An Interview with Christine Clemetson
Q: Why don’t you begin by sharing a little about yourself.
A: Hello! Thanks so much for having me! I’m a romance writer who loves writing historicals and suspense! I grew up in a small beach town in New Jersey and earned a BA in Literature and Language. Through all this, I learned the craft of writing and started submitting my stories for publication. My first book, A Daughter’s Promise, came out from the Wild Rose Press recently.
Q: How long have you been writing, and why did you decide to become a writer?
A: I think I’ve been writing my whole life. My earliest memories of making up stories came while sitting on the beach. I always brought a notebook and jotted down stories and ideas for stories. I can’t imagine life without writing.
Q: Can you to tell us about your book. What was your inspiration for the story?
A: It’s set in war torn Italy, 1944, where Serene Moneto made a promise to her dying mother—a promise so haunting that it directs the course of her life. When she chooses to save an American soldier from death, she risks everything—her name, her life, and capture by the Germans. Finding forbidden love with this soldier tears her world apart.
I wanted to give a voice to people that lived during this time period in WWII. I wanted their stories of survival and hope to be heard by others. So I decided to place an American soldier right in the middle of Italy on Anzio beach head and the only chance of his survival would be through a local woman. When they find love, they ultimately look to each other for hope. I wanted to capture that inspiration on paper.
Q: Do you consider yourself a genre writer?
A: Yes! Romance through and through. Although I’ve realized that I enjoy writing different flavors of romance, including historical and suspense.
Q: I know many writers, myself included, have difficulties writing romantic scenes. Do you struggle with them, or is writing them a breeze?
A: I have to admit that I do struggle with them. I do put inspirational music on when I write them to help it make it a little easier, and I do try to concentrate more on the “feelings” that accompany the physical part.
Q: What is the most challenging part of being a writer?
A: The most challenging aspect of writing for me is toning down the plot points. As a pantser (writing with minimal outline), sometimes I get carried away and try to include too many plot lines. I usually don’t see it until I step back from the manuscript and look at the plot as a whole.
Q: How did you research your book?
A: When I was researching my book, “A Daughter’s Promise”, I needed to research everything, from the ground up. I’ve never been to Italy or knew the details of WWII that I needed. To get the richness of the time period, and the people who lived in it, I had to dig in deep and be creative in my research methods. I used the internet and library to form the foundation of my research, including the timeline of events in Rome, what churches were still standing, and also what an Italian funeral would have been like. Also, I had an eyewitness account. From networking, I found a woman who had lived close to Rome during WWII. She told me many things hard to find in books, including how people felt about the war conditions going on around them, how bad the food rations were, how people moved around Rome, and how it felt for the Germans to be patrolling their neighborhoods. Also, I read many biographies.
Q: What advice would you give beginning writers?
A: Write everyday and learn the craft. Keep reading all genres to experience all types of writing and techniques. Writing takes you to so many places, so don’t forget to enjoy the journey.
Q: What writers have inspired you as an author?
A: Laura Ingalls Wilder was the first author that I remember reading and thinking, WOW! I want to create stories like that. Then as I got older, authors like Kathleen Woodiwiss, LaVryle Spencer, and Stephen King. All of these authors are so talented and know how to draw the reader into the story from the very first page.
Q: What’s next for you?
A: Currently, I’m marketing a contemporary suspense set in the Florida Everglades, along with a contemporary romance set in New Jersey. Stay tuned!
Thank you so much for having me here today! It's been great talk to you!
A Daughter’s Promise, by debut novelist Christine Clemetson, is a sweeping love story of sacrifice and unexpected hope. In war torn Italy, 1944, Serene Moneto made a promise to her dying mother—a promise so haunting that it directs the course of her life. When she chooses to save an American soldier from death, she risks everything—her name, her life, and capture by the Germans. Finding forbidden love with this soldier tears her world apart. Against the backdrop of a war raging right outside her door, can she choose happiness? Despite the promise she made those years ago?
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They both knew Serene’s turn had come. She took in a deep breath and touched his arms in a stiff embrace. She hugged him the way she had rehearsed in her head over and over, the way a mother would hug her son going off to war.
“I don’t care who sees,” he said gruffly, pulling her closer. He pushed her chin up with his
fingertips, and bent his head to kiss her.
She took his lips, his body, all of him, into her heart for the last time. Feeling the rapid beating in his chest, she fought the urge to mold her most intimate part against his.
When their lips parted, his warm breath on her neck made her body shiver. Wrapping her arms around his neck, she buried her face into his jacket. “I’m not ashamed about
what I said to you last night or what happened between us.” Her voice cracked. “It’s a sin, I know, but it was the most beautiful—”
“Ashamed? I don’t think I’ll ever have that kind of love again.”
Trembling, she stood back a little, clinging to her emotions with the delicacy of a spider web. “But you were right. We made the most logical decision.”
“Jesus, Serry. I want to tell you so bad that I—”
“You’re all set, then?” Sam said, coming back into the house.
Serene let go of Miles, letting her one finger intertwine with one of his pinky fingers. She couldn’t let him go.
Slowly, he released her and went to the door, putting one foot on the outside pavement before hesitating and turning back. His eyes were red, and she clutched the stair banister to keep from running to him. How much she loved him would be a secret
she’d take to the grave.
Carrying a bottle of whiskey, Marcus passed him at the door and gave him a friendly slap on the back. “I came to give you a goodbye, Coulson.”
Serene stood up straight and froze.
Miles jerked himself away. “Change of heart about me?”
His answer was Marcus’ deep kiss on Serene’s cheek and an arm around her waist. “I realized, Coulson, that I’m proud of her for taking the responsibility for you. I thought it was about time that I offered my apologies for the undiplomatic way I acted. We’re all in this for a cause, no? Why don’t we share a bottle to celebrate?”
“No, your change of heart doesn’t rub me the right way.” Miles offered an apologetic glance to Serene and then shifted his gaze back to Marcus. “You hurt her, and I’ll hurt you. You understand me?”
“Have a safe trip,” Marcus drawled.
Serene watched the driver help him in and her knees weakened. As the truck’s engine started, she braced herself against the wall.
“Don’t worry. Serene. Just think of this as a wedding present from me. No more worries about your American. He is well now and gone for good. Your only thanks is to marry me.”
She couldn’t hear him. Her throat ached and she made no effort to wipe the tears spilling freely from her eyes. She started for the door, but he grabbed her by the shoulders.
A Daughter’s Promise available at The Wild Rose Press
Author's Website: http://www.christineclemetson.com/