November 17th, 2008 18:54 EST
Chase Von and Canadian Sensation Cheryl Kaye Tardif!!!
Chase Von: Cheryl, on behalf of the Student Operated Press and myself, thanks so much for taking some time out from the latest novel you`re working on to spend with our readers. Recently I interviewed a mutual friend, the incredibly talented writer, Betty Dravis. Like Betty, you`re a talent to be reckoned with. Already you`re being compared to Dean Koontz, J.D. Robb and the late Michael Crichton, plus many others.
You`re also extremely popular in Canada and now the rest of the world is certainly finding out about you as well. I`ve got a lot of questions I want to ask, but first can you tell our readers what your childhood was like, where you grew up, and when you first knew that writing was your passion?
Cheryl: Thanks so much for the warm welcome, Chase. I was born in Vancouver, BC, but spent most of my youth on the Queen Charlotte Islands, just north of Vancouver Island. Since there wasn`t much to do there, I started writing. I was drawn to writing dark pieces--suspenseful stories and depressing poetry. You know, teenage angst and all. When I was a teen I wrote a weekly column for the local newspaper. That, plus reading my favorite authors` novels, hooked me into thinking of writing as a career.
At 14 I moved to Bermuda; my father was in the Canadian Armed Forces so we moved a lot. I loved it in Bermuda, especially when my English Composition teacher Mary Higginson saw something in me, in my writing, and began to coach me. She made me feel like I could be a writer like my idols, who ironically were (and still are) Stephen King and Dean Koontz. She would read my work in class. She seemed to have taken a special interest in me, maybe because I was so introverted. (Yes, I WAS very shy. I don`t know what happened afterward.)
Being compared to other authors whom I truly admire is a HUGE honor. It`s interesting to note that each of my books has been compared to very different authors. Whale Song has me compared to Jodi Picoult, Judy Blume and even Luanne Rice, who gave me a wonderful review blurb. The River has me compared to mainly male writers--Dean Koontz, James Patterson and Michael Crichton. With Divine Intervention I`m compared mostly to Kay Hooper, J.D. Robb (aka Nora Roberts) and Iris Johansen.
Chase Von: Being from a military family, I myself lived all over the place coming up as a kid. I failed first grade because, like Einstein, to me it was boring. (Smile). OK, perhaps that doesn`t quite fit but when I did learn to read and when one day all the little squiggly lines seemed to make sense, I loved it!
I remember reading Black Beauty, Big Red, Call of the Wild, Shane, Charlotte`s Web, Encyclopedia Brown and being transported to another world. The reason I bring that up is because I read your two short stories and the first few chapters of Whale Song and as a writer you definitely have the gift to take people from wherever they are, right into what you`re writing about. I honestly couldn`t wait to see what was on the next page and I also really want to finish Whale Song now that I`ve started it.
What really got me was in all that I read it hit me at a personal level. I can relate to not wanting to move because we did that often, and with the other story, I responded to you with my soul, although we won`t be discussing that here. (Smile) I can only imagine how many people read your works and want to tell you their story as well. Do you get that a lot?
Cheryl: I have noticed that the topics I choose definitely strike chords in people. I envision my characters as people, with all the back story and baggage we all carry. I always want to know what makes them tick. This makes readers view these characters as if they`re real people. My plots often make readers question something, usually their own life.
For instance, Whale Song explores assisted suicide, racism, bullying and the loss of a loved one. How many of your readers can relate to at least one of these topics? I`ve received so many emails from people who have said that reading Whale Song made them finally forgive someone, or it healed a broken relationship. One woman told me it saved her life; another said Whale Song changed her life for the better. Mothers and daughters have been brought closer together. The stories I`ve heard have been truly amazing. Whale Song has become my most powerful work to date.
Chase Von: A mutual friend of ours, Chrissy K. McVay, author of Souls Of The North Wind, spent years and years researching the Inuit and their cultural beliefs as well as the plant life, the animals and everything that she could on Alaska. The result was a book that comes across as both entertaining and truly enjoyable, but also with a sense of realness when it comes to the actual place where her story takes place. I`m one of those people who when I read something and enjoy it, I learn something too, something I didn`t know.
Do you also make it a point to really research the things in your works before you write about them? And do you also feel as a writer, and being a world class writer, that at that level you not only entertain, but also feel a need educate people as well?
