by Mae Clair
Fifteen years after leaving his criminal past and estranged brother behind, widower Dane Carlisle returns to his hometown on the banks of sleepy Eclipse Lake. Now, a successful businessman, he has kept his troubled past a secret from most everyone, including his seventeen-year-old son.
But memories in small towns are bitter and long.
Ellie Sullivan, a nature photographer for a national magazine, has a habit of ping-ponging across the map. Her latest assignment leads her to Eclipse Lake where she becomes caught up in the enmity between Dane, his brother Jonah, and a vengeful town sheriff. When freshly-discovered skeletal remains are linked to an unsolved murder and Dane’s past, Ellie is left questioning her growing attraction for a man who harbors long-buried secrets.
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Ellie stopped walking and turned to face him. “Why are you here?”
Dane picked up a flat stone. With a flick of his wrist he sent it skimming across the lake. It danced effortlessly across the surface as if he’d done the same thing a thousand times before. “You know that skeleton they found?”
“I’ve got more skeletons than a graveyard. I can’t pick up and go to another place…to the next photo shoot.” He turned to face her. “Half of my life is here and half’s on the west coast. I have to make them fit together.”
The revelation reminded her of the family she’d left behind in Idaho, reawakening a familiar tug of homesickness. In an effort to find more comfortable ground, she changed topics. “You told me you’re from San Diego. I did a photo op there four years ago. What do you do for a living?”
“I get by.” He took her hand and started walking again.
She sent a speculative glance in his direction, recognizing evasiveness when she heard it. He was wearing a Rolex, and though dressed casually, clearly had expensive taste. Yet he’d booked an ordinary cabin rather than one of the exclusive chalets higher up the mountain.
She liked the feel of his fingers around hers, warm and firm. The contact sent a pleasant tingle up her arm. What the hell was wrong with her, getting caught up in his touch as if it were magic? As if she’d waited her whole life for that sensation. He had skeletons in his past, a brother who couldn’t stand the sight of him and a sheriff who wanted to run him out of town. Eccentric, or just plain trouble?
It is my pleasure to welcome Mae Clair, author of ECLIPSE LAKE, to Room With Books.
Hello, Mae. Thank you for agreeing to this interview.
Thank you so much for having me as a guest. I’m delighted to be here!
Would you tell us a little about yourself and your background?
ECLIPSE LAKE is my fourth release, so I’m pretty giddy about the progress I’m making. Although I’ve been creating stories since I was six years old, I didn’t start publishing until two years ago. I work a full time job in the real estate industry, but my heart has always belonged to penning novels. I’m married (to my high school sweetheart) and suffer from OCD—obsessive cat disorder—even though I am presently without a feline to encourage my muse. An oversight I hope to correct sometime this year.
What were you like in school?
Bookish and geeky, at least through my younger years. I loved science and reading, two passions I never outgrew. By high school, I was known for gypsy-style clothing, asking space-oddity questions, and writing speculative fiction. By then I had transitioned from geeky and had acquired the nickname “Star Child.”
Were you good at English?
Not so much in the structural/grammar sense. I did fine, but I wouldn’t say I excelled at it. I can’t even say I liked it, LOL. But I did love creative writing, science-fiction class (yes, we had one) and any subject that allowed me to apply creativity.
What are your ambitions for your writing career?
Like most writers, I’d love to make a living at it full-time. As I don’t see that happening in the near future, I’d like to be able to continue what I’m doing—releasing 1-2 books a year and building an audience that enjoys reading romantic suspense and mysteries.
Which writers inspire you?
Hands down, Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child. They’re an author team who writes a series of books called the Pendergast Novels. I’m in awe of their plotting skills, and creating (to me) the most mesmerizing character in fiction. I also like P. J. Parrish, Dan Simmons, Cassandra Clare and C. S. Friedman.
Give us an insight into your main character, Dane Carlisle. What does he do that is so special?
The hero of my novel is a man who has turned his life around after serving time in prison as a teenager. Now, a highly successful business man and philanthropist, Dane Carlisle returns to his hometown to try to make amends with his estranged brother. But he’s left a lot of baggage behind, including a nasty reputation that still resonates, even after fifteen long years. There’s also a sheriff set on linking him to an unsolved crime, a situation that blows up in Dane’s face when freshly discovered skeletal remains bring his unethical past into question.
What are you working on at the minute?
I’m so glad you asked! I have a romantic suspense novel called MYTH AND MAGIC releasing on June 9th through Kensington Publishing. It involves bizarre and ghostly occurrences at a corporate retreat, and is set during Halloween.
I’m also nearly finished with a romantic suspense/mystery that involves the Mothman, a legendary creature rumored to haunt an abandoned munitions site in Point Pleasant, West Virginia. Some might remember the movie, The Mothman Prophecies, starring Richard Gere, or a book by the same name by the late author, John Keel. I have a strong side-interest in cryptozoology and the Mothman in particular. I even made a trip to Point Pleasant in 2013 to research information for use in my book.
