Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Promotional Interview with Cheryl Kaye Tardif

You have been invited to share you experience with our readers.


Cheryl Kaye Tardif, bestselling author of Whale Song, The River and Divine Intervention

1. Tell us about yourself – where you are from, how you got started writing, what you do when you are not writing (or anything you want our readers to know)

I was born in Vancouver, BC, but moved around a lot as a child. I even spent 3 years in Bermuda, which was a slice of heaven and where I was first really encouraged to pursue my passion for writing. As a teen, I became one of the youngest paid journalists in BC and wrote a weekly column titled Masset Meanderings. But fiction?particularly horror, suspense and mystery?was always my true passion.

I am now a full-time author. I write most days, although sometimes I’m writing articles, blog posts or press releases, and other days I am working on the current novel. I consider myself a full-time promoter of my work, blogging regularly and creating exciting events and contests every month.

When I am not writing you can usually find me watching TV. I am a CSI, Medium, Law & Order, Lost, Journeyman addict, to name a few. And of course, I also enjoy reading!

2. What inspired you to write your first book?

When writing the original edition of Whale Song in 2003, I was inspired by a native legend that I had heard many times while growing up on the Queen Charlotte Islands, which is north of Vancouver Island and very isolated and wild. The legend says that if you see a killer whale close to shore, it is really the reincarnated soul of a loved one who is coming to say goodbye. I think that is such a beautiful vision and a peaceful way to look at death, and as a child, I spent many days walking the beaches and waiting to see a killer whale. That legend is the heart of my novel Whale Song.

3. How many books have you written?

I have written 6 novels (3 published, 2 unpublished, 1 was stolen) plus 2 children’s picture books (unpublished). My most noted works are my published novels: Whale Song (2007), The River (2005) and Divine Intervention (2004). They each explore various degrees of mystery or suspense.

4. How do you decide on their topic?

That’s a tough question. Sometimes the title comes to me first and once I dwell on that, the story plot will often unfold. Many times a character comes to mind, one with a particular problem or challenge. Or the entire plot just “comes to me”. I often say that I don’t pick the plot…it picks me.

5. What works best to keep you focused and on track?

I am an obsessive note keeper. I have notes on post-its stuck to my computer, my desk and walls. These notes help to keep me in line. If I know I have deadlines, I will leave a note for myself at the end of the day, so that I won’t forget come morning. I sometimes have specific days set aside for certain things. The key for me is that I must always accomplish at least three major things each day.

6. Do you write to make money or for the love of writing?

Money? You mean there’s money in this profession? ;)

Fortunately, I write because it is something I feel compelled to do. The story plots come at me at full speed and take over my thoughts, so maybe I don’t have a choice. I’m thankfully in the position where I have the time to write without feeling obligated to go out and get a job. Writing has been my full-time passion for 4 years now, and I must say, I can’t imagine doing anything else. It has taken more hard work, dedication and commitment than any of my past professions. Writing has been my dream for decades, and I am finally living my dream. As for the money, it will follow…eventually.

7. What are some traditional methods of marketing you have used to gain visibility for you and your book(s)?

I started with a website, an absolute MUST-HAVE for any serious author. I have done numerous book signings, probably over 300 in the past 4 years. I’ve lost count. I’ve sent out press releases to media contacts via fax and email. I’ve visited schools, libraries, book clubs and writers’ groups. I’ve even spoken at writers’ conferences in Canada and the US. I’ve also offered review copies to book clubs and reviewers. And I’ve appeared on TV, radio and in newspapers and magazines.

8. What are some unique methods?

I’ve held some unique contests via my websites and blogs. My current contests are Calling All Janets and Create a Corpse (my most popular to date!) I blog about many different topics related to my novels, sometimes obscure but always tied to some aspect of my books or promotion. I’ve taken part in forums and chats, sometimes about writing in general, sometimes about specific topics found in my books.

In August of 2007, I organized a 1-month virtual book tour and held a 44 prize giveaway on my birthday. I participated in an online book fair, a crazy reality TV game show for writers, and Celebrity Chefs, where I cooked up some Strawberry Dumplings.

9. Do you sell through a website?

I advertise my books on my website, but I direct all of my sales to bookstores or Chapters, Amazon, Barnes and Noble etc. For those who enjoy having autographed and personalized books, I offer free bookplates to anyone who orders my books. They just have to email me. This is especially great for those who want to give someone one of my books as a gift.

My main websites are:

10. Do you plan on writing additional books?

Again, I don’t seem to have a choice. This is what I do, what I am. I am happiest when I am writing. I’ve completed my fourth novel Children of the Fog and it is being considered at this time by Kunati Books, the publishers who took Whale Song. I am now working mainly on Divine Justice, with Submerged and The 6th Plague to follow.

And I am currently looking for an agent! ?

This interview was done in conjunction with Nikki Leigh, author of the Book Promo 101 Series.

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