startling her back a step. She braced for the inevitable storm that came next. She didn’t fear he would actually hurt her. But she knew his words would wound.
For several seconds he merely stared, his angry eyes searching hers, seeking answers to questions he had yet to ask. She swallowed. Waiting. Anticipating.
Creating answers faster than she’d ever thought possible.

“What the fuck were you thinking?” He flung a thick arm sideways, indicating the wide window. “Kadir’s still out there. If I hadn’t seen you, hadn’t caught up to you, he could damn well have you stuffed in the back of some car, heading to God knows where! Dead maybe!”
She bit down on her tongue, biting back her own angry retort. Alexei took another step forward, forcing her backward in order to maintain eye contact. Quietly, logically, she answered, “Kadir doesn’t want to kill me.”

“No?” Alexei invaded her personal space again, standing so close his chest brushed against her breasts. “Just why has he been shooting at us then?”

Meeting his challenging stare, she gave into the defiance working through her bloodstream. “He’s been trying to buy me. If he wants me, he’ll take me, but he won’t kill me.”

Alexei’s eyes darkened with a deeper emotion, turning his light green gaze the color of rich jade. His jaw worked furiously, his temper barely restrained. At his thigh, one hand curled into a tight fist. “Is that what you want? To go back to silk sheets and the lustful desires of power? Did you like it there, Sasha, a slave to whatever Saeed wanted to do to you?”

She would have struck him if she’d had room to gain enough power to make an impact on his poisonous mouth. Instead, she flattened both hands against his chest and pushed. Hard. “Go to hell!”

Alexei threw off her hands by wedging his forearms between them. With lightning fast reflexes, he grabbed her wrists and thrust her backward, imprisoning her against the wall. The air sped from her lungs in a wild rush. His body pinned her in place from chest to toes. “You almost compromised my assignment, Sasha. I don’t take that fucking lightly.”

Writhing to escape his viselike hold, Sasha glared at him. “Is that what I am, Alexei? A mission? Is that what I was in Moscow? Something to be completed. Forgotten the minute you kicked me off that truck.”

The pain that flashed through his expression almost made her regret the accusation she knew was off the mark. But the need to unravel the layers he hid behind and expose the feeling he sought to keep disguised drove her onward. She held his stare, unwilling, unable to back down. “When you handed me to Amir, your job was done. Just one more girl in a chain of nameless, faceless others.”

He heaved in a deep breath and his lips pursed so tight they turned white. For a moment, she doubted her sanity in pushing him so far. He looked ready to kill.

Then, his fury cracked, giving her a full glimpse of the anguish she had suspected he suffered, but never truly witnessed. The same torment filled his hoarse whisper. “No.”

Before she could absorb his confession, his mouth crashed into hers. Nothing about his kiss was gentle. His teeth nipped hard, his tongue tangled desperately. Where his chest pressed into her breasts, she felt the shudder that rocked his body.

Alexei tore his mouth away, his lips moving toward the base of her ear as his hips sank into hers, his cock nestling in the tight space between her legs. A shock of pleasure hit her like a semi truck, and she speared her fingers into his long hair, holding on, grounding herself against the flick of his tongue, the scrape of his whiskers, the sharp edge of his teeth.

“I sent someone back.” His hand smoothed over the curve of her hip, down her thigh, drawing her leg up to his waist. He held it there as he ground his erection against her clit. “Back for Irina.” Another tremor rolled through his body and vibrated into her. “Because I fucking need this."

National Bestselling author Tori St. Claire grew up writing. Hobby quickly turned into passion, and when she discovered the world of romance as a teen, poems and short stories gave way to full length novels with sexy heroes and heroines waiting to be swept off their feet. She wrote her first romance novel at seventeen.
While that manuscript gathered dust-bunnies beneath the bed, she went on to establish herself as a contemporary, historical, and paranormal author under the pen name, Claire Ashgrove. Her writing, however, skirted a fine line between hot and steamy, and motivated by authors she admired, she pushed her boundaries and made the leap into erotica, using the darker side of human nature and on-the-edge suspense to drive grittier, sexier, stories.
Her erotic romantic suspense novels are searingly sensual experiences that unite passion with true emotion, and the all-consuming tie that binds -- love.
Contest Time!!
Tori will be giving away a $25.00 Amazon Gift Card to one random commenter during the month of July. Two additional commenters will receive a basket of swag. Follow the tour – the more times you comment the better your chances of winning! Complete tour dates can be found here.


Joanne said...

Congrats on the new release. Thanks for the great interview. This book sounds amazing. That excerpt was fantastic.I loved the line "Agent Nikanova, are you afraid of the fall, or are you afraid of the loss?” Can't wait to read the book to learn more about Alexei and Sasha.


Unknown said...

Thanks for chatting Tori. Love all of your covers and can't wait to delve into your worlds :)

Chelsea B. said...

Wonderful interview, y'all! I'm loving reading more about this book. Hmmmm, I wonder what actors will come to mind when I read this book?? Nice chatting!


Claire Ashgrove said...

Evening everyone! Joanne -- that really is my favorite line. Probably one of my favorite lines across all my books. LOL.

BK - I hope you enjoy the plunge.

Chelsea -- You'll have to tell me what actors. I am so out of touch with Hollywood.

June M. said...

Congrats on the new release and the blog tour.
I love that Alexei finally allowed Sasha to see how much this tormented him. I can't wait to learn more about both of these characters.
manning_j2004 at yahoo dot com

Carin said...

Tori your latest looks amazing! I can't wait to read it.

Carrie said...

Hot and sexy! Just what I love about a good romance :) Congrats on the new book and good luck with the rest of the tour

bn100 said...

Great excerpt. The book sounds good.