Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
Bestselling and award-winning author Deborah Cooke has published over fifty novels and novellas, including historical romances, fantasy romances, fantasy novels with romantic elements, paranormal romances, contemporary romances, urban fantasy romances, time travel romances and paranormal young adult novels. She writes as herself, as Claire Delacroix and has written as Claire Cross. She is nationally bestselling, #1 Kindle Bestselling, KOBO Bestselling, as well as a USA Today and New York Times’ Bestselling Author. Her Claire Delacroix medieval romance, The Beauty, was her first book to land on the New York Times’ list of bestselling books.
Deborah was the writer-in-residence at the Toronto Public Library in 2009, the first time TPL hosted a residency focused on the romance genre, and she was honored to receive the Romance Writers of America PRO Mentor of the Year Award in 2012. She’s a member of Romance Writers of America and of Novelists Inc. Currently, she’s writing the Dragonfire series of paranormal romances as Deborah Cooke and The Champions of Saint Euphemia series of medieval romances as Claire Delacroix. She lives in Canada with her husband.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
In December, my latest Scottish medieval romance, The Warrior’s Prize by Claire Delacroix, was published. This is the fourth book in my True Love Brides series, which continues from my Jewels of Kinfairlie trilogy.
It’s the story of the seventh sibling in a family I started to write about in 2005, and probably the one most requested by readers. (It’s Elizabeth’s book.) The True Love Brides series focuses on the family holding of Kinfairlie being a portal to the realm of the Fae, so there are paranormal elements in all four books, as well as a challenge from the Fae that arches over the whole series. I love to include paranormal and fantasy elements in my medievals, and with a Scottish setting, it just seemed right to include the Fae. I had a lot of fun writing these books. For a change of scene, the last brother’s story will be set at a cousin’s holding called Inverfyre in the Highlands and will be first of a series set there, but I’m taking a little break from the Kinfairlie clan to write about some Templar knights bringing a treasure back to Paris from the crusades.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
Not really. Probably the only odd thing is that I say dialogue aloud as I type it, which is why I don’t write in public places like coffee shops. I like to listen to the stereo (very loud) while I write, too.
What authors, or books have influenced you?
What are you working on now?
Right now, I’m writing the last book in my bestselling Dragonfire series of paranormal romances featuring dragon shape shifter heroes, which is called Firestorm Forever by Deborah Cooke. I’m enjoying the chance to tie up all the loose ends, and play with the format of the book a bit – this one actually includes 3 romances and takes place over a year – even though the book keeps getting longer. I’ll be both glad and sad to type The End on this one. Firestorm Forever will be out in May.
I’m also working on that new medieval series featuring the Templar knights during the crusades. The series is called The Champions of St. Euphemia and the first book, The Crusader’s Bride by Claire Delacroix, will be out in May.
You can download the first chapter of Firestorm Forever or The Crusader’s Bride for free from my online store, right here:
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
I think it’s important to stay in touch with existing readers in a number of ways, because everyone has different preferences. I update my own website constantly and try to blog every weekday there – that blog feed goes to Amazon and Goodreads, as well as my social media. Of all social media, I’m probably most active on Facebook, where I maintain a page for each of my author names as well as a personal profile. I send out a monthly newsletter, too. In addition, I’m always looking for new readers, by having specials on my backlist titles and by participating in promotional boxed sets with other authors whose readers might like my books too. There’s no single way to promote, and really, I could promote full time because there are so many options available. I have to protect my writing time, though, so that there will always been new releases from me for my readers.
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Do you have any advice for new authors?
The two best things a writer can do, at any point in his or her career, is to read a lot, particularly outside of his or her genre of choice.
Reading broadly can teach you different ways of telling stories, as well as challenge your assumptions about how stories are told. Reading across genre is the best way to keep your work fresh, and is the best way to learn. There’s always more to learn, in terms of vocabulary, characterization, craft, you name it. So, being a writer isn’t a static state – you should always be adding to your skill set.
The second thing is to write the stories you’re passionate about. There’s no value in writing to the market: if what’s selling isn’t the kind of story you want to write, you’ll probably do it badly. You should write the stories that interest you, in the way that you think they best should be told, because this will make them not only your stories but the ones that only you could tell.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
“Follow your bliss.” Joseph Campbell wrote that.
What are you reading now?
I’m doing some research for a new contemporary romance series that’s in the dreaming stages right now. To research one continuing character, I’m reading a lot of non-fiction about the war in Afghanistan. It’s not very upbeat, but I really want to understand where he’s been and what he’s experienced.
What’s next for you as a writer?
More books! Finishing up existing series means that I have a lot of new series in the dreaming and planning stages. This is pretty exciting. I’m also compiling a Dragonfire Companion, which is the first time I’ve ever done a guide to one of my fictional worlds, and am enjoying that process a great deal.
What is your favorite book of all time?
Tough call – there are so many books that I love! I’ll choose the one I’ve read the most times: The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien.