Interview and Giveaway with Tori St. Claire!

Maidens, if you haven’t read Tori St. Claire, you don’t know what you’re missing out on!  Her books are full of suspense, lots of bad guys, plot driven and oh-so-sexy!  Please help us welcome her to UTC today!

Your books have the perfect blend of eroticism with a great suspenseful story. How did you come up with the idea of writing about the Black Opals and the Russian human trafficking mob? 

Thank you! I think there’s a few influences on how the idea came to be. First, I’m a product of early James Bond. My father and I would watch his movies over and over, so that’s stayed with me. Second, I have always had an infatuation with the names “Natalya” and “Alexei”. To use them I had to come up with something Russian. It kind of fit. And I knew that I wanted to work with human trafficking because it was (and is) an issue in today’s world, but I don’t like to “preach” as an author. So I chose a different aspect and dug through the various Moscovian mafias / brotherhoods to discover which one actually has ties to trafficking and arms. My first spy (Natalya from Stripped) needed to work for someone, and in a way that would allow her to walk the line she does, which led to the covert group, the Black Opals. Developing the rest of the Opals has been amazingly fun!

What kind of research did you have to do to write the series? 

The base research was pretty simplistic: What groups in Russia have these ties, where are those ties, and a basic understanding of how trafficking works, with what a source country is and what a destination country is, plus which countries are categorized as what. Russia is, traditionally, a source country. The USA is, traditionally, a destination country. But to make it more workable with the USA being a source country, I had to take a little creative liberty and look at what other countries might want American women. Generally, the countries that are destination countries don’t subscribe to finding American women … appealing. We’re too… liberated. Often too Christian. So that led me to Dubai, where weath dominates, and Western Culture is more embraced. Then, the majority of my research related to specifics for each story. For instance, in Lie To Me getting Alexei and Sasha out of Dubai and where I needed them, within the time frame, required research with folks that knew planes and knew the terrain, and knew where jets/birds/planes could, or could not land without immediately causing issues. Initially I had a helicopter, until I realized a helicopter can’t carry the gas required to get them out of the Arabic countries. Laugh! Then I called in the big guns — pilots, and former service men who would likely be flying out “on a dime”.

Do you have a favorite scene you’ve written in the series? 

So far, my very favorite scene is the arguement between Sasha and Alexei, in Lie to Me, that leads to a very emotional bonding. His worry for her, his anger at himself, and the gentle way she accepts him, just really warms my heart.

I love the warnings that Samhain books have in their blurbs. If you had to write a warning like that for your series, what would you say?

Um… I’d say that’s my publicist’s job. LOL!

Let’s see… Warning, this book contains explicit sex, graphic language, a heroine with a deadly past and a damaged hero with a tender side to die for.

That’s as good as a it gets — sorry gals 🙂

If you only had twenty dollars in your purse,what would you buy? 

Sale shoes.

You write some steamy sex scenes! Do you ever find yourself looking over your shoulder as you write one out because you know it’s “too sexy”? Have you ever had to cut down or remove certain parts of a love scene? If so, can we read the original? 

Well, I will take that as a compliment! Thank you again. No, I don’t find myself looking over my shoulder. Probably because I write when the house is totally asleep, and my ghosts don’t mind. In fact, they get a kick out of it, or so I’ve been told. I’ve never cut anything out of a sex scene. With this series, pretty much anything goes. With my other books (Non-erotic), they naturally tame themselves.

Were there any particular writers that influenced your craft or your desire to be a writer?

Steve Berry, Meredith Duran, Karin Harlow, Shayla Black and Jaci Burton to name a few. Johanna Lindsey got me started on this writing thing when I was 13. Blame her.

How do you get yourself in the mood to write? 

I’m usually always in the mood, but waiting on my environment to cooperate. When the demidemons go to bed, I grab a fresh cup of warmed-over coffee, let the dogs out for the last time, piddle myself, and then sit down and let whatever has built in my head throughout the day reign.

What’s your favorite drink recipe?

My favorite drink… Godiva white chocolate liquor in Folger’s Creme Brulee coffee. My second favorite drink is a spicy bloody mary. If I knew how to make one, I’d drink more and that would be my first favorite! So if you have any good recipes, do share!

Thank you so much!! 

Thank you very much for having me! It’s always so fun over here!

EXCERPT

Sasha rolled over, propped her head up on one elbow. “Who do you work for, Alexei?”

 That was certainly the last question he’d ever prepared for. Chancing a glance at her upturned face, he debated how to answer. She’d told him she worked for FSB; she undoubtedly knew he was an American agent—virtually all of Dubai knew. But tell her about the Opals? Let her in?

