I am pleased as punch to welcome wonderful and talented author Mae Clair to my blog. Mae is a sister author with Lyrical Press, and I’m delighted she agreed to stop by to talk about her new release, Twelfth Sun. Now it’s no secret that I love a hot geek hero, and Dr. Elijah Cross fits the bill. Even better, heroine Reagan Cassidy is a bit older than Elijah, which is rather refreshing in a sea of older-man-bags-hot-young-thang titles. Elijah is no mere boy-toy, and both of the primary characters possess depth and plenty of heart. Throw in a maritime mystery and a scavenger hunt hosted by an eccentric and curiously absent host, and you’ve got yourself a page-turner!
Reagan Cassidy is settled in her life. She has a thriving interior design firm, an upscale condo, two cats, and a goldfish. As a favor to her uncle, she agrees to team up with his marine archeologist friend to validate and retrieve a nineteenth-century journal, reputedly that of a passenger aboard the doomed schooner Twelfth Sun. Finding a hunky twenty-five-year-old coming out of the shower in her hotel room wasn’t part of the deal, but it’s hard to complain…
Dr. Elijah Cross is cocky and he knows it. He enjoys trading barbs with the lovely Reagan. Barbs, and some innuendo. He can tell she’d rather get back home to her business than stick around for the extended treasure hunt they’ve been talked into, but he’s fine with the situation. At least, until the “clues” start getting personal.
Reagan finds Dr. Gorgeous is as skilled in matters of the heart as he is behind the lectern. Throw in a series of clues which mean more to Elijah than he’ll explain, several odd-ball competitors out to win the journal, a saboteur, and a lavish seaside mansion, and Reagan has enough trouble keeping her head straight, let alone her heart.
WARNING: Younger man, older woman, nautical riddles and romance.
Mae, let’s start with your heroine, Reagan. She’s on a mission to retrieve the logbook from a passenger aboard the nineteenth century ship, Twelfth Sun, detailing her disastrous final voyage. She wants the journal for her uncle, and expects assistance from a stuffy old academic-type marine archaeologist. Imagine her surprise (and ours) when a gorgeous twenty-something shows up instead. Reagan has more than a little trouble taking him seriously at first. And she certainly isn’t in the market for any romantic entanglements. So what is it about Elijah, aside from his good looks and sometimes-charming-often-cocky manner, that appeals to her?
D.B., thanks so much for having me as your guest today and for that fab intro! *blush* It’s great to be here, and I love your insight into my characters! Reagan definitely didn’t expect Dr. Elijah Cross to turn out to be….well, Elijah…but because of the promise she made to her uncle, she’s stuck working with him. At first she’s irritated by his cavalier attitude, but it’d that façade that eventually makes her look deeper. She’s intrigued by the contrasts she sees in him – one moment confident and in control, the next charmingly awkward at a social function. And there’s no doubt Elijah’s persistence plays a part too. He doesn’t know how to take ‘no’ for an answer.
Oh he is most definitely persistent! Speaking of Elijah, I LOVE how authentic and well rounded you made his character. With his genius I.Q., he was thrust into the world of adults at an early age and is intellectually mature, yet you still give him that boyish charm expected from twenty-something males. He’s a bit socially awkward, but doesn’t fall into those over-used geek stereotypes; he can maintain complete focus on the task of interpreting clues, yet he’ll still take a plunge into cold ocean waters on a dare (and in order to impress a lady). How did you balance all of these complex character traits (which you did very well, by the way)?
Thanks for that lovely compliment! J Elijah was fun to write. I always love to explore what makes a character tick and Elijah was a proverbial fish out of water for most of his life (genius kid thrust into an adult world). I didn’t want him coming across brooding or reserved so I had to find a way to balance his intellect. I wanted him to be a character the reader could relate to. Maybe that was out of the question with his academic background, but most could relate to his insecurity at social gatherings or his quirky addiction to grape soda. And hey, any twenty-five-year-old is going to jump when challenged on a dare. Genius or not, some things never change, LOL.
