Claire Boston - Romance With an Accent
Claire Boston is a contemporary romance author who enjoys exploring real life issues on her way to the happily-ever-after. She writes heart-warming stories, with resilient heroines and heroes you’ll love. In 2014 she was nominated for an Australian Romance Readers Award for Favourite New Romance Author. When Claire’s not writing she can be found creating her own handmade journals, swinging on a sidecar, or in the garden attempting to grow something other than weeds. As our Author of the Day, Boston tells us all about her book, Shelter.
Please give us a short introduction to what Shelter is about.
After a house fire, Zamira discovers her cousin is being held captive in a small town in Western Australia. Desperate to save her, Zamira travels to Blackbridge and sweet talks the sexy fireman who rescued her cousin, hoping to find out exactly where she is. But Zamira stumbles on an illegal migrant ring and is soon involved way too deeply and must trust Jeremy in order to save her cousin and her own life.
What inspired you to write this book?
When I finished writing The Blackbridge Series, I realised there were far more people in town I wanted to get to know. Volunteer firefighter Jeremy was one of those men. I did some research about crime in WA and discovered a syndicate who were taking in migrants and treating them like slaves. I was stunned and the more I read, the more I knew I wanted to write about it.
Tell us more about Zamira. What makes her tick?
Zamira wants to make a difference in the world but she feels stifled by her job at Border Force, writing policies. She wants to be out in the field, helping other migrants but also feels the pressure from her family to keep her head down and do things by the book. She feels responsible for her cousin coming to Australia, responsible for her disappearance and so when she gets a lead on where her cousin is, she has to act on it.
What makes Zamira and Jeremy such a great team?
Jeremy is trying to atone for his father’s death by helping others in need and Zamira fits that desire. But as they get to know each other and are forced together for safety, Jeremy lets his guards drop and Zamira soothes the raw edges his been hiding for years. Jeremy challenges Zamira and respects her abilities so she grows in confidence. They both heal each other’s wounds.
Why did you pick a small town in Australia as the backdrop for your story?
Because I live in Australia and I’ve been desperate to write about home. My first two series were dictated by what my publisher wanted, which was books set in the US, so when I finished those I decided I was going to write about what I know and love. Blackbridge is a made up town but based on the town of Denmark in Western Australia and it’s only about five hours drive from where I live. It’s easy to pop down and be inspired and the people there have been lovely about answering my research questions.
Besides writing, what other secret skills do you have?
I’m not sure if they’re secret. I taught myself to knit and crochet recently because I felt like that was a skill I should learn. I also like to bind my own journals because I can make them exactly how I want them. Oh, and for a while I rode vintage motocross and was a sidecar passenger for my husband.
How were you able to incorporate your personality into books like Shelter?
I’m not sure! I just write and hope my characters come through.
This is the first book in a series. Can it be read as a standalone? How do the other books in the series tie in with this one?
Shelter can definitely be read as a standalone. I try to make sure each of my books have a satisfying ending and can be read without reading the others. In saying that, there are some minor threads that aren’t tied up in Shelter, which are resolved in later books. For my romantic suspense series, there’s an overarching bad guy plot and each book moves towards the resolution of that, but the antagonist in each story is defeated at the end of each book. The First Response series follows the Blackbridge series and Jeremy makes an appearance in a few of those books. The following books in the First Response series will build on the events in Shelter, when people begin to realise perhaps there are other people pulling strings in town.
Is there something that compels you to write? And do you find that writing helps you achieve a clarity about yourself or ideas you've been struggling with?
I have so many stories in my head, and I just want to get them out. I love the whole process of writing, of discovering what makes characters tick and figuring out how to get them into and out of sticky situations. Sometimes it can be cathartic particularly when I can create situations that I’ve been in and then get to say all the things that I wanted to say at the time and couldn’t. I also like to explore different places, cultures, jobs and situations.
Is there an underlying message you wish to relay about basic human nature through your characters?
I don’t consciously create an underlying message in my stories, but when I look back through my work, I realise that they often have a theme of community, family and support.
Do any of your characters take off on their own tangent and refuse to do what you had planned for them?
All the time and I love it! It makes writing so much more fun when you don’t know what’s going to happen next. For example when I first started The Blackbridge Series I had plotted the four books including who was going to fall in love with each other. Then in book 1, Nothing to Fear, Kit (the heroine in book 4) walks into the police station and I realised I’d got her hero all wrong. She was supposed to fall in love with Jamie (whose book will be out at the end of the year), but instead she was in love with his older brother.
Do you have any interesting writing habits? What is an average writing day like for you?
I’m quite disciplined when I’m writing. I’ll generally start a first draft while I’m editing another book, just writing for an hour a day on the shiny new project, while finishing the current project. I’m at my desk by 8am and finish around 5pm, though I am trying to change it up a bit and write from cafes or libraries instead to give me a change of scenery. This gets me out of my tracksuit and into some nicer clothes! My most productive writing time is the morning, so I try to get all the writing and editing done by midday and then I’ll work on marketing, or business in the afternoon. I might also take an hour off to go to the gym which revitalises me for the rest of the day.
What are you working on right now?
I’m working on Shield, Book 2 in the First Response series. It’s Jamie’s story who also appears in Shelter.
Where can our readers discover more of your work or interact with you?
You can find me online at www.claireboston.com or on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/clairebostonauthor or Twitter @clairebauthor. I also have a reader group https://www.claireboston.com/reader-group/ and people who sign up get a couple of free books.