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Physically, Clara took after her mother, inheriting her brown hair and hourglass figure. There is evidence that she may have undergone laser surgery to prevent herself from crying, the display of such emotion generally being taboo amongst the Old Families.
Clara was the eldest child of Bella and Constantino Terra. She had two siblings -- Zeb and Nova, though she was never particularly close to Nova despite being sisters. At the age of seventeen, she decided to hone her talent for the piano, her mother hiring the virtuoso Dee Palmer to teach her. She gave up the endeavor however, courtesy of Palmer refusing to respond to her attempts to flirt with him.
Later, Clara was engaged to Milo Kusinis, though despite his devotion to her, never fully reciprocated his feelings.
Due to a Sons of Korhal attack on a Terra Family business, members of the Old Families decided to send one child each to Tyrador IX, a location safer than Tarsonis. Constantino decided to send Nova rather than Clara, who wished to remain on Tarsonis with Milo Kusinis.
Clara was with her fiancé when the rest of her family was attacked by terrorists, sent there by the anti-Confederate rebel, Cliff Nadaner. Her mother, father, and brother were killed, while her sister Nova went missing.
The attack was investigated by Ghost Program wrangler Malcolm Kelerchian, since Nova turned out to be a powerful psychic and was thus targeted for acquisition by the Ghost Program. Clara was not particularly cooperative, and had little insight into Nova in any event, due to the lack of a close relationship. Clara hadn't known that Nova was psychic until Kelerchian revealed that fact to her.
Clara Terra announced the deaths of her family, including (falsely) Nova shortly after the murders. The Ghost Program leader, Ilsa Killiany, had pressured the Confederate Council to force Clara to pronounce Nova dead. This way, if Nova turned up alive, the Ghost Program could induct her more easily. Nova was extremely upset about the false announcement (releasing her formidable telekinetic powers in an emotional moment). The announcement had the additional side effect of changing the plans that crime lord Fagin had for Nova.
Clara announced in the same press statement that the wedding was to proceed as planned, not even the deaths of Clara's family at the hands of rebels being enough to stop it.