Why writing? What drew you to it? Why do you continue?
I’ve been wanting to be a writer since I was four (I also wanted to be a Mountie, a vet, and a cowgirl, but none of those stuck). I think my interest in writing came from my love of reading. I was a voracious reader from the point I started pre-school until I had to give up reading anything other than textbooks for my CMA-MBA Program. I still read now but not as much as I used to because of the time I spend writing, editing, submitting and promoting, not to mention family obligations.
If you were freezing to death and the only thing left to burn were the books in your library, what 5 books would you burn last? (And yes, everything else burnable has been burnt.)
This one is so tough because I think I’d freeze before burning my way down to five. If I managed to get to that point, I’d probably keep my favourite classic, Jane Eyre, and a book by my favourite author, Theodore Sturgeon, so either Godbody or More than Human (I loved them both.) I’d also have to keep a copy of my favourite urban fantasy, The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson (it has a horror vibe to it as well – very graphic in places) and my favourite space fantasy, The Hazards of the Old Ones by Ren Garcia (also with many horrific scenes). There are too many horror books I adore to squeeze in what I would want to keep from that genre, but if I was forced to pick one, it would probably be It by Stephen King. Also, I know I’m supposed to limit this to five, but in a moment of weakness, I might trade off one of the ones I mentioned to keep Arlene Radasky’s historical fantasy, The Fox. Of course, I haven’t even included half of my preferred authors. More than likely, they’d find my frozen corpse atop a big pile of books, clutching at them possessively in my death grip.
What’s the most challenging thing you’ve done (in life or in writing (your choice))?
I think it would have to be the CMA- MBA program. I was required to work full-time while taking courses and the group work was murder. I also had two small children at home, and I was occasionally expected to work overtime at my job. I had to give up all of my hobbies, including writing fiction, and essentially exist for work and school for three and a half years. I was not a fun person to be with at that time, especially during the summer of the board report – the equivalent of a thesis – when I also had to take two accelerated summer courses, what added up to a 7 credit course load for six weeks on top of work; it made me very cranky. And in the middle of it all, my son was diagnosed with autism. I don’t know how I did it, but I managed. I passed my board report and even got an A+ final grade on one of those accelerated summer courses.
What’s one word or phrase that drives you nuts? Why?
“Show don’t tell” – Most people don’t have a clue what it really means, throw it around with reckless abandon to make themselves sound smart and important, and think it should apply to everything ever written. I’d be so happy if I never had to hear it again – it is so cliché. Every time I hear it, it makes me ill and lowers my opinion of the person who said it.
Do you have a favorite character you’ve created? If so, who is it and why?
It’s a toss-up between two. One would be Dee Aaronsod, a character who appears in four of the eight Masters & Renegades novels I’ve written, first appearing in my recently released Masters & Renegades #2: Casualties of War. I love her because she is quite flawed but heroic nevertheless. She has had a rough life but is resilient and persistent. She doesn’t accept what life hands her but chooses her own path. She becomes a very successful soldier for eighteen years before being forced into retirement by a battlefield incident. That doesn’t stop her though. She finds another career and starts over in a new direction. The second character is a healer and a pacifist, a shamaness named Fawn. She appears in my Snowy Barrens Trilogy, a YA tribal dark fantasy I hope to start self-publishing by the end of this summer. She is courageous and self-sacrificing, despite the obstacles caused by her pacifism and her disfiguring shaman’s mark. She also loves others around her unconditionally.
Where’s the creepiest place you’ve ever been? Has it appeared in your fiction? Why or Why not?
I’m slightly claustrophobic, so creepy to me is anywhere with a significant amount of rock over your head, like caves or underground tunnels. Despite the fact that they scare me, I’ve been in several, ranging from a flint mine in Wales to the salt mine in Pugwash, here in Nova Scotia. I have worked that into some of my stories, like the catacombs in Sleep Escapes Us, my unpublished alternate history zombie novel set in ancient Thrace. I try to work some of my own experiences into everything I write. Thankfully, I’ve lived a very interesting life – it makes good fodder for stories.
What’s the best rejection you’ve ever received?
The best one was from Nancy Kilpatrick, when I wrote a story on spec for an anthology she was editing for Edge. While she said it wasn’t exactly what she was looking for, for that anthology, she was extremely encouraging, said it was very well-written and assured me that I should be able to find a home for it in some other venue because it was really good. That was a nice ego boost for me. I submitted that story to a writing contest, but I will resubmit it elsewhere if it doesn’t win.
How did you get that scar?
A car accident when I was five. They knew I was bleeding internally but they weren’t sure what kind of damage was involved. They cut me right open and found I had a broken rib that had grazed my liver and punctured my lung. I used to be self-conscious about it, but not so much now.
What song would precede your entrance into a room if we all had personal soundtracks?
Probably Awake and Dreaming by Finger Eleven. That’s me in a nutshell – I dream 24 hours a day.
Promote yourself and/or your writing
Ugh – that’s the part I hate the most, but here goes. I have horror short stories in a plethora of anthologies, which you can find listed on my Amazon author page and on my website. I also have two series published by May December Publications, my dystopian science fantasy series, Fervor, and my standard fantasy series, Masters & Renegades, two novels released in each series to date, but others to come. You can read samples of my work, including some full short stories. As well, I belong to an amazing new fantasy author collective called the Guild of Dreams. Lastly, find me at Twitter at @chantellyb13 and Facebook.
Any final thoughts before you run screaming for your life?
You may think I’m running for my life – but I’m actually running for more ammo. It’ll be your turn to run when I get there…
Thank you, Ms. Boudreau, for dropping in for a spell. May you never have to choose between your books and your life. And now that I know why you’re running, I will prepare accordingly.