Sunday, October 9, 2011

Interview with Canadian bestselling author Cheryl Kaye Tardif

Happy Sunday, everybody!

Internet is a wonderful thing, I have met so many wonderful people either through Twitter or Facebook and through my blog.

This is exactly how I met Canadian author and publisher Cheryl Kaye Tardif. I suggested to make an interview with her and today you will see the result of it. Since Cheryl has many roles and I was interested in making interview with her both as an author and as a publisher, we decided to go with showing her from the side of being an author during the first interview.

Ladies and gentlemen, please give a warm welcome to Cheryl!

First section is about Cheryl, second section is about her books, writing them, about characters etc, third part is about Cheryl's favorites.

Part I

MR: Please describe yourself with few sentences. Who are you?

CKT: I'm a dreamer who is constantly writing stories in my head. I see stories everywhere, in everything I see and hear and do. And I love to see others achieve their dreams.

MR: What inspired you to want to become writer?

CKT: When I was a toddler, I wanted to write like Dr. Suess. When I was a pre-teen, I wanted to write like Carolyn Keene, who was actually Edward Stratemeyer. When I was a teen, I wanted to write like Stephen King, Dean Koontz, John Saul, Danielle Steel, V.C. Andrews and a bunch of others. Then I discovered I had my own stories, so now I want to write like Cheryl Kaye Tardif, or Cherish D'Angelo (my romance pen name). :)

MR: Who did you want to become when you were a kid? What did you dream about?

CKT: When I realized there wasn't a college course on how to be an author, I wanted to become a famous hair stylist and make-up artist and work on movie stars. I dreamed of working on a cruise ship. Then I dreamed of having my own salon. I accomplished the latter at 23.

MR: What brought you to writing? When did the idea of writing your first book formed?

CKT: I started writing poetry and kept a diary as a teen. It was through various English/Language Arts teachers that I realized I was a good storyteller and a decent writer. While we lived in Bermuda, my English teacher Mary Higginson often used my stories as examples in the classroom. She made me feel like I was destined to become a great writer. I owe her a lot.

I wrote my first novel while in high school. It was called Beckoning Wrath and was a supernatural suspense. I brought it to show my teacher, but it was stolen from my locker. Sadly, that was before MS Word. I had typed it on my Mom's computer…no copies.

MR: What do you do when you are not writing? Do you have any hobbies?

CKT: I am a TV junkie. I think I enjoy television because it's the one thing that silences my inner writer…at least for a while. I watch a lot of TV series and movies, though often I am working as well—marketing online or checking email. I'm quite good at multitasking. And thank God for the invention of the PVR!

When I'm not watching TV, I'm writing or editing or marketing.

My hobby is making awesome margaritas. And cooking. And sitting in my hot tub…with a margarita. :)

MR: What is the most difficult aspect of being a writer for you?

CKT: Juggling so many awesome story ideas. I wonder if I'll ever write them all. And discovering in the past 5 years that I am dyslexic. It has been a challenge as it's slowed me down. And I don't like to be slowed down by anything!

MR: If you couldn’t be a writer, what would you be and do?

CKT: I'd be bored. I'd probably be doing some ho-hum job and I wouldn't be happy. I am doing EXACTLY what I dreamed of. I am where I wanted to be. And I'm still growing as a writer and now as a publisher. How many people can honestly say they are doing what they love? And how many people get to help other people achieve their dreams? I love my life!

MR: Who or what is your Muse?

CKT: My muse is my inner writer. Let's call her Stephanie King. I always said I wanted to be on a shelf by Stephen. I used to say I wanted to be Mrs. Stephen King, just so my books would be beside his. But Tabitha beat me to him.

MR: Did you ever experience writer’s block when the writing process just wasn’t moving ahead?

CKT: Never. I don't believe in writer's block. So I never have it. As soon as I say I'm going to write, I write. It flows faster than I can type. I think some people experience procrastination. For some reason they are afraid to finish a work, or afraid to keep working on it because they don't believe in themselves enough.

Part II

Let’s talk about books!

MR: You have many published books. Would you briefly give us an overview of how many published books you have and what are these about?

CKT: I have 9 ebooks available: Whale Song, The River, Divine Intervention, Divine Justice, Children of the Fog, Lancelot's Lady, Skeletons in the Closet & Other Creepy Stories, Remote Control, Whale Song: School Edition. All of these are available in trade paperback except Remote Control, which is a novelette.

Whale Song (& Whale Song: School Edition): A "compelling" story of family ties, love, tragedy, sacrifice and transformation that will change the way you view life...and death.

The River: A group of people travel to this unpredictable and deadly area in search of a missing father, only to discover that another world awaits them--one that is fraught with danger, deception, conspiracy, time travel, medical experimentation and murder. Who will make it out alive?

Divine Intervention: Jasi and her team members―Psychometric Empath and profiler Ben Roberts and Victim Empath Natassia Prushenko―are joined by Brandon Walsh, the handsome but skeptical Chief of Arson Investigations. In a manhunt that takes them from Vancouver to Kelowna, Penticton and Victoria, they are led down a twisting path of sinister secrets.

Divine Justice: One by one, members of Ontario's Parliament are disappearing, only to be found days later, disoriented and drugged. Or worse―dead. Police are stumped and the CFBI brings in a covert PSI team, agents with special psychic abilities.

