"A Candle Loses Nothing By Lighting Another Candle" - Father James Keller

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


Kiki: What is your favorite genre to read in, and what is it about that genre that attracts you to it? If you like a specific mix of genres, please state that particular combination.

Clare: I am very eclectic when it comes to my reading choices. I like narrative non-fiction, adventure type stories. I went through a period when I read everything I could find about climbs of Mt. Everest for example. In fiction, I read a broad variety of books from historicals about Ireland by Frank Delany to the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon. I also like mysteries...Ken Follett, Erin Harte, Rory McCormac.

As a writer, it is very important to me to read outside the genre in which I write.   I have read a number romance novels over the years and if one is recommended and I find the author particularly gripping, I get hooked and read everything that author has to offer.
I avoid “self help” books like the plague and I got my consciousness raised years ago, so those types of books are not on my shelf at present.

Kiki: What is your favorite author to read in that genre, and why? Also, please tell me a little about the best book by that author you have read.

Clare: I read everything I can find from Maeve Binchy. Though one would not categorize her books as romance, they are about relationships…and that’s what romance really is after all.  I’ve read Evening Class several times and have just re-read Tara Road. Her character development is complex and I learn much from the way she weaves her plots.

Kiki: Do you have a Favorite Book of All Time? Of course, please tell us what about that book makes it your favorite.

Clare: This is a difficult question. I can’t pick one because I read so many different types of books. However, as far as romance goes, my favorite has got to be Shanna by Kathleen Woodiwiss. It was the first romance I ever read and until that point I had no idea anyone wrote anything like that. I was mesmerized!

Kiki: What is the best book you read last month, and would you recommend it to a friend?

Clare: While I was in Ireland this summer I read The Woman on the Bus by Pauline McLynn. I loved it and definitely recommend it. Her writing is quirky and the characters wonderful. It has a romance in it, but is otherwise hard to categorize.

Kiki: What are your reading habits like? For example, how many books do you read on average in a week, what format do you prefer to read in, what time of day do you read, and what setting is ideal for you to get lost in that book?

Clare: I have several audible books on my IPod at present and I flip around through them depending on the amount of attention they require. If I’m particularly alert I listen to a bit of The Elegant Universe by Brian Greene…but this isn’t light reading, so if I’m tired or just want to relax I turn to something by Evanovitch, Gabaldon or maybe some Nora Roberts.
Most evenings my man and I read together…he does most of the reading and I listen until I fall asleep!

So far I have not read an e-book. I’m behind the curve when it comes to technology, I guess. I have thought about getting a Kindle or Nook, but I really like audible books and have a huge library of titles.

Kiki: If pressed, could you choose a favorite from the books you have written? Why is it your favorite?

Clare: Beyond any question my favorite is Butterfly. It was a blast to write, funny as well as poignant, and I love the characters. Flannery was so much fun to hang out with and she virtually wrote the book for me. It was my first sale but not my first book. Butterfly started out as just an exercise for a new critique group I was meeting with. I was supposed to take ten pages and Butterfly happened…just like magic!

Kiki: How do you become inspired to write?

Clare: I have a vivid fantasy world in my head. It might have come from being a solitary child. I was neurotically shy, didn’t speak to people and spent a great deal of time with my dogs and horse. I remember telling my four legged friends stories and singing songs and rhymes that would pop into my head. As soon as I learned to read, I read constantly. I was one of those kids who read with a flashlight under the covers when I was supposed to be asleep! When I was eight years old, I wrote a short story and sent it to a publisher…I think it was Doubleday…and got a rejection but encouragement to keep writing.

Kiki: What part of the story do you think is your strength to write?

Clare: I am good at beginnings and endings. The middle is the hard part.

Kiki: Please share with ABA readers something I did not think to ask you about.

Clare: My latest release is Hot Flash. It was the third book I wrote, but not my first sale. I thought it would fit a niche in the market aimed at mature women.
 Heroines are supposed to be young and pretty, successful and strong. My heroine in Hot Flash is fifty, divorced, facing menopause and an empty nest.  It is a tender love story about adults starting over, but it also touches on the complexities of blending families and cultures. This book should make you laugh, cry and feel good about yourself and your own journey in life.

I think author Deb Stover summed it up beautifully when she wrote…"Sexy but sensitive, powerful but poignant--HOT FLASH is not your daughter's romance! This is a story for real women.  Savor every word!"

Clare Austin
Romance with a touch of the Irish

From the back cover of Hot Flash:
Kate Aiello has spent her entire life trying to please others—her three brothers, her Italian mamma and her husband of twenty-five years. Now, she is turning fifty, facing divorce, and not coping well with her body’s unexpected thermostatic aberrations. The plane truth hits her with each hot flash—she has never been first in anyone’s life, including her own.
 Brandon Sullivan is a man desperate to save himself from impending financial ruin. He is grieving the death of his wife and in jeopardy of losing his horse farm. The promises he made to his wife on her death bed not only bound him to succeed at the sport they both loved: she made him vow to allow himself the possibility of falling in love again.
Sparks fly when Italian attitude meets Irish temper. Add two big crazy families, a barn full of horses and one woman’s menopausal hot flashes and the probability for combustion increases exponentially.
What will Kate and Brandon risk for a second chance at love?
Excerpt   Hot Flash

From her high refuge she heard the chains that raised the gates, opening the fortress of her protection, the stronghold that guarded her heart. Spurs scraping metal on stone as he took the stairs to reach her, rang out with his fierce intention. She knew he would not, could not waste a minute more to hold her, bury his need in her until they both cried out in their joining. The scents of leather, sweat and musky male melted her bones and she leaned into him to keep from falling. Sapphire flames searched her face. Long fingers traced the line of her jaw and traveled to her neck where her pulse beat in counterpoint to her panting breaths. “It has been too long Muirnín.” His whisper settled like a butterfly’s wing on her ear. “I want you now, Katie...”

“Katie… wake up sleepin’ beauty, it’s supper time.”

Brandon sat on the bed and brushed her hair out of her face. “I’m sorry, I meant to wake you sooner.”

“Oh…oh dear… I was having this dream.” My God, what a dream. “I thought I was in that castle.” She pointed out the window at the medieval fortress that was now a silhouette in the evening sky. “And, you were there.” How much am I going to tell him?

“Well, it was...amazing.”

“It’s called Dungaire.” His fingers combed through her mass of curls. “Do you know you have such beautiful hair? It reminds me of a lioness—like you—wild and unruly.”

She smacked his hand away, dropping the quilt and exposing the rise of her breasts.

Brandon, I’m not dressed.”

He traced the line of her collarbone with one finger. “You might have forgotten, but I’ve seen you in less than this.”
Autographed copies of all my books are available through my website or by contacting me at authorclare@gmail.com

Thank you for having me on your blog today.


  1. Oh thanks for this interview, it was lovely!

  2. I Just read your interview. I am 47 and I really have to go pick up this book. I like it when the heroine isn't always a 20 something perky perfect woman. This sounds like a must to put on my TBR list. Thanks for the great inteview.

  3. I like that the heroine is a mature woman and I like that title.

  4. I'm feeling very technologically challanged today...having trouble making my comments "stick."
    Thank you all for coming to this blog and reading a little about Hot Flash and commenting. I really do hope you enjoy my book. For me, it is a tribute to women of every age. It is good to know that with a few years behind us we are smarter, wiser and more beautiful.

    Clare Austin


In accordance with the new FTC Guidelines for blogging and endorsements, Kiki Howell of An Author's Musings, would like to advise that in addition to purchasing my own books to review, I also receive books, and/or promotional materials, free of charge in return for an honest review, as do any guest reviewers.