Which actor or actress would you like to see playing the lead character from your most recent book?
Wow, that’s hard. Chris Hemsworth, as he looked in Rush (trimmed down, longer hair, and clean shaven) would make a great Dane Carlisle. I’m having a harder time relating Ellie Sullivan to someone famous.
Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured?
LOL! That part is easy for me. I have a set writing time….every Sunday for 5-6 hours. That’s a discipline I’ve maintained for several years. I never lack for story ideas, so it’s just making the time.
Where do your ideas come from?
They generally start with a character. Someone usually pops into my head and demands to be recognized. Once that happens, I have to start fiddling with a plot to suit them. Usually he or she helps me along and the story develops as I write.
Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?
I do a little of both. I start with character worksheets and character background, then develop a bare-bones outline of plot (although I never know the ending). I make a few pages of notes, then let the story build as I write. It usually changes radically from those first hastily jotted pages of notes.
What is the hardest thing about writing?
Finding the time. Oh, to have the luxury to write without having to juggle a work schedule and home life around it! I think most writers will agree carving out time is rough, especially when you toss social media into the mix.
I’d also have to say when I reach the last quarter of a WIP, I usually have a few moments of sheer and utter panic. By then, there’s generally a lot of loose threads to tie together and, often at that point, I still don’t know how the story will end. Fortunately, that manner of writing works for me!
Do you read much and if so, who are your favorite authors.
I read constantly. As soon as I finish one book, I start another. For the last two years I’ve read 65 titles each year. I’d like to bump that up this year if I can. I devour books! 🙂 For favorite authors, once again there’s no question the writing team of Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child hold that honor. When it comes to romantic mystery and suspense, I like Nora Roberts and Heather Graham.
For your own reading, do you prefer eBooks or traditional paper/hard back books?
For fiction, I purchase eBooks, with occasional paperbacks whenever I hit a bookstore. For non-fiction, I prefer paperbacks, as I like to highlight sections, and scribble notes in the margins.
What are you reading at present?
I’m currently in the middle of a series by Lynn Austin called Chronicles of the Kings series. It’s set during Old Testament times and chronicles the life of some of the lesser known kings (and wars) after David and Solomon’s rules have ended.
Tell us about the cover and how it came about.
For ECLIPSE LAKE, which is an indie release, I searched for a cover that captured the mood of my fictional setting. I think the artist did a remarkable job! Most of my other releases are through my publisher and the artwork was down in-house.
Who designed your book cover?
ECLIPSE LAKE was designed by Laura Gordon of the Book Cover Machine. She was wonderful to work with, and I couldn’t be happier with the cover she produced.
Do you have a trailer for ECLIPSE LAKE?
I did a trailer for my first release, WEATHERING ROCK, but haven’t done one since. I did enjoy making it, but I’m not sure how popular trailers are with readers. It seems as if some of the glamor has faded. As a reader I rarely, if ever, look at a trailer. Then again, I don’t really care for watching videos, so it could just be me! 🙂
Do you think that giving away free books works?
It certainly seems to bump you up in ratings. I haven’t tried it yet, but I know many authors have had great success with it. I think it’s an ideal way to introduce new readers to your work, who might not select one of your novels otherwise.
How do you relax?
Mostly through reading. In the summer, I love relaxing in my pool. My husband and I also try to take several trips a year, even if a few are only long weekends at the beach.
What is your favorite quote?
I have two. They’re at opposite ends of the spectrum, the first practical, the second idealistic but they work together.
“Talent is cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work.” ~ Stephen King
“Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.” ~ Les Brown
What is your favorite movie?
Like most people I have several, but one movie I can watch over and over is Frequency, an older movie with Jim Caviezel and Dennis Quaid. It’s a great father/son story, murder mystery and enchanting tale rolled into one.
Any final words?
Thank you so much for hosting me today. It’s been wonderful to drop by and share my writing journey as well as my new release, ECLIPSE LAKE!
Thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to take part in this interview.
~ Patricia, Room With Books ~
Mae Clair opened a Pandora’s Box of characters when she was a child and never looked back. Her father, an artist who tinkered with writing, encouraged her to create make-believe worlds by spinning tales of far-off places on summer nights beneath the stars.
Mae loves creating character-driven fiction in settings that vary from contemporary to mythical. Wherever her pen takes her, she flavors her stories with mystery and romance. Married to her high school sweetheart, she lives in Pennsylvania and is passionate about cryptozoology, old photographs, a good Maine lobster tail and cats.
You can find Mae Clair at the following haunts:
Website and Blog – http://maeclair.net/
Twitter (@MaeClair1) – https://twitter.com/MaeClair1
Facebook Author Page – https://www.facebook.com/pages/Mae-Clair/219356774828949?ref=hl
Amazon Author Page – http://www.amazon.com/Mae-Clair/e/B009I61ND0/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1397572548&sr=8-1
Mae will be awarding $20 Amazon or B&N gift card to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter during the tour.