What the hell. They’d already named themselves in front of her. She knew their director’s name. He stared at the television as he answered, “A special division within the CIA known as the Black Opals. We’re the ones they send when it’s real dicey and they need to delete someone with the press of a button.”

 “Delete?”

More quietly he added, “We don’t exist.”

He crossed opposite ankles and folded his hands behind his head, leaning back against the headboard. Waiting for her to make the association between his vague explanation and the truth of his work. When she did, shock would stop her questions.

Instead, Sasha’s palm fitted over his belly, gentle sweeping motions that rumpled the fabric of his shirt and offered more comfort than Alexei had known could exist. “Isn’t that . . . difficult?” she asked softly.

“Difficult? The missions are never ea—”

 “No. Not existing.” That delightful little palm slid higher, caressing the lower part of his chest. “I mean, don’t you ever crave life? The simple things like owning a house and paying someone to rake your leaves.” The heel of her palm worked into his tense muscles. “Like sleeping in on a Saturday and having breakfast in bed.”

More than she could understand. He tensed. She was getting too close, treading too far into murky waters he didn’t want to disturb.

 Dropping to an almost inaudible whisper, her voice washed over his body. “Have you ever been in love, Alexei?”

Danger. Combustion imminent. Alexei covered the sudden trip of his heart with a harsh chuckle. “Love’s not an option in my line of work, princess.”

She was silent for a blissful moment, leaving him with the conclusion he’d scared her off. As luck would have things, however, when she did speak, she didn’t traipse around uncomfortable, she plunged in headfirst. “You only call me princess when I’ve hit a nerve. So tell me, Agent Nikanova, are you afraid of the fall, or afraid of the loss?”

AUTHOR INFO

National Bestselling author Tori St. Claire grew up writing. Hobby quickly turned into passion, and when she discovered the world of romance as a teen, poems and short stories gave way to full length novels with sexy heroes and heroines waiting to be swept off their feet. She wrote her first romance novel at seventeen. While that manuscript gathered dust-bunnies beneath the bed, she went on to establish herself as a contemporary, historical, and paranormal author under the pen name, Claire Ashgrove. Her writing, however, skirted a fine line between hot and steamy, and motivated by authors she admired, she pushed her boundaries and made the leap into erotica, using the darker side of human nature and on-the-edge suspense to drive grittier, sexier, stories. Her erotic romantic suspense novels are searingly sensual experiences that unite passion with true emotion, and the all-consuming tie that binds — love.

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Complete Tour Listings:

July 1Musings From An Addicted Reader
              Daydreaming
July 2Reading Between The Wines
July 3Under the Covers
July 4Red Hot Books
July 5Riverina Romantics
July 6The Book Nympho
July 9AsianCocoa’s Secret Garden
July 10Love to Read for Fun
July 11Bitten by Paranormal Romance
               Denise Grover Swank
July 12Seductive Musings
July 13Cocktails and Books
               Night Owl Book Reviews
July 16Happily Ever After Reads
July 17Romantic Crush Junkies
July 18Page Flipperz
July 19Novel Reflections
July 20Immortality and Beyond
July 23Ramblings From This Chick
July 24Roni Loren
July 25The Delighted Reader
               The Jeep Diva

A man of action…

After helping to break up a Russian human trafficking ring as part of the CIA’s elite Black Opal team, Alexei Nikanova’s newest assignment is to rescue one of the stolen women and return her to her father. When he arrives in Dubai, he discovers his target is Sasha Zablosky—a woman he knows all too well, and who has haunted him ever since their unforgettable time together in Moscow, two and a half years earlier. But he finds Sasha reluctant to leave her sheikh, the only true friend she’s ever known. Only Alexei can’t give her a choice.

A woman of deception…

 With their yearning roused by intrigue, Alexei and Sasha can no longer resist temptation, and spend night after night in forbidden pleasure. Soon Alexei finds himself falling for her, even as he battles a shadowy menace to protect her. But Sasha is no innocent. She has a past darker than she could ever admit, one that Alexei could never forgive. And it is about to explode into her life once more. As the lies they tell themselves—and each other—pull them deeper into a perilous desire, what began as simple passion becomes a love certain to destroy them and end the lives of countless innocents. 

Ms. Claire is graciously giving away a copy of LIE TO ME. 

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50 Comments

  1. Oh WOW! So I had not heard of Tori St Clare before and after reading this interview I immediate became a google whore and found her website I have purchased the first book and can’t wait to dive into this series, thanks so much
    jen B.

  2. if i only got 20 in my purse.. it’ll depends on where was i at that moment. but i definitely be spending it on sale items :))

  3. Hi gals! I hope you enjoy Lie to Me. Tell you the truth, I personally like it more than Stripped.

    Sienny, that was sort of my thought too; depends on where I am. I went with the default weakness. I’m a shoe whore.