Cheryl: I always conduct research for my novels, usually a month before I start writing, and then throughout the work. I think it`s important that even though I write fiction I keep the story as true to fact where needed and as believable as possible. One thing I decided to do early on was set my novels in various places in Canada. I`ll use other international locations sometimes too, but Canada is the base. There is an element of education too; I learn something as well as my readers.
With Whale Song, I researched the tough topic of assisted suicide. It is difficult to read about such a controversial and emotional topic, but I did it. I also researched native legends. This was vital to my story, and amazingly every time I needed a legend to offer a certain lesson I would find the most perfect one. Readers get the chance to learn about native legends and killer whales in Whale Song.
In Divine Intervention, I researched psychic abilities and government agencies in Canada, but I was given far more leniency to use my imagination since there is no concrete proof that true psychic powers exist. It is interesting to note that some policing agencies have used psychics successfully.
The River was my most researched novel as I had to learn about nanotechnology, stem cell research and the Nahanni River. I was very lucky in that I was able to connect with the owner of Nahanni River Adventures and author Neil Hartling. He answered so many of my questions about the area. My research was conducted online and through various book sources and papers.
Chase Von: In one of your stories called Remote Control, which you wrote back in the seventies, you have a guy who thinks he can wish things into existence. I don`t want to give away too much but yet another incredible write, my friend! (Smile). When I was reading it, I noticed you had updated the original 1987 short story to include a reference to a book that took the world by storm about a year ago--The Secret by Rhonda Burns. Oprah took a huge interest in this book since it includes thoughts on the Law of Attraction by such notables as Jack Canfield, Dr. Beckwith and various other life coaches, teachers and motivational speakers. Judyth Piazza, my boss here, has even interviewed Jack Canfield, Zig Ziglar and others that are known for that.
So first, why did you use that particular book title in your novelette Remote Control? Do you believe in the law of attraction? And have you sent any of your work to Oprah?
Cheryl: I thought The Secret fit perfectly with my main character`s personality. Harry is a lazy bum who is dissatisfied with his life. He believes that if he wishes hard enough for fame and fortune, it`ll just land in his tire-tube lap. He reads The Secret while on the toilet. (We all know that men can get in a lot of reading there.) Harry doesn`t realize that even with the law of attraction one must work for things. You have to put yourself out there, do whatever it takes, learn and constantly grow. But Harry`s only interested in growing two things--his belly and money. lol
I have believed in the Law of Attraction way before I ever heard it termed as such. I`ve read books by Og Mandino, Zig Ziglar, T. Harv Eker and so many others like them since I was in my mid-twenties. I`ve attended conferences by such speakers in Canada and the US and have even taken courses. I believe I have succeeded in everything I`ve done as a career, and the best thing is that all my past J.O.B. training in copy writing, marketing, advertising, and motivational speaking has prepared me to be not just a good writer but a successful marketer of my books.
My motto: Dare to Dream "and Dream BIG! And if that doesn`t work, dream BIGGER!
But with dreaming, there must be some positive action forward. Poor Harry from Remote Control hasn`t figured that part out. You can read Remote Control on Textnovel.com and please give me a thumbs up vote if you enjoy it. It has always been one of my favorites, and this revamped novelette version is even better than the original.
I have sent Oprah every single one of my novels. I have no idea if she`s seen them or read any. I`ve even tried to email her, plus I`ve responded to some of the calls for show guests. I haven`t heard a thing back, but I know she is swamped by authors trying to get noticed. I do believe Oprah missed out on reading a novel that has literally changed people`s lives, and that is rare for a work of fiction like Whale Song. I hope one day to sit in the studio with her. I promise not to jump on her couch. Perhaps Finding Bliss, the novel I`m writing on my iPhone, will catch her eye.
Chase Von: You`re writing your next novel, "Finding Bliss" on an iPhone 3G. So how did that come about? And how is it going? And most importantly, when it`s a New York Times Best Seller are you going to be in commercials sharing with the world that the book was written on that product? And just so you know, if it was me, for that kind of endorsement I would be telling that company: The money! Show me the money! (Smile)
Cheryl: Finding Bliss came to me as what I call a mind burst ". It`s when I am slammed with a story concept so strong that I have to make some notes. I was watching TV one evening and a commercial for Bliss chocolates came on. My first reaction? Mmm, chocolate. My next reaction: hey, Bliss would make a great girl`s name. Then "BAM! I immediately envisioned this ragged young girl Bliss. She had scraggly blond hair, ripped jeans and dirt smudges on her face. What is Bliss`s story? Again, I was hit with: foster child, runaway, street child, unloved, wanting love, lost, finding herself "Finding Bliss. This entire process took maybe 5 minutes and Bliss was born. And so was the title.
