Sunday, March 27, 2011

Nicole Chardenet Interview

1: What is the most productive time of the day for you to write?
The weekends.  Assuming I don't have any hot dates with George Clooney (sometimes I have to pretend I didn't get his texts, phone calls, emails, IM's, or carrier pigeons.)  I work in the glamourous, desperately sexy field of software sales during the week, and evenings are often spent with chores, email, a social life, and avoiding George Clooney when I've got shit to do.

2: Do you start your projects writing with paper and pen or is it all on the computer?
ROTLFMAO!  What is this, 1978?  Of course I use a computer!  In fact, “Young Republican, Yuppie Princess” was originally written on my father's old cast-off Tandy XT computer system.  It then got converted over the course of the next fifteen years to Ami Pro, Microsoft Word, and finally OpenOffice, to the point where it was practically unintelligible what with all the formating problems that arose along the way.  Today I write on a spiffy Ubuntu Linux computer and a Linux Lite Netbook.

3: What do you draw inspiration from?
I have a t-shirt that says, “Careful, or you'll end up in my novel.”  That's fair warning.  I draw a lot from the people I know, the people I've met – you stand a better chance of winding up in one of my novels eventually if you act like a dick, like a certain Homeland Security sparky in Buffalo who morphed into a character's vicious ex-husband.  However even the well-behaved can provide inspiration.  I read a lot as well so I'm always getting ideas from pretty much everywhere.  I've also drawn on my 20+ years as a practicing Pagan, my days in the Society for Creative Anachronism, and my belly dancing experiences.  Belly dancing shows up a lot in my novels, actually...I don't do it myself anymore.

4: Do you set goals for yourself when you sit down to write such as word count?
I did in the past, when I was trying to get traditionally published.  When I first started writing, 130,000 words was considered okay, then it dropped to 100k, now it's down to like 75k.  There isn't any valid reason for that arbitrariness that I can see, and now that I'm independent I don't feel bound to it.  However, it's easy for writers to fall in love with their own writing and not see where they need to cut (horrors!) so I think 100k-130k is a good goal to aim for.  Particularly for indies and the very famous who are both particularly susceptible to egotistical non-editing.

5: Are you a published or a self published author and how do you come up with your cover art?
I'm an indy – I gave up temporarily on traditional publishing after it went south with the economy in 2008 and it became quite clear they weren't interested in any new author who wasn't toting a guaranteed blockbuster about a vampire boy wizard with a secret the Catholic Church would do anything to prevent the world from learning.  With so many established writers going indy themselves, and folks like Amanda Hocking proving you don't need to have a 'name' to make yourself a success, I think this is a terrific time to go indy.  I know Hocking is a bit of an anomaly but one can learn from her success and be the best you can be, even if you don't sell a million novels.  I haven't given up on traditional publishing, I'm just waiting for it to get its shit together.
I did the cover art with help from a local friend who did it for his wife's book.  We got some local models to pose for it, then Evan worked his Adobe magic on it.  I think it turned out very well.  Good cover art is so important for a book and when you're traditionally published you just don't have that kind of freedom.  Gonna have cleavage on the next cover – erm, not mine ;)

6: What drives you to choose the career of being a writer?
I had your typical “WTF am I doing with my life?” midlife crisis when I turned forty.  I wasn't where I wanted to be in life and was wicked depressed.  I read a terrific book by Dr. Kenneth Christian, “Your Own Worst Enemy: Breaking the Habit of Adult Underachievement” and it really gave me the kick in the arse I needed.  I was tired of feeling like I was all talk and no action.  That book really crystallized for me that what I wanted to do was write, starting with the novel that had been kicking around in my head for years.  That wasn't “Young Republican, Yuppie Princess,” but it's most likely the next book I'll bring out, probably in a year or so.  With cleavage!

7: Do you own an ebook reading device?
I'm old-school.  I'm not one of those people who gets an orgasm from holding a 'real book' in my hands, I'm one of those people who's too much of a cheap-ass to spend hundreds of dollars on a device to read books with conflicting e-book formats when pulp 'n' ink has been compatible with human eyeballs for over 5,000 years.  I think e-readers are great, they're just too expensive.  When the price comes down to $99 or less I will buy one.

8: Who are some of your favorite authors and What are you reading now?
I don't really have any favourite authors as I read a lot of non-fiction.  I pretty much read whatever catches my fancy in the bookstore (it helps if it's in the remainder bin ;) or whatever I need for whatever I'm writing.  At the moment I've got three books I'm working on.  “Voodoo Histories: The Role of the Conspiracy Theory in Shaping Modern History” by David Aaronovitch, because silly-ass conspiracy theories are great fiction for fiction-writers, “Leap of Faith” by Queen Noor of Jordan, who's an American woman who married King Hussein in the '70s, and for some light, fun reading over dinner I'm just finishing up Starhawk's “The Pagan Book of Living and Dying”, just because, well, I like to be prepared for everything.

9: What do you think of book trailers and do you have any plans to have any?
I won't rule it out but it's not really on my 2-do list for Young Republican, Yuppie Princess.  I know they're all the rage but I'm reading that the vast majority of them don't get much attention.  I've also seen enough of them to understand why...I think you really have to spend some serious cash to have it done professionally for it to work.  I'll stick with bribing George Clooney to stand on the street corner in a sandwich board to push “Young Republican, Yuppie Princess.”

10: How did you come up with the title of your latest book?
I didn't really, I am terrible at titling books.  It came from my buddy Cameron who did the layout and has been providing marketing advice to me.  He said it offhand in a conversation over a couple of brewskis and I went, “That's IT!  That's the title!”  I came up with all kinds of lame ideas myself like, “Oh My God, The Prince Is From New Jersey.”  Oh my God, What A Bloody Awful Title!

11: What are you working on now that you can talk about?
I've not had much time to write since I took on the “Young Republican, Yuppie Princess” project but I've been sloooowly working on a story that takes place in Toronto, the most sexually repressed city in North America and quite possibly the Milky Way galaxy, and will be a humorous paranormal fantasy that demonstrates beyond all argument that no matter how desperate you are for a boyfriend, it's just a really, really, REALLY bad idea to bring one back from the dead no matter how hot he was when he was still alive.  It will also explain why you should never be alone with Paul McCartney.  And that's all I can say on that subject.  ;)

“Young Republican, Yuppie Princess” is the twisted tale of Joyce Bacyrus, a Ronald Reagan-loving Young Republican and her three dork-o-rama friends who travel into an alternate medieval/modern universe to find a missing student.  Along the way they encounter the world's most disgusting prince, a feminazi witch, a race of Conan-style barbarians (but only half as smart), incredibly hot naked undines and the prince's sidekick, evil magician and heavy metal-troubadour Malsorcier...

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Nicole Chardenet, Humorous Fantasy Author's web site –

Tongue of Dog's Breakfast – A Mélange à Trash blog –

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