Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Eclipse Lake by Mae Clair | Blog Tour with Excerpt, Author Interview, and Giveaway

The Blurb

Small towns hold the darkest secrets.

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.

Eclipse Lake by Mae Clair 
Genre: Romantic Mystery 
Publication Date: June 21, 2014
Paperback: 294 pages
ISBN-10: 1502859157
ISBN-13: 978-1502859150
eBook File Size: 453 KB
ASIN: B00L78GM60
Amazon Kindle Amazon Print Goodreads

The Excerpt

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?”

She nodded.

“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?

Interview with the Author

I have a special guest in the studio today.  

Put your hands together, y'all, for Mae Clair!

Did you have a specific inspiration for this book?
Yes, it grew from a setting I fell in love with. My sister and her husband own a house in West Central, PA. It’s tucked among the mountains in a lake resort, with a small rural town and several farming communities snuggled at the base of the mountain. One day while swimming, I saw a Park Ranger making his rounds and immediately started dreaming up various scenarios of what he might encounter. Would he come upon an animal carcass, maybe hikers who’d become lost on one of the trails, or perhaps even, a set of old bones exposed by erosion? I went with the bones. ☺ 

Do you have a favorite character in this book? If so, who and why?
Hmm, that’s kind of a tie. I love my hero, Dane Carlisle, who is a man trying to right several wrongs from his past and start over again…especially with the brother he hasn’t spoken to in fifteen years. He’s turned his life around, going from convicted criminal to successful businessman. I admire Dane. He’s got a great set of ethics, is a wonderful father to his teen son, and is good-looking to boot ☺ (It’s no wonder my heroine falls for him).
The other character I love, and who took on a life of his own as I was writing, is Dane’s teenaged son, Jesse.  Jess is highly-opinionated, outspoken, high strung, and loyal to a fault. He’s partially responsible for moving the mystery elements forward in the book. 

What is the best part of being an author?
Having others read my work. I love creating stories, but the ultimate enjoyment comes when someone tells me they’ve read one of my books and fell in love with my characters. Authors put a lot of effort into creating believable worlds—from the people who populate them, to the plots that drive them forward. It’s incredibly rewarding when someone compliments you on those efforts and leaves a good review.

When and why did you begin writing?
I wrote my first story when I was six. My parents were instrumental in encouraging a love for reading in me, and my father dabbled in writing when he was younger. They were my biggest cheerleaders throughout their lives.

Do you prefer to write books that are in a series, or stand-alone books?
So far, my releases have been stand alone, but I do have a few series planned, including one I’m extremely excited about. As a writer, I’m open to either/or depending on the amount of material I have to work with.

Can you tell us about any books you may have in the planning stage? 
The series I mentioned is in the planning stages. Well, book 1 is almost finished, but books two and three are still being fleshed out. I intend to call the series “The Point Pleasant Series” after the town in which the books are set—Point Pleasant, West Virginia. All three will be romantic suspense/mystery and will deal with unexplained phenomena recorded in the Point Pleasant area. The first is a murder mystery incorporating the legend of the Mothman (remember the movie The Mothman Prophecies with Richard Gere?) and the tragic collapse of the Silver Bridge.

What books by other authors have influenced your life?
The Wicked Pigeon Ladies in the Garden by Mary Chase was a gothic mystery I read as a kid, and it was undoubtedly the book that made me want to be a writer. I fell in love with romantic mysteries after reading The Golden Unicorn by Phyllis Whitney and Moorhaven by Daoma Winston. Another book that strongly influenced me was Something Wicked this Way Comes by Ray Bradbury. The man was a master of description!

Which writer would you consider to be a mentor?
I’ve never really worked with anyone in a mentor relationship (I have critique partners) but there are certain authors I look to because I think they have an amazing style. They know what it takes to be successful, and they continue to release quality novels: Douglas Preston, Lincoln Child, Kate Ellis, P. J. Parrish, Dan Simmons, and Cassandra Clare to name a few.

What are you currently reading?
As I type this, I’m reading the Chronicles of the Kings, a series by Lynn Austin set during the days of the Old Testament. But I average a book or more a week, so I’m sure I’ll be reading something different by the time this post appears. ☺

Do you have any hobbies other than reading?
I have a strong side interest in cryptozoology, myth, and folklore, so I’m always poking around for new information. And when I’m being good and working out, I do P90X3 and yoga. I also like to do digital scrapbooking when I have the time.

Are there any new authors who have captured your interest?
I have numerous author friends who produce wonderful novels. Most all of them are fairly new to the publishing world as I am (I’ve been at it for two years now). I hesitate to mention names because I know I’ll forget someone, but they have given me many days and nights of good reading!

If you could have a dinner party and invite four authors, living or dead, in any genre, who would you invite, and why?
Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child, my favorite writing team, so I could discuss the amazing character they created, (Aloysius Pendergast), for an ongoing series of novels; Mark Twain because I think he would be highly entertaining, and he was such a brilliant writer; and finally Charles Dickens because he was a master of literature.

What four items do you always have in your fridge or pantry?
Fridge:  Bottled water, Greek yogurt, shitake mushrooms, and shredded parmesan cheese

Pantry: Kind peanut butter cereal, rice (multiple kinds), English muffins, and Kraft grated parmesan cheese. Can you tell I like parm cheese? ☺

Is there anything else you would like my readers to know?
I have a romantic suspense novel called MYTH AND MAGIC releasing on June 9th that is already available for pre-order on Amazon. It involves ghostly and unexplained occurrences at a corporate retreat and is set during Halloween. I’m really excited about that one because of the theme.
I’d also like to say thanks for having me as your guest today. I’m delighted to be able to share my thoughts with your readers!

Thank you so much, Mae, for visiting the Jane Reads studio, and thank you to our great studio audience!  I hope you enjoyed the interview as much as I did.

The Author

About Mae Clair

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:

The Giveaway

Mae will award a $20 Amazon or B/N Gift Card to a randomly drawn winner 
via rafflecopter during the tour.

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