Hello and Welcome!
Today I’m happy to introduce Sharon Clare author of Trick Me Once. Sharon thank you for visiting Angel’s Guilty Pleasures and speaking with me today.
First, thank you kindly for hosting me here today.
How did you choose the genre you write in?
The first book I wrote (still unpublished) was a historical romance set in 1724 New France. Although I love that story and learned a lot about Canadian history and native relations, so much of the story needed to be researched. When I finished that book, I wanted to write something lighter and more imaginative.
I’ve always been fascinated by paranormal things. I’ve had some odd experiences in my life, enough that at times I wondered if there was something going on just beyond my perception, things I got glimpses of now and then. Some of these moments inspired the Magical Matchmaker series.
What do you do when you are not writing?
My favorite thing to do is get outside in nature. I live by Lake Ontario, so I head there whenever I can. I also have a pretty active social life with family and friends and I love to travel.
A couple decades ago, I fell in love with Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series. The love story between Jamie and Claire had me hooked. I thought it would be pretty nice to have my own fantasy love story in my head.
Karen Marie Moning is another author whose Highlander books I devoured. I liked the way she paired contemporary women with strong alpha males who were magically gifted. I would call this series light paranormal, similar to my own style of writing.
What are some books you have enjoyed recently?
I just finished Elizabeth Berg’s The Last Time I Saw You. The book made me laugh out loud. I enjoyed All The Light We Cannot See by Anothy Doerr. I also loved Anita Moorjani’s, Dying to be Me. It’s a non-fiction story, but the message is just beautiful. You’re reminding me I need to make more time for reading!
Which character in your books are you most similar to and why?
In the Magical Matchmaker Series, the hero Aiden is more like me in that he tends to reflect on his life experience. He’s also an artist and while I’ve done some painting over the years, mostly folk art, he’s a true master. I can only aspire.
Trick Me Once
Magical Matchmaker #3
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Date of Publication: December 28, 2016
Magic pushes them together. Reality pulls them apart.
Humiliated radio show host Jessica Stirling is a survivor, yet nothing prepares her for the stage trick that transports her across the country to a man suspiciously like the nineteenth-century folk hero idolized by Hollywood. About to lose her job, her life savings, and the home that matters to her more than love, she can’t stay stranded in the mountains with a dangerously appealing man who believes in elves.
Trapped in an Elvin world for a century, Scottish artist Aiden MacAuley is finally free and back on Earth. But he’s not home. He’s not safe. And he’s not alone. To prevent the destruction of his bloodline, he must get back to Scotland immediately. He can’t be distracted by the exasperating woman sent to him by a match-making elf, even if she does stir his lust like no woman has.
When she tries to heal the sins of his past, he can’t open his heart. There’s too much to lose and as the new guardian of the gate between the human and Elvin worlds, he isn’t free to fall in love.
Would you tell us a little about the Magical Matchmaker series?
The series is light, paranormal romance with a little magic, humor and suspense. Each book in the series stands alone. Finn is the thread that ties the books together. He is an elf (think tall like in Rivendell), but much like a trickster, from a world just a wee bit off Earth who plays games with humans while pairing them in love matches. He believes every time human love is experienced, powerful energy is released.
How did you come up with the concept and the characters for Trick Me Once?
One day I watched Dave, my cat, drinking from the pond in my garden. The goldfish seemed fascinated by this intrusion into their world, but there was no way they understood Dave was a cat on planet Earth just inches from their world. The fish made me wonder about perception. A story idea started to percolate that became the premise for the series. What if there was another world just one step away that we don’t perceive?
In Trick Me Once, Aiden MacAuley returns to Earth after being trapped in Alfheim, an Elvin world, for over a century. The gateway between Earth and Alfheim is guarded by the MacAuley clan, and like the fish in the pond, Alfheim is only a step away. Unfortunately, it was a step Aiden couldn’t take until the story begins.
I wanted to pair Aiden (born in the nineteen hundreds) with a contemporary woman who would never believe in elves. I also wanted to write a heroine who’s different from me in that she has no love of the natural world. Give her the city, thank you very much. It was fun to strand her in the mountains with a man from another century.
What was your favorite scene to write in Trick Me Once and why?
My favorite part was writing the magic trick scene where Finn sends the heroine across the country to a mountain top and into the hero’s bed. She thought she was already having a bad day, but now she believes she’s losing her mind. It was great fun to show her trying to rationalize the craziness.
If you could have given your characters any piece of advice before the opening pages of their book, what would it be and why?
I would tell Jessica to take a deep breath and trust that as the author of this story, I have her back. Even though she’s terrified as she loses everything that matters to her, this is the only way for her to make the necessary changes to be truly happy. I’d tell her to let go of her relentless strategizing and trust that all will be well.
Wow, as I answered that question, I realized a similar thing happened to me last year. It’s terrifying to make drastic changes, but on the other side, there is happiness and maybe even love. My new mantra is to believe that what’s coming next in my life is better than I can imagine.
If you could spend a day with one of your characters from Trick Me Once, who would it be and what would you do?
I would love to spend a day with Aiden. Even though he’s terribly hard on himself, his life experience has given him a wonderfully unique perspective and new values. I’d love to learn about his life in Scotland before he was trapped in the exotic Alfheim and about the Alfarian elves, their king and the princess. It would be fun to help him navigate his life in this new time.
Last, what is next for you?
Thank you for asking. While I do have an idea for the next book in The Magical Matchmaker Series, my next release will be book 1 in a new contemporary series. Race of Hearts could be described as The Dating Game meets The Amazing Race. In a small town, Adair and Josh compete against other randomly matched couples in challenges geared to spark romance. All would be fun and games if someone weren’t manipulating the challenges to drudge up the secret Adair held for thirteen years, a secret that nearly destroyed Josh life.
