March Author Spotlight | Claire Marti

#LRAuthorSpotlight #AuthorSpotlight #CelebratingAuthors

I have loved reading for as long as I can remember. It wasn’t until I started reviewing books that I learned how much I enjoyed connecting with the authors as much as I loved reading! Last year, Claire Marti reached out to me on Instagram about checking out her books. A few pages in and I knew I was hooked on her work. She writes steamy books filled with love, laughter, and a cool California vibe. Since I’ve never been to the west coast, Claire’s books provide a vacation-like escape.

After releasing her final book, Beverly Hills King, in the California Suits series in mid-February, Claire took a few minutes to let me interview her for my readers. I love helping find books and authors that y’all connect with as well as the authors finding new fans and followers!

Hi Claire! Tell my readers a little about you and your author life.

Hi there! I’m Claire Marti and I live in a small beach town in Southern California. I
debuted in 2017 with a small press, and the rest of the series released in 2018. I went indie in
2019 and have published two beach/small town steamy contemporary romance series set in

After graduating from the University of Virginia with a BA in English Literature and
French, I embarked on several careers, including practicing law, selling software for legal
publishers, and managing a non-profit animal rescue for a Hollywood actress. I started teaching
yoga in 2007 and haven’t looked back.

I still teach a few classes a week and lead yoga retreats around the world in amazing
places like Italy, Scotland, Greece, and France! I love spending time outside, reading, travel, and
spending time with friends.

I’m married to my very own cinnamon roll hero, and we live by the beach with our giant
dog Josie, and our three cats, Lola, Beau, and Daisy.

Where do you draw inspiration for your stories or characters?

My inspiration for the Pacific Vista Ranch series came from my days teaching private yoga in Rancho Santa Fe, California, where the series is set. Most people in the upscale community have horses. My client’s daughter-in-law works on a local horse breeding ranch, which is what got me thinking…

I visited the ranch and loved the idea of having a female horse breeding manager as a heroine––a strong, fiery woman who excels in a male dominated industry. Samantha “Sam” McNeill was born, and I created the McNeills, a Hollywood family. Sam and her two sisters lost their actress mom in a tragic accident. Their father, Chris McNeill buys a horse breeding ranch in Rancho Santa Fe and moves his daughters away from L.A. He finds love again with Angela Michaels, a widow with three sons.

Each sister has her own standalone story and so does Grant Michaels, one of the stepbrothers. The other two stepbrothers, Ryan and Austin Michaels, launch the California Suits spin-off series. The series follows the adventures of five best friends who are opening a string of luxury boutique hotels from La Jolla to Monterey to Beverly Hills as each one finds true love…usually where he least expects it. There are elements of billionaire/workplace romance in all of them.

All my books are set in gorgeous towns in California. Romance in Laguna Beach was my debut series and features three friends who each find love in standalone contemporary romances.

Can you share the origin or initial spark that led to your first book?

I’ve always been a bookworm and love stories with happy endings, but I was a terrible picker in my 20s. After escaping a 5-year relationships with a serial cheater, I had the idea (personal dream) about a woman who was strong and talented but got sidelined by a charming jerk. Once she discovers his infidelity, she quits her job, swears off men for a year, and moves to Laguna Beach to write her first novel.

Sophie Barnes was born! And Nick, her hot player landlord, turns out to be the man worthy of her. Second Chance in Laguna is a sweet, steamy story that’s close to my heart.

How do you develop your plotlines and characters? Do you outline extensively or are you a

Call me a “Plantster.” I start out with the characters. I make in-depth sketches and use everything from archetypes, horoscopes, enneagrams, and focus on emotional wounds. I create them first and then plant them in the story.

I usually have a general idea of the story—the meet cute, 2-3 major decisions/turning points, and a vague idea of the ending. I tend to use GMC––Goal, Motivation, Conflict. If I outline too much, I lose the creative spark. So, I like to start out with a much more fluid type of outline.

What does a typical writing day look like for you?

My schedule is a flexible one. I teach a few yoga classes each week, as well as a few Pilates classes. So, on some days I teach in the morning and write in the afternoon/evening and others I write most of the day.

Are there any specific rituals or habits that aid your writing process?

I use the Pomodoro technique and write in sprints. If I’m in an editing phases, I do the same thing. I write/edit for 25 minutes and take a 5 minute break. I get up and walk around or stretch so I’m not sitting for hours at a time.

I also have a good idea of word count goals each day, so I mark those off in colored ink!

