Claron Siblings O'Rifcan Series Book 1
by Katharine E. Hamilton
Genre: Clean Romance
Tossing her belongings into a suitcase and escaping heartbreak seemed like the best idea for Rhea Conners. She’d simply travel across the ocean to visit her grandfather in Ireland and heal. Then she’d come back. Simple. But what she doesn’t expect is to find solace and healing in the form of the O’Rifcan family. One member in particular: Claron.
Claron enjoyed his life farming the land his grandparents gifted him. He lived his life quietly and contentedly, until Rhea arrived. He’d steered clear of relationships and entanglements since his last heartbreak, but something about Roland’s granddaughter twists him up inside. Something about Rhea has him rethinking his life of solitude.
Two hearts. One chance. Can Rhea and Claron overcome past hurts to make a new beginning?
Defeated, Rhea slid back behind the wheel and began racking her brain to try and remember the remaining directions. How far was she? Could she make it on foot? She remembered her oversized suitcase and its wheel-less base. If she had to, she would make the trek, but she had to know where she was going first. Perhaps there was a store up ahead she could stop in and ask for directions. She looked out the windows and only saw farmland to her left and the River Shannon to her right. And rain. “Okay, Rhea, think. Think, think, think, think, think.” Jitters began to take over and she absentmindedly drummed her fingers on the steering wheel. A knock sounded on the window and she jumped in her seat with a small squeal as a man peered into the car. The hood to his raincoat covered most of his face, but a pair of teeth flashed in a warm smile. “You alright there, lass?”
Rhea stared a moment before she realized the man was standing in pouring rain waiting for her response. She reached for the window and rolled it down. “My tire is flat.”
His brow furrowed as he looked at the tires on the passenger side of the vehicle. He then held up a finger as he rounded her car and looked at the other two. Nodding, he made his way back to the passenger window. “Definitely have a puncture back there,” he motioned towards the direction of the tire. “Whereabouts are you headed?”
Rhea shrugged and pointed to the sloppy stack of papers next to her. “Those were my directions.”
He motioned for her to get out of the car. “Best give you a lift then, come along.” He did not wait for an answer but expected her to climb out in the middle of a storm and drive away with a stranger. Rhea continued to sit in her car. He appeared on her side of the vehicle and opened her door and she jumped in her seat. “I see you have some bags, I’ll grab those if you want to just head towards my lorry.” He motioned to the vehicle parked on the other side of the road. She didn’t move.
“Not here to hurt you, lass. Just trying to help.” He offered his hand and then turned away to yell as a vehicle sped by and splashed him in its wake. Turning back towards Rhea he waved her out. “Come along, I haven’t all day.”
She caught a glimpse of the devastatingly handsome face beneath the hood and felt herself sliding out of the car. “I have bags in the trunk as well.”
“Aye, I’ll fetch them. Hurry now, before you get soaked.”
Rhea darted across the road and hopped into the passenger seat, only it was not the passenger side. Rolling her eyes, she quickly darted back into the rain to slide into the opposite seat.
A deep laugh filtered through the door as the man opened it. “Yanks always take time to adjust to the vehicles.” He handed over her purse. “I’ll go get the rest of your bags.”
She watched as he patiently walked back across the road unaffected by the downpour and grabbed her two giant suitcases out of the back seat of her rental. She heard them plop into the bed of his truck. He then fetched her remaining bags out of her trunk and tossed them into his truck bed as well. She then saw him unroll a blue tarp to cover them. He slid into the truck and heaved a contented sigh. “That ought to do it.”
“Thank you,” Rhea said.
He turned as he slipped off his hood and his bright blue eyes sparkled as his raven hair dripped with what little rain bombarded him beneath his hood. “Riley O’Rifcan, at your service.” He held out a hand and she shook it.
“Rhea,” she introduced.
“Nice to meet you, Rhea. Based on the vehicle and the luggage, I am assuming you just arrived in Ireland?”
“You would be correct.” She reached into her purse and pulled out her cell phone. The screen lit up. Pursing her lips, she slipped it back into her bag.
“No service here, lass. You will have better luck closer to town.”
“Where exactly am I?” She grimaced at the stupid question, but the stranger responded in kind.