Look for Race of Hearts in late winter.
Sharon, it was a pleasure having you visit. Thank you for taking the time to chat with me today!
Thanks again for having me today and thank you kindly for reading!
Trick Me Once
If she didn’t know better, she’d think she was in a log cabin in the mountains. This set design was fabulous. The scene out the window looked so real, she couldn’t help feeling a little respect for the Alfar family of illusionists.
She felt him come up behind her. Why was he standing so close? Without turning, she asked, “Please direct me to the manager’s office. I’d like to speak to someone about Finn’s disappearing lady trick.”
His soft snort sounded in her ears. “You’ll not be finding a manager’s office here. Where do you think you are?”
She was about to say she must be under the stage, but her throat clamped down on the words. Two squirrels skittered around the trunk of a tree. She’d assumed it was some kind of video screen, but if that were the case, she’d not be hearing the faint chitter of the grey squirrel on the defensive.
But it couldn’t be. It was impossible for her to be anywhere other than the Empire Theatre in Mesa, Arizona. “Where do you think we are?” she countered, gaze fixed on the squirrels.
“It was my hope to be in the Highlands, but the air’s not got the smell of peat, nor whiskey, nor sweet heather honey.”
She spun around then, and would have bumped into him if he’d not taken a quick step back. “As in Scotland? Very funny.”
“’Tis no jest.”
“No? Well then, you woke up on the wrong continent, buddy.” His pupils were slightly dilated, but his gaze was clear and steady. He obviously had quick reflexes, and he didn’t look delusional, but what did she know about psychotic episodes? His clothes looked like he’d been sleeping in them for longer than a quick nap. Perhaps he’d wandered into the theatre off the street. She took another step backward.
His sharp gaze flicked to that remarkably real backdrop. “How can you be sure?”
Because I’m sane. But she didn’t say that, of course. She was unsettled enough to not feel perfectly grounded herself. “If you can’t direct me to the manager, then I’ll find him myself, but this show is over.” She marched across the room, threw open the door to the pseudo living room, and stood dead still in the open doorway as a very alive, damp outdoor breeze blew in the scent of bug-infested woods, fish-filled lakes, and decomposing fungus.
She slammed the door shut, moved back to the bedroom and opened what looked like a closet door. Damn, a closet. She crossed the hall and whipped open another door—bathroom. Where were the stairs leading up to the theatre?
Perhaps she’d just thought she’d seen mountains when she’d opened the door in the living room—a mind warp from the stress of landing in a stranger’s bed. She headed back across the room, spared a quick glance at the stagehand who looked vaguely amused, and opened the door cautiously.
She stumbled across the threshold to stand on the wooden deck and face an illusion much too large to be contained to one theatre. Her lungs constricted. Tree-covered mountains stacked atop each other all the way to the overcast horizon. A liver-colored lake roiled in a pocket thirty feet below. Dark, dense woods pressed in on her like a surly crowd.
But they couldn’t be in the mountains. That was impossible. Arizona was desert. There was no such thing as magic, no disappearing lady.
She felt the blood drain from her face as reality struck.
She was losing her mind. This must be exactly what had happened to her nana. Every day, sitting in the Sunshine Acres Nursing Home, Nana thought she was living on her childhood farm in Saskatchewan, talking as though she were on the prairie, seeing the farm house, her mommy and daddy. Thinking it was all real.
Jessica had sudden early-onset dementia. Sinking to the deck, she wrapped herself up in her arms. She felt the vibrations of the stagehand walking around her, heard the smooth gait of his boots on the wood, and she would have chuckled if her voice worked—she’d thought he was crazy. If ever there was a kettle calling the pot black, she was that kettle.
“I’m not sure what Finn told you,” he said, “but you seem ill-prepared to be here, and that’s not good.”
An insect buzzed by her ear. Bugs! She swatted at it. “Yes, I’m quite ill-prepared—quite ill, period. I see mountains and a lake. How’s that for ill?”
“I see. And there were no mountains or lakes where you came from?”
She peered up at him. “Not mountains like these. I live in the desert.” She massaged her temple—maybe that would bring much needed blood to her head. “I’ve been under a lot of stress lately, and…my brain must have tried to compensate, but now it snapped. I’m seeing things that can’t possibly be there.”
He crouched down in front of her. “Your mind is sound, woman. You see mountains because we’re in the mountains. Finn sent you here because he likes to play games.” He slipped his hand over hers and pulled. “Come, stand up.”
At least he saw the mountains, too—a tiny acknowledgment. She tugged her hand away. She may be losing her mind, but she could still stand on her own two feet. One deep breath sent a good supply of oxygen to her head as she stood up. “Just so you know, your explanation does not make me feel better. People can’t go from the desert to the mountains in the blink of an eye. It’s impossible.”
His grin didn’t hold much humor. “Not impossible. People can’t. But elves can.”
He’d just re-established he was, indeed, crazier than she. “You see elves. Oh my, that’s good news. Maybe we can get adjoining rooms at the funny farm.”
5 ebook copies Trick Me Once
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Sharon Clare writes light, paranormal romance with a little magic, a little suspense and a little humor.
She’s always been fascinated by the idea there’s more to the world than we perceive. That’s why she created Finn, a mischievous, match-making elf, from a world just a wee bit off Earth who believes every time love is experienced, energy empowers our worlds.
Life has enough difficult times, so it’s important to Sharon to write novels where happiness ultimately triumphs. She helps her characters overcome their demons, open their hearts, and find the love everyone deserves. When you reach the end, she strives to leave you in a happy place.
If you’d like a free book in the Magical Matcher series, please come visit Sharon at: www.sharonclare.com