Children of the Fog: Sadie O'Connell is a bestselling author and a proud mother. But her life is about to spiral out of control. After her six-year-old son Sam is kidnapped by a serial abductor, she nearly goes insane. But it isn't just the fear and grief that is ripping her apart. It's the guilt. Sadie is the only person who knows what the kidnapper looks like. And she can't tell a soul. For if she does, her son will be sent back to her in "little bloody pieces".

Lancelot's Lady: A Bahamas holiday from dying billionaire JT Lance, a man with a dark secret, leads palliative nurse Rhianna McLeod to Jonathan, a man with his own troubled past, and Rhianna finds herself drawn to the handsome recluse, while unbeknownst to her, someone with a horrific plan is hunting her down.

Skeletons in the Closet & Other Creepy Stories: Thirteen stories take you from one hold-your-breath chapter to the next. If you are a fan of Stephen King's short story collections, you'll enjoy this creepy collection by bestselling suspense author Cheryl Kaye Tardif.

Remote Control: In this dark, suspenseful and somewhat comical look at one man's desires, Remote Control by bestselling author Cheryl Kaye Tardif delivers a strong message:

Be careful what you wish for!

MR: What went through your mind when the first book you wrote was published?

CKT: I was elated. A friend of mine had told me not to worry about whether my book was published, but to write it for ME. So I did. And then it was published.

MR: How do you write? Do you sketch a plot first, create characters first and then starting to write?

CKT: The plot, characters, opening and ending are usually already in my mind, fermenting and growing stronger. Then I jot down some notes and briefly detail the plot in a Word doc. Then I start writing.

MR: What do you think is the most important thing while writing?

CKT: It's important to let your characters speak. To let their voices and stories shine through and to watch them grow. And it's important to portray their stories in such a way that you hook readers and draw them in. I do this with suspense, and with emotion.

MR: Where did you get the idea for your last book Children of the Fog from? How was the book born?

CKT: The idea for it came to me a couple of years ago. I always ask myself: What if THIS happened? And what are some of MY worst fears? The answer came quickly. My worst fear is that something happened to my daughter. So then I asked myself: What would I do if she were kidnapped? And that became: What would I do if I caught someone trying to kidnap her and he gave me an ultimatum? In Children of the Fog, Sadie is given 10 seconds to make a decision that no mother should ever have to make—let a man kidnap her son or watch him kill her son before her eyes. What would YOU choose?

MR: Which character do you love most in your books? Which character and in which books can you mostly relate to?

CKT: I think I love Sadie most. She's a very flawed woman, not overly strong in some areas. She's fought alcoholism and won, but she's a bit timid when it comes to how she deals with her husband and his infidelities. In the beginning she's a bit of a door mat. She won't even swear. But after Sam is kidnapped, everything changes. Her life spirals out of control and she must learn to fight to survive. Sadie's flaws make her one of the most human characters I've created.

Sarah from Whale Song is the one character I can most relate to. In fact many people thought Whale Song was my memoir. But it isn't. It's a beautiful, haunting story of family and love, deception and tragedy, redemption and forgiveness, and it has changed people's lives. Sarah is the only character I've created who was born from me. Some of her history is my history. The bullying she faces, the moving, the racism—that comes from my life. Whale Song is my "heart book" and is my most successful to date, a national bestseller in Canada.

MR: I’m aware that your books are pure fiction, but I’d still like to ask: are any of the characters inspired by real persons? Do you base your fiction on some experiences you have had and people you have met?

CKT: Some of my characters are based loosely on real people or inspired by events in my life. But I'm not telling you which ones. lol

MR: What was the best summer read for you this summer? Why?

CKT: The best summer read for me this year is an anthology that my company published called WHAT FEARS BECOME, edited by Jeani Rector from The Horror Zine. It brought me back to my horror/suspense roots and features some fabulous works by well-known horror authors, as well as works by lesser known writers, artists and poets. What I enjoyed most about this book is the versatility in writing styles. If you enjoy suspense, I highly recommend it.

MR: I must ask you about your next book to be published. What will it be about? Anything you can tell us already?

CKT: I'm actually working on three projects: a suspenseful novelette, a YA novel and a suspense thriller that has a tie-in to Children of the Fog. I have no idea when these will be completed or published, but I'm hoping to have at least one out next year.

Part III – Favorites

Who is your favorite author? Stephen King, if I can only pick one.
What is your favorite book or series? The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley.
What is your favorite book blog you follow?
What is your favorite song? Anything on The Bounce radio station. I LOVE music.
What is your favorite season? Summer.
What is your favorite food? Mexican. Olé!
What is your favorite car? My 2011 Mustang Convertible, V8, in cherry red metallic.
What is your favorite color? Purple.
What is your favorite movie? Avatar.
What is your favorite time of the day? Afternoon…especially if it's sunny.
What is your favorite weather? Sunshine but not too hot and no major humidity.

My links:

Thank you so much, Cheryl! I really appreciate that you took the time to answer all my many questions!
Happy reading!


  1. Great interview, Inga and Cheryl! I also like the way you presented it - like sound bytes, with good breaks of white space.
    Cheryl, you are truly an inspiration for all of us writers.

  2. Thank you, Inga. This interview was a lot of fun.

  3. Melodie, thank you! :)

    Cheryl, I enjoyed it very much. Thanks for taking the time!