“You’re at the county crossing, love.”
“The county crossing? As in Clare to Limerick?”
“That would be the one.” Eying her, he turned to face her. “I take it that is not where you planned to go?”
“Well, yes and no. I know I’m supposed to be near here, but in County Clare.”
“Do you have a village name for me?”
“No, unfortunately I don’t. All I know is that I was to cross the O’Brien’s Bridge and head northeast. I’m to stop at a bed and breakfast there.”
“Would it be Sidna’s Bed and Breakfast you’re after?”
Relief washed over her face. “Yes! Yes, that’s it!” She gripped his hand as if he were her lifeline. Realizing her action, she dropped it immediately. He grinned before turning to face the front. “It just so happens I just left the B&B. We aren’t too far off the mark.”
She placed a hand over her heart. “Thank you. Thank you for stopping to help me and for knowing where I am.”
He laughed. “I’d best know where you are. I grew up here.”
He nodded as he drove, the sound of the windshield wipers and peddling rain filled the silences.
“Do you still live around here?”
“Aye, but closer to Limerick. My family is all about though. In fact, I imagine you will meet plenty of them in a few minutes.”
Confused, she glanced over at him and he smiled. Rhea couldn’t think of ever seeing a man so handsome, even when he was dripping wet.
“Sidna is my mam.” He chuckled at her surprise. “She’ll be pleased I stumbled upon her guest.”
Katharine E. Hamilton graduated from Texas A&M University with a Bachelor of Arts in History and uses her knack for research in all her stories. She is a Southern Belle with a pinch of sass, and when she is not writing she can be found chasing around her toddler son, driving around the ranch, or baking delicacies for local parties and events. Katharine currently resides on a ranch in South Texas where the skies and rivers, in all their beauty, rejuvenate the soul.
Which of your novels can you imagine made into a movie?
I’ve always thought The Unfading Lands Series would be an incredible movie series. And now, as I have them being turned into audiobooks, it’s definitely a confirmed dream of mine. Hearing them come to life has been phenomenal. However, it may happen a bit differently for me, as I was contacted about optioning Montgomery House for Film/Television. So we shall see which becomes a movie first. Either way, it’s a super exciting concept.
What do you do to unwind and relax?
I just got back from a beach trip. Whenever I release a new novel, I head to the beach for a weekend to just chill, relax, rest my brain, and usually binge read as many books as possible, because as soon as I come back, I’m back at the keyboard working on my next novel. I also may or may not enjoy a glass of wine every now and then to relax. ?
What inspired you to write this book?
Claron came to be a long time ago, but I never felt I could do the O’Rifcan family justice, so I didn’t write it. I finally reached a point where I loved the characters so much I had to give it a go. And once I sat down and fleshed out the story and the series, it just sort of snowballed into a fun, charming, and exciting journey. I absolutely love Claron. And I can honestly say it is one of my favorites out of everything I’ve written.
What can we expect from you in the future?
I have the remaining books in this series (which will be another 4 books) Book Two: Riley is actually on Pre-Order now and will be released in October. It’s already written and currently in the hands of my editor. So wrapping up this series. I also have two more books for my Lighthearted Collection planned for 2019, and a stand alone novel that has sort of been my baby project for about 5 years now that I hope to release in Fall 2019. Also, Audiobooks. I’m having all my titles converted to audiobooks. So far the entire Lighthearted Collection have audiobook versions, and The Unfading Lands is currently in production. And… if Montgomery House secures and option that turns into production, then hopefully we will see a movie/television movie of that in the near future.
Can you tell us a little bit about the characters in Claron?
Well, let’s see…. Rhea Conners is the main female lead. She’s a sweet and kind woman who has recently gone through the worst heartbreak and is headed to Ireland to visit her grandfather. She’s a strong character despite some of the things she faces.
Claron is sort of the quiet guy. He’s reserved. Works hard. Loves his family. And will do anything to continue his family’s legacy in farming the land around him. He’s a dependable and solid guy.
His brother, Riley, is a flirtatious and charming guy. He sort of becomes Rhea’s sidekick throughout the book. And his outgoing nature challenges her and Claron throughout the story.