  4. Hi gals! I hope you enjoy Lie to Me. Tell you the truth, I personally like it more than Stripped.

    Sienny, that was sort of my thought too; depends on where I am. I went with the default weakness. I’m a shoe whore.

  5. Love this interview…learned things I didn’t know about you. Had no idea you were a shoe whore. 🙂 I also LOVE this series. You are a fantastic writer and I couldn’t be happier for you.

  6. Thanks for a fun interview! It’s always cool to “meet” authors. I’ve read such awesome, awesome reviews for this series. It’s on the top of my wishlist 🙂

  7. I can’t wait to read LIE TO ME, it sounds like another great book. I love a great story with suspense and sexiness. THanks so much for the great interview & excerpt.

  8. Love the interview and the excerpt, =) i´d love to read this book! Need to read Stripped, first, though =)

    best wishes, Linda xo

  9. What have I been missing!!!!!!! Thank you Under The Cover peeps for the great review! I am sold.
    minadecaro at hotmail dot com

  10. What have I been missing!!!!!!! Thank you Under The Cover peeps for the great review! I am sold.
    minadecaro at hotmail dot com

  11. Enjoyed the interview, Tori. Shoe whore? Hmm, so are you like the Imelda Marcos of romance writers?

    Having read 3 of her other books, I am well aware of Ms. St. Claire’s wonderful writing ability. Glad to see her getting a broader audience.

    I wish you much success with Stripped and Lie To Me.

  12. Great interview! I love putting liquor into my coffee:)
    I haven’t read any books by Ms. St. Clair but it sounds as if I need to add this series to my list ASAP. Thanks for the giveaway

  13. Great interview! The interviews are my favorite part of a blog tour. After reading the review and then this excerpt makes me want this book ASAP. I don’t read out of order so I’ll need the first book first. Thanks so much for the post today. You’ve opened my eyes to an author I’ve seen before but didn’t know much about. 🙂

  14. Hi Tori!
    CONGRATS on the latest! I can’t wait to start reading this series and I see that already Lie to Me is getting some great reviews. I love the premise on both stories and I don’t believe that I’ve come across another story that deals with the ugliness of human trafficking. Thanks for the giveaway & best wishes on the rest of your tour!!!

  15. Alicia — Thank you. That’s so sweet of you 🙂

    Erin — I do hope the wish comes true and that you enjoy the read!

    Harlie — LOL! Separated at birth, perhaps?

  16. June, you’re most welcome.

    Linda, if you’re like me, I have to read in order because I’m retentive that way. But as far as the series goes, you don’t need to read in order.

  17. Derekd! Thanks for stopping by and for the praise. And no… not quite Imelda… but close!

    Maria — Yes, yes add it! LOL, teasing. But do send over coffee recipes if you have some. I’d love to hear more.

    Taryn, thanks! She asked some really great questions. Just FYI, the series doesn’t require reading in order. They are all stand alone.

  18. Sophia Rose, they can’t be full demons because occasionally they are angels. What can I say.

    Lindy, Heather, Yadkny, and DiDi – thank you, so much!

    Kassandra, good to see you again here. Hope to see you tomorrow too!

    Mel and Timitra, I sincerely hope you enjoy it if you pick it up!

  19. The book looks great and I would love a copy. It looks sexy and fun. What an amazing interview. Thanks for the oppurtunity. sdylion(at)gmail(dot)com

  20. This book sounds so intriguing. I love the James Bond series, too. I know that I’m going to love this book. I love reading books that keep me on my toes as I turn the pages.

  21. I just love these interviews and giveaways so thanks ladies!

    BTW – Spicy Bloody Mary
    start with QUALITY ingredients – that is key –
    Vodka and Tomato Juice in a 1:2 ratio.
    V8 juice works great too.

    Add spice flavorings to taste using your preferences. Your choices are: Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco sauce, horseradish, black pepper, cayenne pepper, lime or lemon juice, and celery salt. I like fresh cracked black pepper and coriander with equal amounts lime juice, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco sauce, and horseradish.

    Garnish with any: Celery Stalk, Pimento stuffed Green Olives, Fresh Italian Parsley sprigs, Bela di Cerignola Olives (black or green), lime wedges, coarse salt (for the rim of your glass), spicy pickled asparagus or green beans are great too.

    -lavendersbluegreen(at)yahoo(dot)com

  22. Thanks for the interview, never read Tori St Clare’s book before (and not intrigued when see the cover) but I look forward to read it =)

  23. Great interview to read Tori! It’s always nice for readers to get insights on authors’ thoughts and it’s always nice to get a little personal with authors. Thanks for the interview & for the giveaway!

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