I also usually do yoga poses throughout the day to keep my mind clear and my body open. I even created an online class called Yoga Break for Writer’s Block that’s free on!

What techniques do you use to create relatable and multifaceted characters?

Readers consistently comment on how realistic my characters are! As I said before, I spend a lot of time creating well-rounded, flawed characters before I tackle plot and story. I figure out positive and negative traits and make sure they aren’t too perfect! But it is fiction, so I’m good with making all my heroes hot, irresistible book boyfriends, even with their flaws!

Which authors or books have significantly influenced your writing style or storytelling?

I loved reading Nora Roberts trilogies and stories when she was still focusing on romance. Christina Lauren, Julie James, Lisa Kleypas, Sally Thorne, and Emily Henry are a few I love and could re-read several times. They all feature strong characters, excellent prose, and satisfying stories.

Are there particular genres or authors you enjoy reading for pleasure?

Romance, general fiction, historical fiction, sometimes thrillers/mysteries, classics too! I will read a lot of different books as long as they don’t have tragic endings. I need happy endings or at least hopeful ones!

Have you had any remarkable discoveries or insights during your research process that shaped your storytelling?

I’m not sure if I’ve made remarkable discoveries but I’ve gained tons of insight. My California Suits series is set in different towns in California: La Jolla, Paso Robles, Monterey, Palm Springs, and Beverly Hills. I spent time in each town to ensure that I portrayed it accurately and also found spots to locate my fictional hotels. It’s fun to travel for research!

I’m working on two different books set in Paris, which is my favorite city in the world. One book is set in the 1920s, so I’ve done a lot of historical research and learned so much about the trailblazing women who lived there.

What themes or messages do you aim to convey through your books?

I have a few that come up often. Many of my characters come from broken families or difficult childhoods. I like to focus on the masks we all wear––the apparently perfect character who appears to have it all together, but inside is scared to allow anyone see their flaws.

I love second chances, I love when one character can draw out the other’s true goodness. And romance is the genre of hope, so I like to show how we all deserve to be happy, no matter who we are and what we’ve been through! Love always wins!

What are the most challenging aspects of writing a book and/or series?

All of it? Ha, just kidding. For me, the first draft is brutal. I’m all excited and primed to write after creating my characters and knowing where the story starts. But I really battle with the first 10-20k.

I love writing series because I like having a group of friends and/or sisters and brothers and carry that found family aspect through. The challenge sometimes is remembering all the details! Did he have green eyes or blue eyes? Series bibles are key!

Could you share a particularly rewarding moment or experience during the creation of
your books?

Editing is where the story comes together for me, and I love that feeling when I re-read my words and can visualize just how to put it together for a compelling story. It’s like putting together puzzle pieces. It’s almost like an epiphany and it’s the best feeling!

Can you provide any hints or insights into your upcoming projects or books in the pipeline?

Of course! I’ve got a fun spin-off novella (from Pacific Vista Ranch) featuring a popular character that readers wanted to see find his happily-ever-after. I’m currently working on a standalone second chance romance with a heroine who beat breast cancer. I’m also working on a 1920s Paris historical! So I’m mixing things up a little bit in 2024.

That is exciting! I can’t wait to dive into the variety of books you’re writing! Are there any genres or themes you’d like to explore in your future writing?

I love 1920s Paris so I’m writing a story with that setting. I’m percolating on a few ideas but all my stories feature themes of second chances, uncovering the person behind the first impression, strong kick-ass heroines and the men worthy of them!

April Freebie

Don’t miss out on your chance to start the California Suits series – Hotel King – for FREE!

He’s her grumpy boss. She’s his nemesis. How thin is the line between love/hate?

Entrepreneur Ryan Michaels never loses. Well, except that time, a few years ago when he lost a promotion to spoiled rich girl, Charlotte “Charlie” Ray. Now he’s forced to hire his nemesis to secure funding to develop a string of luxury boutique hotels. Not only does she not fit his corporate vision, but she’s too damn attractive for her own good. And his.

Working as VP of Sales and Marketing for a luxury hotel is Charlie’s dream job. Too bad her boss is Ryan Michaels, the same pompous stick-in-the-mud that she remembers. If he tells her that this project is his legacy one more time, she might scream. Or maybe kissing him will get him to shut up?

Because that’s the other thing. The sizzling attraction between Ryan and Charlie is impossible to ignore. But everyone knows not to mix business and pleasure. Don’t they?

Grab Hotel King for FREE – Click Here!

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