The sisters, Layla and Chloe, are also fun characters. They have polar opposite personalities which adds a bit of humor throughout the series, along with their brother, Murphy, who can charm anyone.
What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
The O’Rifcan family. I love every single one of them and had so much fun writing the family interactions and the different personalities. Like all families they get on each other’s nerves at times, they’re nosy, they’re pushy, but at the end of the day they can all sit around the dinner table and laugh and love.
What is your favorite part of this book and why?
Without spoiling anything, I would say one of my favorite scenes is when Claron takes Rhea to meet his grandparents. That sort of shifts their relationship a bit and allows Rhea to see another side of Claron that makes her even more intrigued by him. It’s a sweet and fun interaction with his grandparents that allows Rhea to see how and why Claron is the man he is.
Do your characters seem to hijack the story or do you feel like you have the reigns of the story?
Characters always hijack a story. For this one especially, Murphy took on more of a role than I had originally planned, and now he will have his own book in the series, because he became a reader favorite. And he’s a fun one to write, so he adds a fun element to every scene he is in.
Convince us why you feel your book is a must read.
Because it will make your heart sigh. If you like sweet and clean romance and enjoy those early stages of a relationship with uncertainty and nervousness, it’s a hit for you. I love those moments. The beginnings of a new relationship. The soft smiles, the sweet comments, and the somewhat awkward interactions. I feel like Claron and Rhea capture those well in this story. They’re relationship evolves organically because of who they are and the circumstances they are both overcoming. And the other characters charm the socks off of you along the way. They make you laugh, frustrate you, and rope you in. My goal at the end of this book is that you feel like you are part of the O’Rifcan family or that you want to be.
How long have you been writing?
I’ve been writing for about 13 years, though I wasn’t published until ten years ago. Hard to believe it’s been that long. Time flies when you’re having fun.
What kind of research do you do before you begin writing a book?
It varies per book. For this one, I obviously researched different areas of Ireland. I picked a certain area due to an actual Bed and Breakfast being there surrounded by farm land. Every detail about the location and surroundings was heavily researched just so my readers could take the journey along with Rhea if they wanted to. I also reached out to a farmer friend who answered all my questions about farming. I interviewed my grandparents about dairy farming (39 years experience) to use for Claron’s character as well. I have a few fellow author friends who are Irish who helped me develop the social and family interaction of the characters. They helped me with conversations and made sure the dialogue was accurate and flowed well.
Do you see writing as a career?
Writing is my career, so yes. ? You have to work at it, like most things. The more you write, the better you become. And you must work on marketing… all.the.time.
What do you think about the current publishing market?
I think there is no better time to be an author. It’s competitive, as are most markets. But if you truly want to make a success of your work, you can. The amount of people who see your book, whether they read it or not, is incredible, thanks to E-Readers.
Do you write one book at a time or do you have several going at a time?
I am constantly hopping from one project to another. I may have one manuscript that is receiving most of my attention, but on days where the juices may not be flowing for that one, I hop over to another one and continue on that one. I have 3 current manuscripts open on my computer and I bounce between them.
Advice you would give new authors?
Finish your book. Worry about editing, formatting, and beta readers later. FINISH the book. Don’t let those other factors distract you from actually completing the work. And also… write what you want. Yes, my write-to-market friends are probably cringing at that. But early on establish your writing goals. I’ve always made sure to keep my books clean. That was my goal. No matter what genre I wrote in, my books would be clean so that anyone could read them. In the erotica movement, I obviously did not write in that genre, though it was a HOT genre for a couple years. But I did write sweet and clean romances during that time, and I did just fine. Now the Clean and Wholesome genre is taking off, and I’m thankful I’ve been able to settle myself in its ranks as a familiar name. Some will follow whatever genre is hot at the time and write for it, but that’s not my style. Usually my stories have been on my mind for over a year before they see the light of day. I take care in which stories and characters I write because I want them to stick with readers once they’ve finished turning the last page. This helps me produce a work I believe in and am excited about. Staying true to yourself and your goals will help you create a firm foundation in your platform.
Follow the tour HERE for exclusive excerpts, guest posts and a giveaway!