I needed to make some notes and there were no pens or paper beside me. But I did have my brand new iPhone 3G. I`d only bought it a few days before. So I opened up the Notes application, started writing down my thoughts and saved it. I then realized I could email it to myself, which I did. Later, I went to my PC, opened the email, copied it and saved it as an MS Word doc. Ta-da!
The following day my husband and I went out for lunch and I made a few more notes about Bliss on my iPhone. I told my husband what I was doing and he came up with the great idea of writing the entire novel on my iPhone. He even suggested I contact Apple to let them know what I was doing. So I did. I`ve called and left messages 2 or 3 times, and I`ve emailed 3 or 4 times now. No reply from Apple yet, but I`m hopeful that once they see I`m serious and that their iPhone 3G is being used in such a unique way, they`ll call me. I`d like to thank Apple for this amazing product. I was a 100% loyal PC user until I got my iPhone 3G.
I have already written the first 2 chapters of Finding Bliss, but I can`t focus on it fully until I finish Divine Justice, book 2 in my Divine paranormal suspense series. The great thing about using the iPhone in this way is that it is completely portable. I can work on Finding Bliss ANYWHERE. And I do! I even wrote a bit when I was in Las Vegas last month. Las Vegas will now be a setting in the novel. When Bliss reaches New York Times Best Seller status, I will gladly officially endorse the iPhone 3G and do commercials!
Since word of my exciting endeavor spread, I`ve been interviewed by TV, radio, newspapers and online. I was personally invited to submit some of my work to Textnovel com, a site started by Stan Soper after he read about the huge cell phone novel craze that swept across Japan a couple of years ago. Textnovel is the first site of its kind for English readers and writers, and my novelette Remote Control has been selected as an Editor`s Picks.
Chase Von: I was once on national TV myself, they had a film crew come down and film us when we were in MCT. (Marine Combat Training) and we sang Respect by Aretha Franklin. Years later my wife`s niece called and said, "I think I just saw Chase on TV!" No disrespect to the Queen of Soul because at the time it was fun, but then it felt a little embarrassing. And no, I`m saying the name of the show. (Smile)
You have appeared on the hit TV shows The Commish and The Heights, so not only are you an award winning author, but you have some acting skills as well. I know one of the writers you really respect and admire is Stephen King, and he likes to make cameo appearances in some of the movies that are based on his books. So will you soon be doing the same? (Smile)
Cheryl: I do have to clarify; I was a background actor on a few episodes of The Commish and The Heights; both were filmed in Vancouver, BC. It was a blast! I always met great people and I`d encourage my new friends to make up roles in their heads so that even if they were just walking down a sidewalk they could feel like an actor "maybe they were late for an appointment with the President, or they were husband and wife dining in a fancy restaurant moments before the husband says he`s having an affair. In one scene of The Heights I actually took off my wedding ring and pretended that the older man I was dining with (fake food) was my sugar daddy and I was his call girl for the evening. He got a kick out of this. And my husband just rolled his eyes when I told him later. lol
I`ve never studied acting though. I did play a role in a musical that I wrote, produced and directed for a church, but to be honest I wasn`t that good. I had to step in at the last moment and fill one of the roles so I`d had no time to learn the lines. The show was so successful we were asked to open for a second night. I think I make a better director. Some of my friends say I`d do well in stand-up comedy. But I like killing people off in my novels even better.
However, I would absolutely LOVE to appear in films based on my books. And I promise, I`ll learn any lines I have to just to have that cameo. Cameos may have to be written into the contracts.
Chase Von: People are already lining up to buy Finding Bliss, which you`re still working and writing on your IPhone 3G, not to mention you have been on radio and TV and newspapers throughout Canada and the US. You wrote a script for the Central Alberta Diversity Association`s racial harmony campaign and your script placed third and was produced and aired across Canada. Your novelette Remote Control was personally requested by Stan Soper to be included on his immensely popular site, Textnovel.com.
And Whale Song not only won a Gold Star for Excellence but was also voted the 2007 cover of the year in another contest. I read this review of Whale Song from Writer`s Digest: A wonderfully well-written story...wonderful characters...exquisitely described...would make a wonderful movie. Do you have any offers on the table for turning Whale Song or any of your other novels into a movie?
