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Award Winning Mystery Author Cheryl Kaye Tardif Interviewed

Norm Goldman, Editor of the book reviewing and author interviewing site, www.bookpleasures.com interviews award winning mystery author Cheryl Kaye Tardif.

Today, Norm Goldman, Editor of Bookpleasures.com is pleased to have as our guest, Canadian award winning mystery author Cheryl Kaye Tardif.

  

Cheryl has authored three novels and her most recent novel, The River, was released in September 2005; her two previous novels being, Whale Song and Divine Intervention. In 2004, Tardif was nominated for the Lieutenant Governor of Alberta Arts Award. In addition, Cheryl has been extensively interviewed by the media and she has been featured in The Edmonton Examiner, Edmonton Woman Magazine, Alberta Native News, California Chronicle and Real Estate Weekly (Edmonton). According to photojournalist, Heather Andrews Miller, who interviewed the author for the Real Estate Weekly article, Cheryl Kaye Tardif is a “gem in the literary world”.


Good day Cheryl and thank you for participating in our interview.

Norm:

Cheryl, when did your passion for writing begin? Why did you become a writer? What kept you going? What makes you write a new book?

Cheryl:

Thank you for inviting me. My passion for writing started at a young age. In fact, I don’t ever remember NOT writing. Even as a child, I was spinning stories in my head. I even had the audacity to think I could “rewrite” The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss (although I was too young to even write my own name legibly). I like to think I was a “born writer”…or perhaps a reincarnation of one of the great authors of the past. I became a writer because I “had to”. I honestly believe I had no choice. The stories kept spawning and growing in my mind; often they appeared in dreams or as “mind movies”. The stories that haunt me most, like Whale Song did for two years, are the ones I write first.

Norm:

How do you come up with ideas for what you write? What methods do you use to flesh out your idea to determine if it’s salable?

Cheryl:

Ideas are sparked by conversations, something I hear or see or sometimes by a title or word. Whale Song was inspired by native legends that I had grown up with on the Queen Charlotte Islands of BC. Divine Intervention came out of an interest to write a series—something fun and to explore psychic phenomenon. The River was another gripping plot, one that originated when my mother told me about a river (she didn’t know where it was in Canada) that had a mysterious past and a friend of hers who wanted to go down it. People had disappeared and headless corpses and bodies had been discovered along its shores. I thought my mother’s friend was nuts! And then I thought: “That is SO a story!” The stronger the need is to write something, the more salable I believe it is.

Norm:

When you write novels, do you have a particular audience in mind?

Cheryl: My audience is generally adults (30-60), with a higher percentage of women readers. However, with Whale Song, I reached a wider scope of readers 7-96 years of age. Divine Intervention and The River has appealed to an audience 14-70. And The River has already proven to be my best seller with men!

Norm:

How much research goes into writing your novels and can you explain some of your research techniques?

Cheryl:

In all three cases, and in my current projects, I use the Internet to fully research all historical, technological and geographical elements. That’s how I found out that the Nahanni River was THE river my mother had told me about. And I hunt down professionals or experts in various fields to assist with more technical details, such as law enforcement, river rafting, biotechnology and nanobots. I’ve been sent attachments, books, legal documents etc. to examine for factual information. It’s amazing how many people will help out when you send them an email explaining an exciting project. The River took the longest time to research: 5 months (before and during writing it).

Norm:

In the last year or so have you seen any changes in the way publishers publish and/or distribute books? Are there any emerging trends developing?

Cheryl:

I have noticed a decline in larger traditional publishers who accept unsolicited manuscripts. Most of the “big houses” want authors with literary agent representation. And many literary agents aren’t accepting new clients unless referred by their existing clientele. This probably explains the rise in self-published or POD (print on demand) authors, such as myself. I chose Trafford Publishing because I was tired of the rejection letters piling up in my basement. Trafford gave me my dream and I haven’t regretted that decision a bit. Trafford has gotten me into Alberta and BC bookstores for book signings, and I’ve been told I have the highest and most consistent sales for a local author. And Trafford gets me listed on Amazon.ca, Amazon.com, Indigo.ca, BarnesandNoble.com and more. As for emerging trends, look for more POD publishers who, like Trafford, have made deals with major distributors that will benefit authors even more.

Norm:

What's your advice to achieve success as a writer and/or author?

Cheryl:

I could say “write!”, but that’s what most authors will say. Instead, I say: “Dare to Dream…and Dream BIG!” Sometimes you have to take a risk, veer away from what’s “acceptable” in the writing world or break some rules. I say: “Break those rules!” The best response I received from publishers and literary agents was when I sent out an e-query that broke all the rules. It began with something like…”Looking for a literary agent/publisher with passion, dedication and drive to match my own!” It included a brief bio and attachments of book covers and excerpts. I received an invitation from both a publisher and a literary agent to submit my work.

Norm:

As a follow up, many writers want to be published, but not everyone is cut out for a writer's life. What are some signs that perhaps someone is not cut out to be a writer and should try to do something else for a living?

