Interview with Cheryl Kaye Tardif by Mayra Calvani (2 April 2013)

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Introduction

Please welcome my special guest, international bestselling Canadian author Cheryl Kaye Tardif.

Cheryl is best known for Submerged, a psychological thriller that has had over 49,000 downloads on Amazon alone in March 2013, Children of the Fog, a supernatural suspense thriller that has sold over 50,000 copies and has made Amazon’s

Top 100 bestsellers list (overall list) multiple times, and Whale Song, a much-loved, inspiring family tale with a hint of mystery, now available in its third edition–plus a school edition with a discussion guide.

Learn more about Cheryl Kaye Tardif at http://www.cherylktardif.com and follow her on Twitter.

Enter Cheryl’s March Giveaway – 60 Prizes at http://www.cherylktardif.blogspot.com


Why don’t you begin by telling us a little about yourself?

I was born in Vancouver, BC, Canada, and moved around a lot as a child. I think all the moving and having to say goodbye to friends caused me to become very introverted and shy, so I turned to books. They were my escape into exciting worlds. Plus we didn’t have access to so many television shows or movies back then. In my pre-teen years I read all the Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys books, plus many others. As a teen I was mesmerized by authors like Stephen King, Dean Koontz and John Saul, and ever since I was quite young I spun stories in my head. I knew at a young age that I wanted to be a writer. I now live in Edmonton, AB, Canada, with my husband and our dog Chai, and I’m fulfilling my dream.

Tell us a bit about your latest book, and what inspired you to write such a story.


My new psychological thriller, SUBMERGED, is the story of two strangers brought together by fate. Marcus Taylor is a 911 dispatcher and a recovering addict looking for a way out of the intense guilt and remorse he feels over the deaths of his wife and son. Rebecca Kingston is a wife and mother desperate to leave an abusive marriage. When someone runs Rebecca’s vehicle off the road and into a river, she is trapped—with her children in the back seat. Her only lifeline is a cell phone with a quickly depleting battery and a stranger’s calm voice on the other end telling her everything will be all right.

I was inspired by a high school friend who battled addiction and won. He turned his life around completely, and I found him to be so inspiring. I’d wanted to tackle a story about addiction and about a character so submerged in guilt and sorrow that he has shut down, closed himself off from life. But more importantly I wanted to show that there can be redemption even after such a life.

How would you describe your creative process while writing this book? Was it stream-of-consciousness writing, or did you first write an outline?

Much of the story fermented and played out in my mind. When it came to write something, I made notes of key aspects of the story. Not a complete outline, as I never do that. By the time I sat down and began to write, everything flowed fairly easily. In fact, most of the novel was written in an intense 2-week period.

Did your book require a lot of research?

I did a fair amount of research before I started writing. I interviewed my friend, who was very gracious in answering my deeply personal questions. When it came to actually writing Marcus’s character I realized I didn’t need to go too far into the descriptions of his addictions. I needed enough for people to understand him, to make him real but likeable, admirable even.

I also researched the 911 process and had many questions answered by my contact at a 911 center. And I was in contact with people from ResQMe.com. They make the rescue tool that was used in SUBMERGED.

Agatha Christie got her best ideas while eating green apples in the bathtub. Steven Spielberg says he gets his best ideas while driving on the highway. When do you get your best ideas and why do you think this is?

I get some of my ideas either after waking up from a dream/nightmare, or while in the shower or when watching TV. Often a television show will spark an idea—not the show’s plot, but my own. Most of my ideas come from thinking about fears that people have.

They say authors have immensely fragile egos… How would you handle negative criticism or a negative review?

I think we all have fragile egos once we’ve created something—anything. We yearn for our creations to be accepted, no matter if it’s a piece of art, a business proposal, a promotional campaign or a book. If I get a negative review, I remind myself that the reviewer is entitled to his or her opinion. I also tell myself that sometimes my book will fall into the wrong hands and will be read by someone outside of my target audience. If this happens, they probably won’t enjoy my book. The only negative criticism that riles me is when it’s by a competing author or by someone who didn’t bother to really read the book and then misrepresents facts.

When writing, what themes do you feel passionate about?

I am very passionate about exploring social issue themes, like bullying and racism (found in WHALE SONG),  child abuse (found in DIVINE INTERVENTION), diseases and stem cell research (found in THE RIVER), alcoholism and PTSD (found in CHILDREN OF THE FOG), and drug addiction and abuse (found in SUBMERGED).

Do you have an agent?  How was your experience in searching for one?

Yes. My agent is Erica Spellman-Silverman from Trident Media Group. A few years ago I was represented by Jack Scovil from Scovil Galen Ghosh Literary Agency, but we were unable to move my books so we parted ways. It had taken me years of querying to find Jack.

I wasn’t actually looking for a new agent, but then in March 2012, CHILDREN OF THE FOG hit the charts and sales soared. As a result I was noticed by Robert Gottlieb, chairman of Trident Media, and they approached me with an offer of representation.

Do you have any unusual writing quirks?

It’s not uncommon for me to speak my characters’ dialogue out loud. And I often “act” out scenes. Sometimes with props. Usually no one is around to witness this.

Technically speaking, what do you struggle with the most when writing? How do you tackle it?

Timelines! Anything to do with numbers I find challenging. I’ll draw out a timeline or make notes, and I’ll go over them multiple times, even timing the action scenes and everything in between.

Do you have a website/blog where readers may learn more about you and your work?

Readers can find me at http://www.cherylktardif.com and http://www.cherylktardif.blogspot.com. I also invite everyone to follow me on Twitter.

 


This piece may NOT be freely reprinted. Please contact editor @ howtotellagreatstory.com for reprint rights.

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