Cheryl: I hold the film rights for Divine Intervention and The River and I`ve received a lot of interest from Canadian and American producers and directors. No deals are on the table as of now, but I am hopeful. The River would make an excellent action suspense thriller and I can definitely see it on the big screen. One producer was considering Divine Intervention for a TV series, and I can see that working too. Anyone in the film industry who is interested can certainly contact me for more info.
The publisher of Whale Song is working on the movie end of things, but he has told me Whale Song has had a LOT of interest from various film producers and companies. Some from Hollywood are even reading the novel that I call my heart book ". I hope that one day Whale Song (the movie) will be made. I think it has so much to offer an audience, and like the movie Whale Rider, it would appeal to ALL ages. When I really think of it, I can picture so clearly watching Whale Song on the big screen. The more I imagine it, the more I see the darkened theatre and the oh-so-still audience "shhh ?
Someone is sniffling in the row ahead of me "out comes the Kleenex to dab at the eyes "I hear a whimper. There`s me in the very back row not even bothering with Kleenex, just letting the tears flow as I watch the movie--MY movie. Whale Song is so sweet, so sad, so inspiring, so hopeful. It makes me want to hug my loved ones close and never let them go.
The movie is over now and people are leaving. I hear them That was awesome! ? What a wonderful movie. That was the best movie. ? It was good, for a chick flick. Perfect for the whole family. ? I`ve never cried so hard. "
Even that man over there has tears in his eyes "wait! Is that you, Chase? lol
I envision all this and soon I smell buttered popcorn. The movie version of Whale Song is so real to me, I taste popcorn. I can`t wait. The law of attraction, right?
Chase Von: When did you get drawn into writing about mystery and suspense and who are some of the authors you admire in addition to Stephen King and Dean Koontz?
Cheryl: I admire so many suspense authors it`s hard to name them all, but some of my other favorites are: the late and most wonderful Michael Crichton, Michael Connelly, Sue Grafton, Jeffrey Deaver, Kathy Reichs, Gail Bowen, Patricia Cornwell, James Patterson (I`d love to co-write a novel with him!), Andrew Gross, Daniel Kalla, John Grisham, Lisa Gardner, Lisa Jackson, Lisa Unger (I`m collecting Lisas!), Kay Hooper, J.D. Robb, Illona Haus "I could go on and on, and these are just my faves that write suspense.
Chase Von: Recently I saw a video that took place at the United Nations. A girl from Canada and her friends (all 12 and 13 year olds) raised the money to fly to Brazil to attend the conference. The video is called: The Girl Who Silenced The World For Five Minutes. She gave a very moving speech about how adults are ruining this planet and that the reason the girls were there was to let them know it was their planet (and future generations) as well. Here`s the clip for others that wish to see it:
I was wondering, what are some of the causes you feel strongly about?
Cheryl: I`ve always been very conscious of the plight of others in the world, but I`ve realized I just can`t support every cause, no matter how much I`d love to. Since the brutal murder of my younger brother Jason Kaye in 2006, I`ve devoted a portion of my royalties from EVERY sale of Whale Song to help 3 Edmonton nonprofits--Hope Mission, the Bissell Centre and the Mustard Seed Church. My husband and I have spoken to city officials about ways to make the inner city a safer environment. We have also joined Hope Mission`s Friends of the Friendless, and we donate money every month. And I was a regular blood donor for many years, until a chronic iron deficiency left me unable to do so. I believe everyone who can do so SHOULD donate blood. It might be YOUR son or daughter who needs it. My husband still donates.
Chase Von: I like to ask this question also. (Smile). What are some of your favorite meals? And besides writing, what are some other things you truly enjoy?
Cheryl: My favorite meals are my daughter Jessica`s chili and tortilla chips, my husband`s Dad`s surprise "( which isn`t a surprise anymore), anything at Red Lobster, Chicken Pecan Salad from Boston Pizza and Chinese Food from Smilies or Tasty World. You`ll notice I`ve not mentioned anything I have to cook. lol I used to love cooking, but now I`m so busy that I just don`t cook like I used to.
