An Interview with Clair de Lune

Author Image 4Clair de Lune was born in South Yorkshire in England, and then she moved to Scotland more than twenty years ago. She retired early a few years ago due to ill health and spent her time reading, sewing, cooking, and gardening. She decided that there ought to be more to retirement than that. Reading has always played a large part in her life, and the house is full of books. She believes the world has enough sadness in it and her characters will always get their HEA, even if the road is rocky.

Q:Virginia’s Awakening tackles some tough but relatable issues that many romances overlook, such as insecurities about age and physical appearance, and even adultery. What is it about these realistic circumstances that appeal to you as a writer?

A: When I wrote my first book, Initiation, one of the reasons for writing that particular story was to fill a gap. I had read many romances and found them to concentrate on the young and the beautiful. I have no quarrel with that, but I consider it normal to have doubts and self-image issues and I wanted to explore that with my heroine, Jane. As a reader, I relate more to older characters. They tend to have more complex lives and more baggage than your average young and fancy-free heroine, so to me they are more interesting. As a writer, I like to give them a complicated background and a normal adult woman’s hangups and problems and see where their story goes. Virginia has just been thrown out by her husband. He spent years mentally, and often physically, abusing her. I wanted to see if she could put that in the past and be the woman that Valkyrie saw in her. Lucifer’s Errant Sub portrays the same emotions in an M/M situation. Devil has been abused, and so he doubts his worth as a person. He can’t believe that he merits the sort of love and loyalty that Lucifer offers him. It’s his journey to find himself, and his realisation that he really deserves a future with his lover, that fascinates me.

Q: You have written both ManLove books as well as Classic M/F. Is this a conscious choice you make before sitting down to write a new book? Or does it simply depend on the characters?

A: I tend to start with characters. Lucifer’s Errant Sub wasn’t a conscious choice for ManLove. The two made an appearance in Master Salvador’s Dilemma, and when I sat down to write book two in the series they more or less took over. It’s my first ManLove only book. I have written several ménages and very much enjoyed the challenge of mixing M/M and M/F in them.

Q: A wonderful attribute of Virginia’s Awakening is how she overcomes a traumatic past with the help of a loyal new lover, and the excitement of a new passion in her life, the BDSM club. How does the power of second chances inspire you?

A: I love the idea that we can all have a second chance, if only we are brave enough to recognise the possibilities. Life isn’t over at forty or fifty or sixty. Where is it written that older people can’t fall in love, or have a decent sex-life or experience BDSM for the first time? That’s a theme that recurs in my books. The Duke of Wellington once said, “Tie a knot and carry on.” I like to explore that in my stories. Virginia has known abuse and humiliation in her marriage. She has to learn how trust Valkyrie before she can hand over control to him as her Dom. That process fascinates me. Jane, in Initiation, is a widow. Her second chance comes when she persuades a friend to take her to a BDSM club, where a rival for Master Angus’s affections makes fun of her. She has to take back control. Rafael, in Saving Master Rafael, lost both his subs. He blames himself for their deaths and is unwilling to risk more hurt, until Catriona gives him some sound advice. In all of these situations the process of overcoming difficulties and seizing the opportunity is what fascinates me.

Q: If you could choose one famous female to play the role of Virginia in Virginia’s Awakening, who would you pick, and why?

A: Raquel Welch. It was her I had in mind when I wrote the book. She has aged remarkably well, and when Virginia has undergone her makeover, this is what I believe she looks like—elegant, confident, and graceful in her maturity.

Q: Of all your characters so far, which has been the closest to your heart, or the one you most loved to create?

A: It’s not just one character, but a couple. Jane, from Initiation, will always be dear to my heart. She was my first heroine and now she appears in four books, where we see her at various stages of her second chance. In Learning to Live with her Master, she is coming to terms with her new life and not finding it all plain sailing. When she realises that compromises have to be made, and she accepts that, she can move forward and enjoy her relationship with Master Angus. He’s as dear to my heart as she is, and a great favourite with many readers. He loves her and helps her to overcome her physical, mental, and emotional difficulties. The fact that he is a tall, striking Scotsman who wears his kilt with pride and uses many Gaelic endearments for his feisty love, only adds to his fascination.

Q: What is your favorite quote about love? How do you relate it to ManLove?

A: “Love is love.” I’m not sure it’s a quote from any famous source, but I like it. I see it as a rule to live by. What does gender matter? If you love someone and they love you, then that’s right, so far as I’m concerned. Can single-sex couples provide a happy home for a family? Certainly. I was delighted when Sir Elton John had his son by a surrogate and then his partner did the same. His joy and delight in his baby when being interviewed was a lesson to any bigot. As far as I’m concerned, it’s not anybody’s business but their own.

Q: What role, if any, do you think fiction can play in affecting social change? In particular, ManLove?

A: I think fiction has always been a powerful tool for aiding change. By fiction I don’t just mean books. I remember seeing Cathy Come Home on television, a truly powerful piece of fiction that awoke many people to the plight of the homeless. If same-sex couples are portrayed in sitcoms and soap operas as normal couples are, then it will have a beneficial effect. The focus shouldn’t be on them as a single-sex couple, but on them as a couple that have a series of problems that they overcome. The fact that they happen to be a single-sex couple ought to be incidental as it is with M/F couples.

Q: Can you give us a little description of your daily writing routine?

A: I don’t really have a daily writing routine. I spent thirty-six years in teaching with a rigid routine. Now I’m retired, I like to be flexible. However, when in the grip of a new book, that goes out of the window. Marks and Spencer’s provide me with very good prepared meals, and I sit on my sofa with my laptop and write and write. If I remember, I get up to heat up the meal and make pots of my favourite tea, which I drink hot with a little milk. I like peace and quiet to write, but that being said, I have written in many odd places. The oddest I think was the Roman Army museum while my granddaughter coloured in a sheet. The excited chatter and shrieks of the children visiting the museum didn’t even register. I have got out of the pool after a swim and sat down to write wrapped only in my towel. If the muse wants me to write, I do.

Q: What qualities do you think are important for the hero in a ManLove romance? Are there types of men you prefer to write about?

A: I do think that the hero of any book, be it ManLove, M/F or Ménage, has to have integrity. I write light BDSM, so my heroes are kind, caring Doms. They are alpha males and like their own way, but they are chivalrous and loving. I don’t think that my ManLove Doms and heroes are in any way different from the M/F ones. They are men who see the object of their affection as all important. They may need to guide, educate, and occasionally spank, but cruelty is not in their nature. Often a picture of a striking man will set off a story. The most memorable is Angel in Hell, a ménage about a triad. The fact that the hero was over seven feet tall and had silver skin and wings didn’t alter his basic qualities.

Q: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve heard about writing

A: “Stick to what you know,” so my books are about Britain; mainly Scotland and the north of England. When I became interested in Kinbaku, I researched and was lucky enough to find Master “K.” He has thirty years’ experience of Japanese erotic bondage and has helped me on many occasions. He answers my questions patiently and reads the Kinbaku scenes before they are submitted to Siren. I do believe that if you want to write about something in particular that you know little about, then you owe it to yourself and your readers to research it.