Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Author Interview: Chantal Boudreau

1. Have you written a book you love that you have not been able to get published? Can you tell us about your upcoming book?
I have fourteen completed novels that have yet to be published, but I'm expecting seven of them will likely be released by my current publisher, May December Publications.  Four of them won't be published by MDP, however, because they don't carry YA or romance.  I've tried to publish my Snowy Barrens Trilogy (YA tribal dark fantasy) for a couple of years now - querying agents and publishers.  It's a favourite of my beta reader and one I love as well. I had one agent ask for a partial, and turn it down, and another ask for a full only to sit on it for more than a year.  I've ended up deciding to self-publish, and I hope to have it out by end of summer

My next book to be released is Transcendence, the third book in my Fervor series (dystopian science fantasy).  MDP anticipates a September release date.  Here's a hint of what it's about:
Arriving at Windlea, the refugees from Fervor encounter a chilly reception. The Latents there do not welcome them with open arms, as had originally been expected, nor do they include them in their planning to confront the Scholars. Even worse, Elliot appears to have abandoned the youths he once championed, either out of a sense of hopelessness or an overwhelming guilt. Feeling rejected, Sam and his friends start to plot their own rescue, a journey to Transcendence to recover Sarah and the abducted ex-Controls. With new resources, new information, their talents and unexpected alliances, it will be tricky, but they think they can make it work ... that is, if the Latents, the Scholars, their pet Teller, Grace, or even the very hostile environment of Windlea, don't happen to get in their way.

2. Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?
I draw from real life constantly - conflicts with authority figures, my experiences during my travels and with the theatre, putting down some of my own personal demons on paper (like being bullied).  I think the best speculative fiction contains an element of realism, so that's how I write.

3. What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?
I like writing climax chapters, where the action comes to a head.  They make for the most exciting writing.  I'll say its extremely explosive, but I'm not giving away any spoilers, and my readers know I don't hesitate to kill off main characters if the plot calls for it.  You'll just have to read it if you want to know what happens.

4. How did you come up with the  title?
It follows a theme of place names in the story with spiritual connotations: Fervor, Elevation and now Transcendence.  It's a little ironic, intentionally so, because there's no mention of religion in the books, possibly because their culture worships science instead, and their scientists, the Scholars, serve as their "high priests".

5. What project are you working on now?
I'm working on Providence, the fourth book in the series, in response to a request from my publisher.

6. Will you have a new book coming out soon?
I have two other releases planned for this year - a collection of short stories MDP hopes to release in October, and Prisoners of Fate, Masters & Renegades #3, slotted for November

7. Are there certain characters you would like to go back to, or is there a theme or idea you’d love to work with?
I love character flaws and reluctant heroes or redeemed villains. I've always considered perfection boring, so speculative fiction presenting superhuman heroes who can do no wrong has never appealed to me.  I also have a thing for prophets and psychics even though they make plots horribly complicated.  I like to address the theme of bullying and abuse on a regular basis, because the worst villains are bullies in one way or another, and the notion of struggling and using cooperation to overcome adversity.  My characters may act as "lone wolves" at some point in a story, but they usually discover they can't manage without the support of others.

8. What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?
I can handle most criticism, as long as it makes sense.  A critic recently stated that the action and dialogue in Fervor was all trivial.  I found that offensive, not because he was attacking my story, but because the events in the story include a rape and a suicide.  I consider someone suggesting those things could be trivial offensive to me as a human being.  The best compliment was for a short story.  Someone compared my writing to Poe and Lovecraft.  I adored that review.

9. Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers? 
Perserverence is everything.  Write as much as you can as often as you can.  Try to take in sincere feedback and use it to make productive changes, and learn to weed out cliche writing advice and ignore it. Don't let anybody discourage you.  My writing was terrible when I first started, but over the years, with lots of effort and practice, it has definitely improved.  If I had given up because of a few unkind words, I would have missed the opportunity to share my stories.

10. Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers and fans?
The best gift you can give back to a writer (other than buying our books - lol) is feedback - leave reviews or e-mail writers you like with your thoughts.  I love fan-mail ,but I don't get it very often.

Just for fun:
What sort of Starbuck’s coffee would your characters order? Simple coffee, complicated soy-non-fat-extra-espresso-half-caff-nightmare? Yikes - I have so many characters, I'm sure I could span the spectrum.  Sam, my protagonist in Transcendence, would no doubt prefer something with a serious caffeine kick, like espresso.


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