Other than writing, I love writing and writing. Ok, seriously, I`m a TV addict. I watch all the crime shows, Desperate Housewives (I think they should introduce a new character--a writer who starts writing about them), Survivor, House (he can fix me up any time!) "The list goes on and on. For me, watching shows or movies is the only thing that shuts my brain down, although occasionally something I see on TV sparks a story--like Finding Bliss. I also love playing games on my iPhone. I`m not very good though; in the racing games I`m always crashing into the walls. I do drive better than that. Really.
Chase Von: How important is family to you?
Cheryl: I would not be where I am today if it weren`t for the support of my family and friends. My family is THE MOST IMPORTANT thing to me. Without my family, I`d be nowhere in life. Without their support, I wouldn`t be a published author. My mother supported me financially in the early days of my writing career. My husband Marc supports me sometimes more than I support myself. Many times I have been tempted to take a part-time job and he keeps assuring me that writing full time is where I need to be. He is right. I need to be doing this.
My daughter Jessica is my very breath. I lost my first baby 4 hours after his birth, and when Jessica was born I made so many promises to her and myself. She has supported my writing since the beginning. The one thing I want for her is the freedom to discover who and what she is meant to be in this world. I am dedicated to my craft, to making a name for myself in the writing world, so that she will be proud of me, but also so that she will have a legacy and an inheritance somewhere down the road, something she can then pass down to her children.
Chase Von: What would you say if you were standing in front of a microphone that could be heard by every child on the planet and regardless of what language it was they spoke, they would understand you? What positive advice would you give the children, if that were possible?
Cheryl: To those who bully, fight, abuse, kill, hurt themselves, hate "be kind to each other and to yourself, for you are each placed in this world for a reason, and it is up to you to find your true purpose, something you cannot do without support from others. True purpose is something good, never bad. Be kind to a stranger because you haven`t walked in their shoes or lived their life. Be kind to a homeless person because you are fortunate to have a home. Be kind to anyone who is a different race because only fate decided where YOU would be born, and we are all people of the world "one world, one voice, one future. What will you leave behind when all traces of your physical body are gone? Will you leave a legacy of hate and death, or a legacy of love and life? It`s your choice. Choose now and live your choice.
Chase Von: Can you tell our readers where they can find out more about you? And also list the links to your various web sites so they can find the works they can read for free and the ones they will want to buy after they have had a taste? (Smile). Also if you have any book signings that might be coming up so those in the states will be able to attend?
Cheryl: At this time I have so many fiction novels that I want to write and I`m not sure I`ll live long enough to write the 40+ books I have on my ever-expanding list. I may have to be cryogenically frozen so they can bring me back later in order to write more. lol
Readers can learn more about me and my novels by visiting my websites:
http://www.cherylktardif.com and http://www.whalesongbook.com
You can read my main blog at: http://www.cherylktardif.blogspot.com
I am also on Myspace, Facebook and a fan site on Facebook, Goodreads, Shelfari, LibraryThing, Twitter, and in the new Chapters.ca Online Community.
Quick links for ordering Whale Song, The River or Divine Intervention on Amazon.com:
The latter 2 are also available as Kindles. I also have 2 Amazon Shorts "Picture Perfect and A Grave Error, and an Amazon profile page.
I am also one of many authors on 2 multi-author blogs:
The Write Type " Multi-Author Musings and Criminal Minds at Work.
And don`t forget to check out Textnovel.com for my short stories Remote Control and OUIJA.
My book signing and events schedule can be found at:
Book clubs: I have special offers available for clubs that choose my books. Please email me at email@example.com for more info.
Media: I am always available for interviews! I love to talk "a lot.
Publishers: My agent is the wonderful Jack Scovil of Scovil Galen Ghosh Literary Agency in New York. Feel free to email Jack about my work.
Oprah: Have I got a book for you! Call me!
Chase Von: On behalf of myself and The Operated Student Press, thank you so much for taking time away from your novels. With the new technology we have, it is people like you who are making history and testing the limits so we can see just how much this world of ours has really changed.
"Almost done chapter three, and wait, I better take this call! It`s Chase! (Smile). For real though, to me this is truly amazing! So thank you so much again and also I truly want to wish you and yours the very best for Thanks Giving and the coming holiday seasons!
Cheryl: I wish you the very best during this time of Thanksgiving and during the upcoming Christmas season. I hope Santa is good to you! My sincerest thanks for this interview, Chase, and for such interesting questions. I truly appreciate your time, interest and support, and I wish you all the best in success in everything you do. Dare to Dream "and Dream BIG!