Point well-taken, and any male between the ages of four and sixty+ is would most likely jump on a dare. Though she’s thoroughly modern and confident, Reagan struggles a bit with the age gap. This is a reflection of what is, IMHO, an unfair double standard in romantic fiction and our society as a whole. I definitely appreciated the fact that your story bucks this convention, as well as the cougar female and boy-toy younger male stereotypes. What inspired this pairing for you?
I heart star-crossed romances that buck impossible odds. Age gaps between the hero and heroine naturally have a built-in problem meter to overcome, so it makes a great launching point. I’ve always been a hopeless romantic, believing in love at first sight and love overcoming all obstacles. Because of the stigma often associated with an older woman and younger man, it was the perfect set-up for what I wanted to accomplish. It created great conflict, especially for the first half of the novel while Reagan struggles with her attraction to Elijah.
Naturally I was a sucker for the romance, star-crossed and otherwise, but I also very much enjoyed the rivalry/bromance between Elijah and his rival, Brody Simpson. How important is it for you to round out your side characters?
Extremely. Side characters play a key part in every manuscript I write. My hero and heroine always take center stage but I like to delve into other relationships. It adds to the complexity of the plot which is important to me.
Any hints about what’s next from the Pen of Mae Clair?
That’s so cute! J I have a couple of projects in the works. I just finished the first draft of a romantic adventure novella, tentatively titled Solstice Island. It will be included in an anthology with several other authors and offered as a free read on Amazon. We hope to pub the end of the year or early in 2014.
I’ve also completed a romantic mystery called Eclipse Lake that revolves around two estranged brothers, a free-spirited photographer who falls hard for one, and a fifteen-year-old unsolved missing person’s case. If all goes according to plan, I’ll probably publish that in April or May of 2014.
You’ve been busy (adds to my TBR list)! How do you balance life and writing (yes, I always ask that question of my author guests because I’m always looking for advice on that!)?
I tread water most days. Honestly, sometimes I’m so exhausted I can’t see straight. My husband knows that Sunday afternoon is my day for writing. It’s a set commitment, so barring an emergency (or the occasional rare Sunday when I goof off), I spend 5-6 hours glued to my computer. I write blog posts in the evenings during the week (I work full-time) and occasionally even manage to grab an hour or two for my WIP of the moment. For now it’s working, but I look forward to the day when I can retire and devote more hours to writing!
Oh, I can definitely relate! Desert island – three must-have books?
The Bible. It’s got unrequited love, lust, murder, patricide, matricide, sibling rivalry, betrayal, forgiveness, uprisings and redemption!
The Terror by Dan Simmons. A masterful blend of history, myth, mystery, grisly horror and romance. And at over 900 pages for the paperback copy, it’s guaranteed to entertain for a while. J
Blood Brothers by Nora Roberts, because I’d want a good romance and Caleb Hawkins is probably my favorite romantic hero (though Phillip Quinn in Nora’s Inner Harbor is a close second) J
Thank you so much for the wonderful interview. To learn more about Mae please visit her website www.MaeClair.com Twelfth Sun is available now from Amazon, Barnes&Noble, and iTunes. You can also connect with Mae onTwitter (@MaeClair1), her Facebook Author Page, and on Goodreads
Mae Clair opened a Pandora’s Box of characters when she was a child and never looked back. Her father, anartist who tinkered with writing, encouraged her to create make-believe worlds by spinning tales of far-off places on summer nights beneath the stars. She snagged the tail of a comet, hitched a ride, and discovered her writer’s Muse on the journey.
Mae loves creating character-driven fiction in settings that vary from contemporary to mythical. Wherever her pen takes her, she flavors her stories with conflict, romance and elements of mystery. Married to her high school sweetheart, she lives in Pennsylvania and is passionate about writing, old photographs, a good Maine lobster tail and cats.