Q&A With Claire Marti
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Q&A With Claire Marti
Another Q&A to start off the New Year is doing a Q&A with award winning & USA Today Bestselling Author of contemporary romance Claire Marti. Claire is the author of the series Pacific Vista Ranch, the spin off series California Suits & the Romance in Laguna Beach series. Claire is also the author of the memoir Come Ride with Me Along The Big C on her experience with beating breast cancer. In a past life Claire practiced law, managed a non-profit animal rescue for a Hollywood actress & sold software for legal publishers. When Claire isn’t writing she is teaching yoga on www.yogadownload.com .
Q: Claire, would you please talk about your series and where the ideas came from for them?
A: Absolutely! My inspiration for Pacific Vista Ranch came from my days teaching private yoga in Rancho Santa Fe, California, where the series is set. Most people in the upscale community have horses. My client’s daughter-in-law works on a local horse breeding ranch, which is what got me thinking…
I visited the ranch and loved the idea of having a female horse breeding manager as a heroine––a strong, fiery woman who excels in a male dominated industry. Samantha “Sam” McNeill was born, and I created the McNeills, a Hollywood family who starts over. Sam and her two sisters lost their actress mom in a tragic accident. Their father, Chris McNeill buys a horse breeding ranch in Rancho Santa Fe and moves his daughters away from L.A. He finds love again with Angela Michaels, a widow with three sons.
Each sister has her own standalone story and so does Grant Michaels, one of the stepbrothers.
The other two stepbrothers, Ryan and Austin Michaels, launch the California Suits spin-off series. The series follows the adventures of five best friends who are opening a string of luxury boutique hotels from La Jolla to Monterey to Beverly Hills as each one finds true love…usually where he least expects it. There are elements of billionaire/workplace romance in all of them.
All my books are set in gorgeous towns in California. Romance in Laguna Beach was my debut series and features three friends who each find love in standalone contemporary romances.
Q: The bio on your website said you wrote as soon as you could pick up a pencil & paper. Who were & still are your biggest supporters of your writing goal and talent?
A:I was a bookworm from a young age and loved to write stories. I still have ones I wrote and illustrated when I was 5 and 7 years old. When I was in sixth grade, my teacher, Mrs. Bush, had a publisher set up for me to write a book based on my family’s travels. But at age 12, the pressure was too much for me. She was amazing and encouraged me to keep writing. My brother Robert is my biggest cheerleader!
Q: Out of all the genres to write in, what is it about writing contemporary romance that you enjoy so much?
A: I love romance because it’s the genre of hope. My characters all come with deep emotional wounds and the stories explore how you can overcome issues and find love with the right person. I enjoy contemporary romance because no matter how challenging world events are or how difficult life can be, there’s power in escaping into stories with happy endings set in our current world.
Q: In your opinion, what makes a great love story, especially for those who want to write romance like you do?
A: A great love story needs to make the reader dive deep into their emotions! I love stories with realistic, complex, flawed characters who each individually change and grow throughout the book with the help of the other person.. I enjoy writing about people who show one mask to the world to protect their vulnerable inner selves.
I try to create a world where the reader can slip into the character’s shoes. I see reading as an escape from the challenges of daily life. I want to be immersed in the story, so everything fades away.
Q: Does Hollywood have the rights to your work? The entertainment industry desperately needs original content again. Who would be the perfect cast to play the characters you created?
A: Okay, you’ve just called out one of my big goals! All my series would make amazing movies or limited TV series.(in my humble opinion, ha ha) The locations are lush and memorable, the characters are feisty, the banter is on point. When I wrote Nobody Else But You, Charlie Hunnam was my Holt Ericsson and Isla Fischer was Samantha “Sam” McNeill.
Hmmm, let’s see, Lucas Sutton in Beverly Hills King was inspired by Jamie in Outlander––a hot ginger!
Q: Would it be fair to say that the characters & worlds you created in your novels are loosely taken from real people and places?
A: The places are definitely real! I set my stories in real cities from Rancho Santa Fe, which is a tiny community in North San Diego County, to La Jolla, Paso Robles, Monterey, Palm Springs, Beverly Hills, and Laguna Beach.
My characters aren’t based on certain people, but I definitely use personality traits I observe in certain people as well as physical appearance, and mannerisms.
Q: While you mainly write contemporary romance you also wrote a memoir about beating breast cancer called Come Ride with Me Along The Big C. How did it feel writing about your breast cancer experience and how you beat it?
A: The memoir came first! I had breast cancer in 2010 and during that time I blogged about my experiences. Many people who followed along said it helped them understand what their loved ones were experiencing during treatment or helped them while they navigated cancer themselves. I adapted the blog entries into a memoir, and it has done well. It’s really rewarding to know I can help other people by sharing my experience. I added a “10-year later” update to share how I’m doing now.
Q: If it’s not too early to say yet, do you have any upcoming releases this year and are you currently writing a new book?
A: I do! Beverly Hills King, the final book in my California Suits series, releases on February 15th. I’m so excited for everyone to read Lucas and Brigitte’s love story as well as revisit all the other “Hotel Kings.”
I have a few other romances I’m working on––a book related to the Pacific Vista Ranch series for one. I’m also writing a standalone contemporary romance/women’s fiction book where the heroine is a young woman battling breast cancer. I’ve used a great deal of my personal experience in it. I’m also writing my first historical novel, set in 1920s Paris!
Q: How does it feel to have your books on the USA Today Bestsellers List?
A: It feels like validation! Writing for a career is not for the faint of heart! There are so many fantastic books and authors out there so standing out from the pack isn’t easy. Whenever I win an award or an accolade, it affirms that this is what I’m meant to do.
Q: What’s it like teaching yoga on www.yogadownload.com ? What made you want to teach yoga?
A: I love teaching for YogaDownload.com. They fly me to Denver annually to film @10 new classes that go up on the site throughout the year. I have 80 classes online with them currently.
I also teach international yoga retreats with them. So far, they’ve had me teach in Italy, Greece, and Scotland. This September, I’m teaching at a yoga retreat in a chateau in Burgundy, France.
I’ve been teaching yoga since 2006. When I transitioned from being a lawyer, I knew I wanted to do something that helped people feel good. I love teaching yoga and have led numerous yoga teacher trainings, taught retreats around the world, and taught local classes here in San Diego. Now, I only teach a few classes a week because I love it and it’s a great balance to writing.