Monday, March 18, 2013

Interview with Cheryl Kaye Tardif


Can you give us a brief overview of your latest book? Is it part of a series?
SUBMERGED is a thriller with a hint of supernatural, and I think it's going to leave readers holding their breath. This is a story of battling weakness and guilt, and finding redemption.

Marcus Taylor is a former paramedic and recovering addict. Working as a 911 operator, he's drowning in guilt and remorse over the tragic deaths of his wife and son. Rebecca Kingston is a mother of two and an abused wife who has finally had enough. She decides to take a much needed weekend holiday, but it doesn't turn out to be as relaxing as she'd hoped. Trapped in her vehicle as it submerges, the only thing keeping her sane is a voice—Marcus's—on the other end of her dying cell phone.

SUBMERGED is a standalone thriller. However, it has an interesting tie-in to my international bestseller, CHILDREN OF THE FOG. And vice versa.

Do you have a favorite character?
Marcus is my favorite. He's so human, so flawed, so angry in his guilt. He has made mistakes and suffered for them. But he's also a very likeable guy. He's trying to deal with his losses, searching for a better life, for a future. And when put to the test, he's a hero who boldly does the right thing.

Have you ever had a minor character evolve into a major one? Did that change the direction of the novel at all?
Actually, John Zur, the detective in this story was supposed to be a relatively minor character. After all, Marcus is the hero in SUBMERGED. But as I wrote, John became a more integral part of the plot. He started to show up more often, and he always had some advice for Marcus. Interestingly, my agent suggested I consider a third book featuring John (and Jay, the detective from CHILDREN OF THE FOG), with tie-ins to the other two—even though these are complete standalone thrillers.  It may happen.

Did you try the traditional route to publishing, i.e. querying agents/publishers?
Oh yes! And I have the rejection letters to show for it. In fact, I could probably wallpaper my office with them—twice. I was traditionally published by a small company in 2006. They released the second edition of WHALE SONG. But they closed doors a few years later and I republished the novel for its third edition.

I've also queried agents galore. I did sign with Jack Scovil from Scovil Galen Ghosh Literary Agency a few years ago, but nothing much happened and I discovered later he was ill and passed away.

In March 2012, after huge success with CHILDREN OF THE FOG on Amazon (it made it to #4 in the Top 100 Paid OVERALL, out of almost 2 million ebooks and sold nearly 50,000 copies in a few months), I was contacted by two agents. I signed with an agent from Trident Media Group in NY.

Are you currently under a traditional publishing contract for future books or do you have manuscripts that you will self-publish?
I am under contract for future books, but I also have the freedom to self-publish. My agent and I are working as a team, with not only my career in mind but also my readers. It was my agent who suggested I publish SUBMERGED on my own because she knew I had readers waiting and she didn't want them to wait. Neither did I. Our game plan is to take SUBMERGED to a major publisher once it has sold a substantial amount of copies, since I'll be able to get better contract terms.

If you used a graphic designer/publisher’s designer, how involved were you during the creative process for your cover?
I am very involved. I've made a point of finding talented designers I can work with. I always have a concept in my mind that is very detailed. I'm very artistic, but I don't work with cover designing programs, so I describe my vision and my designers make it happen.

What is your writing process? Do you listen to music or do you like silence?
I listen to mood music when I write. When I wrote WHALE SONG, I listened to a lot of killer whale/dolphin music. With THE RIVER I had a very tribal instrumental CD. WITH SUBMERGED and CHILDREN OF THE FOG I listened to anything intense and driving. Usually only instrumental.

Do you outline your story or just go where your muse takes you?
I make general notes of my story, anything that comes to mind while it's fermenting in my mind. Once I start writing, it just takes off. I always know the beginning, major scenes in the middle, and how it ends. I allow my characters to tell their story through me. They tell me where to go. ;-)

Did you hire an editor to review your manuscript before publishing?
Definitely yes! I don't agree with publishing a book that hasn’t been through at least 2 other sets of eyes. Mine go through numerous edits by me, then by at least 2 editors, then by a final proofreader. Yes, sometimes we all miss something, just like the big pubs do. But you'll find my books to be fairly solid when it comes to editing.

What advice would you give a new author just entering into the self-publishing arena?
I would give them the same wonderful advice a friend once gave me. If you have a story idea and you want to write, write. Don't worry if it gets published or how you'll publish it. Write it for yourself. Write it because you have to.

Once you've written your book, learn everything there is to know about the publishing industry. This is a business. If you plan to earn an income from your writing, you must be marketing savvy.

And never, ever let anyone tell you that you can't do it. You can!

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

 
Enter Cheryl’s March Giveaway – 59 Prizes! http://www.cherylktardif.blogspot.com