Thursday, May 1, 2014

Author Interview: Before the Storm by Claire Ashgrove

Before the Storm
The Windwalker Series
Book 1
by Claire Ashgrove

Urban Fantasy / New Adult

About the Book:
Halle Rhoads knows she is different. She's killed with the will of her mind and the strength of a cataclysmic storm, and she's been hiding from her terrifying power, living under the guise she perished in that same natural disaster. Yet when she risks discovery to protect her sister, she's thwarted by a handsome, meddling stranger who claims he can teach her how to control her magical gift. Wanting nothing more, Halle agrees and is thrust into a magical world full of dark realities.
As she struggles to master her power, she stumbles onto a dangerous truth. She's a windwalker, the chosen vessel of the ancient dragons' who once ruled the world. There are many who would stop at nothing to possess the power in her blood, should they discover her secret. With necromancers hunting her and Halle's closest allies guarding secrets--including her enticing tutor--mastering her magic becomes a matter of necessity.
But embracing her destiny is altogether different. For in so doing, she must embark on a journey that will lead to magical warfare, isolation, and inevitably, death.
With necromancers hunting her, elusive shadow-walkers stalking her, and her only allies conspiring against her, she's forced into a destiny that family, friendship, and even love, cannot alter.

PRFL would like to extend a very warm welcome to Claire Ashgrove, author of Before the Storm: 

Morning, Readers!  Thanks so much for letting me pop in and talk about my new Urban Fantasy, Before the Storm.  My assistant asked me a question, and it brought me to today’s topic about the heroine, Halle.

Ten Things Halle Rhoads Would Be Doing If…

  1. If she wasn’t amid a war, she would be trying to kill her uncle.   (Oh wait.  She is.) 
  1. If she wasn’t so busy training with Kale—in a multitude of ways—she’d spend her evenings serving drinks at The Frost Club.  But truth be told, she’s never made much in tips.  (Gee.  I wonder why.) 
  1. If she didn’t have a sister, she would be lounging in the sun at Miami Beach and hoping to see a dolphin. 
  1. If she had access to a gun, she’d be planning to kill her uncle.  (Only to be frustrated when bullets don’t harm him.) 
  1. If she could control the lightning, she would be tracking child molesters and strategically taking them out. 
  1. If she wasn’t preoccupied with her unwanted duck, she’d be finding new menus with tolerable food for the camarilla. 
  1. If the city of Applegate didn’t think she was dead, she would be living in an apartment, not an abandoned warehouse, and helping her younger sister get through high school. 
  1. If she owned a car, she would be plotting how it could aid her getaway…after she killed her uncle. (Notice a pattern?) 
  1. If she came into a million dollars, she would relocate Kale’s stepmother halfway around the world…preferably locked in a remote stone tower. 
  1. If she had never encountered Kale, she would be discovering she cannot change her destiny.
Thank you so much for joining us today, Claire. We really enjoyed the visit. Good luck and great sales with Before the Storm. 

“Go ahead. Do it again,” he challenged. “If this is what it takes to get you to embrace who you are, then throw your best one at me, Halle.” 
The surprise I’d felt seconds ago disappeared with his taunt. Indignation heated my cheeks. Where did he get off? It wasn’t like I was denying I had power all this time. I couldn’t control it. Still couldn’t. If I had any idea how, he’d be flat on his back immobile so I could get past him and unable to speak further. 
Again, energy arced through my body. This time, the feeling was more natural. I opened my mind, allowing it freedom, and when it broke through my surface, I remained standing steadfast. 
My hair curled around my face as a gust of wind filled the cavernous hallway. But before it could reach its mark, Kale braced one foot, uttered something I couldn’t hear over the roar, and once more, my magic dissipated. His clothing fluttered as if he’d stepped outside in no more than a gentle breeze. 
“Screw you!” I blurted and strode forward, intent on shoving around him. “You’re not going to stop me. I’m going to find her!” 
To my surprise, he stepped sideways and let me pass. 
Quietly, his voice rang out behind me, a note of warning in his steely tone. “What are you going to do then?” 
I kept walking, scanning the long hall for an off-shooting tunnel that carried the whisper of the outdoors. There was one here somewhere. We’d come in it earlier this week. It took double the time than the way I’d been going, but it was away from lying, secret-keeping, Kale. 
“What are you going to do, Halle, when she tries to kill you?” 
At that, I laughed. “She won’t kill me. She’s my mother.” 
I snorted, not bothering to slow my pace. But though I’d never let him know his words got to me, a chill stole down my spine. That unease was tempered by the dark recess that caught my attention and marked the exit I’d been seeking. I headed directly for it. 
“What are you going to do when your uncle tries this?” 
As I took another step into the mouth of the adjoining corridor, anticipating leaving Kale’s taunts behind, I ran nose-first into something hard and unmoving. It repelled my like a bird flying into a clean windowpane, and I stumbled several steps backward, only to crash on my ass. I rubbed my smarting nose and stared at an invisible barrier, the dark depths of the dimly lit hallway as clear as they had been moments ago. 
“What the hell?” Scrambling to my feet, I shot him a baleful glare. “Just leave me alone!” 
“What are you going to do with this, Halle?” 
Before the echo of his voice died away, the entire corridor went black. Not the sort of dim light that comes with nightfall. But the absolute nothingness of being trapped underground in the belly of a cave. No shadows, no hints of another presence. I lifted my hand, touched the tip of my nose, and still couldn’t see my fingers. Not even the faint outline. 
In the next moment, the oppressive, sickeningly-sweet smell of decay permeated the air. It flooded my nose, made breathing next to impossible. My throat closed, gag reflex kicking in. With that came the churning of my stomach and something more—paralyzing fear. Voices whispered through the darkness, ghostly and full of menace. I didn’t know if they were real or products of my panicking mind. But the cold feel of perspiration spread over my skin, and the overwhelming urge to run possessed me.

About the Author:
Building on a background of fantasy game design, a fascination with history, and a lifetime love of books, award-winning author Claire Ashgrove brings to life action-filled, passionate journeys of the heart. Her paranormal series, The Curse of the Templars, marries the history of the Knights Templar with the chilling aspirations of the most unholy--a must-read for speculative fiction fans. She also writes as the National Bestselling Author Tori St. Claire and historical romance author Sophia Garrett. 
In her non-writing time, she’s runs Finish The Story, a full-scale editing house co-founded with Bryan Thomas Schmidt. She lives in Missouri and enjoys cooking, studying ancient civilizations, and spending downtime with her two sons and too-many horses, cats, and dogs.

As part of Before the Storm’s release celebration, Claire’s sponsoring a giveaway of a $15.00 Amazon or Barnes and Noble Gift Certificate. All you have to do is enter the Rafflecopter below. In addition, she will have several other opportunities over the next two weeks to win more prizes. To see complete tour dates, and the other release-week events, check out the Before The Storm Tour Schedule!
a Rafflecopter giveaway