I’m so delighted that you’ve chosen to read my new book, Claire’s Last Secret. This novel is truly the book of my heart, inspired by my life-long interest in the Byron/Shelley circle. It is also the culmination of an amazing creative journey (both real-world and imaginary) for me.
First of all, I wanted to share what inspired me to write this work: I had one of those “ah-hah” moments when it seemed everything in my life was shifting and changing—and I realized that I wanted to go into a new direction with my writing, as well.
It was a scary and exciting time.
Then, I happened to pick up Daisy Hay’s book, The Young Romantics, and learned that she had found a fragment of Claire Clairmont’s (Mary Shelley’s stepsister) journal saying that the famous Byron/Shelley summer of “free love” in 1816 had created a “perfect hell” for her. Of course, Claire wrote those words when she was almost eighty, impoverished, living in Florence, Italy, having outlived the two great poets and Mary by many decades. Intrigued, I wondered what it would feel like to outlive everyone who had been part of one’s youth. As the lone remaining figure of that famous quartet, she’d been left behind.
In that moment, I bonded with Claire and decided to tell her story, but as a fictional memoir. I had the germ of my story idea.
As I delved into Claire’s life, more pieces of a novel began to coalesce in my mind: her illicit love for Byron, her rocky relationship with Mary and Shelley, and her later years in Italy—and I knew I had to tell her story from two perspectives: the young, reckless Claire and the older-but-wiser Claire. Then, there was the mystery of her lost daughter with Byron. Her lovers. Her passion for life. It all came together into the kind of genre-bending novel that I’ve always wanted to create.
As I started writing the book, I applied for a grant, traveled to Geneva and Florence with my hubby to research the book—the end result was Claire’s Last Secret.
I’m so excited to share my historical mystery with you and hope you bond with Claire, as I did. Enjoy, my friends!
Find out more about CLAIRE'S LAST SECRET on Amazon!