Cheryl:

Those who say: “I always wanted to write a book” yet have never picked up a pen or have no idea what they’d write about, should stick with whatever they are doing now. A writer KNOWS they are a writer. They may need to take some courses, read a ton of books on the craft, but they will WANT to do so, and they will get better and better. There is always room for improvement. If you aren’t sure whether you can cut it, my best advice is to get a sample of your work in front of a critique group (this is not your best friend or mother). Get an unbiased but qualified assessment of your skills by at least 6-10 people. If the majority say you’re on to something, get writing! Now back to the old cliché…Writer’s write! If you aren’t writing something, anything, at least every other day, you won’t make it as a writer. I write because it’s like breathing to me.

Norm:

Are there any unique ways you market your books and how have you used the Internet to boost your writing career?

Cheryl:

Advertising was my forte when I was in the JOB situation. As a full-time writer, I can use this to my advantage…and I am always the first to pass along some tips. For starters, if you write (whether published or unpublished) you MUST have a web site. In order to successfully market yourself and your work, you need to establish an Internet Identity (I believe I have an article on exactly that can be found along with some other articles of mine at EZINE ARTICES.)

Write articles and include a link back to your site. Make sure your site is optimized with great metatags and titles. If you don’t know what this is, you’re better off paying someone to create and maintain your site. If you have even one book published or self-published, then you have a ton of work ahead of you. Start emailing any site that might link to yours; exchange links.

BookAdz.com, a site that I run, promotes Canadian and American authors or writers, whether published or not. Membership is very affordable. You need to get yourself out there….exposure. There are many other sites such as AuthorsDen.com, NorthWestWriters.com, AlbertaAuthors.com, Crime Writers of Canada, and many more that will help you get noticed on the Internet. Send fliers out before Christmas, advertising a Neighbors Only Special on your books. Schedule as many book signings as you can fit in each week from September to December (the best time for signings), and attend any trade shows you can afford. If you can’t afford them, contact the managers and ask what you can do to help them advertise in exchange for a cheaper booth. For more tips email me at cherylktardif@shaw.ca.

Norm:

I recently interviewed mega-selling author Linda Dominque Grosvenor who began her career as a self-published author. When I asked her about her experiences as a self-published author she replied as follows: “I single handedly sold 13,000 copies of my debut novel and I think that it definitely taught me a ton of things about the literary business and how it works. I think that when an author is published traditionally they don’t really learn the business at all, they get a royalty statement every month and try to make heads or tails of it.” Would you care to comment and what has been your experience?

Cheryl:

I agree with Ms. Grosvenor. You learn so much as a self-published author. You have the opportunity to build wonderful relationships with local Coles, Chapters, and Indigo and independent bookstore managers. And there are advantages of “control” regarding aspects of your book, such as cover design and title. However, I’d love to get a referral to Ms. Grosvenor’s literary agent or publisher!  There are also disadvantages to being self-published. We don’t qualify to be on the bestsellers lists…and New York Times won’t take us seriously. Our distribution is limited. The major chains won’t stock your books automatically on their shelves unless your POD publisher has a returnability clause, so we’re forced to put our books on consignment. Most POD’s don’t accept returns, or if they do, the author has to PAY for that privilege…and there goes those royalties!

Norm:

Are there any authors you admire and look for inspiration?

Cheryl: J.K. Rowling is a huge inspiration! Although, from what I’ve read, she was in the right time, right place and had the right connections. I’m still waiting. Also, Stephen King, and Nora Roberts are my idols. I have admired them for years, along with Margaret Atwood and many more. I am an avid reader, always have been.

Norm:

Where do you see yourself in five years as an author?

Cheryl: In the right place, right time, right connections? Well, if I continue writing according to my list of “haunting” story plots, I should have completed Divine Justice, Children of the Fog, Beyond the River, Divine Sanctuary and perhaps Skeletons in the Closet. Ultimately, I will be published by Pocket Books or one of the other “big houses”, with a 10-book contract. Oh, and Whale Song and The River (the movies) will be nominated for Academy Awards. (Dream BIG, remember?)

Norm:

Is there anything you wish to add that we have not covered?

Cheryl:

My friends and fellow writers call me “Shameless Promoter” because I talk openly about what I do, and I promote myself and my novels everywhere I go (including the grocery store!) My response is always: “If I don’t promote myself, who the heck will?” On that note: Anytime Bantam, Warner, Avon or Random House or HarperCollins has an opening for a dedicated, passionate full-time author who is committed to writing at least two novels per year, they can contact me at cherylktardif@shaw.ca. Thank you so much for asking enlightening questionsFree Articles, and for making me remember why I do this. Breathe…

Thanks once again and good luck with all of your books and future endeavors.

Source: Free Articles from ArticlesFactory.com

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Norm Goldman is the editor of the book reviewing and author interviewing site, Bookpleasures.com.

Bookpleasures.com comprises over 25 international reviewers who come from all walks of life and who review all genre. Norm personally also offers an express review service.  To find out more about this service CLICK HERE



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