Interview with horror, fantasy author Chantal Boudreau
Author of the Fervor Series, and the Masters and Renegade Series
Today I was so fortunate as to be able to interview Chantal Boudreau, a multiply published and high prolific multiple genre author. The Canadian writer hails from Sambro, Nova Scotia, and is a mother of two. She has eighteen novels to her credit in a diversity of genres, and has been included in numerous horror anthologies. Most of her novels are serial adventures such as the Fervor Series (Dystopian Future), and the Masters and Renegade Series (Fantasy). A large number of her many short stories, are in our favorite genre here at “Things that go Bump in my Head,” horror. The zombie stories “Just Another Day”, “Deadline” and “Waking the Dead” to mention just a few.
You can find out more about the author and her works on her website, here:
Q: When did you first decide you wanted to write horror fiction?
A: It was sort of an accident. I was writing mostly fantasy novels but I decided I needed to try writing short stories to get my foot in the publishing door and most of the ideas I had were for horror tales. I had tried my hand once at a ghost story, without much success, but by this point I had already written several novels, so I took another go at it with “Just Another Day,” my first zombie story. I wrote it in a single day and I’ve never looked back.
Q: I see that you have a B.A. in English – did studying the language help you with your writing process?
A: It’s interesting, but the focus of my English degree was studying written works, plays, novels and short stories, more than the actual language. I think I had the basics of the language down from high school and as the result of a voracious reading habit. The university courses taught me how to break down a story into its elements and how to analyze them. I believe that was actually a very useful start for my writing. If you can understand how the Masters created their works, it’s a wonderful foundation for your own stories.
A: I’ve heard a lot of people complain that using structure and solid plotting generates writing that’s rigid and formulaic, but that’s the technique I use. It works for me and allows me to organize my ideas properly, and I’ve never heard anyone say those things about my work when they’ve read it. I think the creative process is relative and different methods work best for different people.
A: I think lines are blurring because the smaller presses and indie publishing allow for new ways of thinking and don’t try to box writers in the way others in the industry do. It’s important because when writers are allowed to explore and tread outside the lines, new genres can emerge. I wrote a blog posting on this topic. I refuse to adhere to strict genre norms and the books I love reading the most don’t
either. I think horror will benefit from this. Critics of the genre often attack the fact that horror stories are just a rehashing of the same ideas, but whenever you blend the genre with others it opens up a variety of new opportunities for unexplored territory.
Q: What is the Horror Writer’s Association? How did you become a member?
A: The Association describes itself as organization to bring writers and others with a professional interest in horror together and to foster a greater appreciation of dark fiction in general. I had to apply, and provide evidence I met their membership criteria, which includes certain publishing requirements. When they approved my application, I also had to pay a membership fee.
Q: I’ve heard mixed reports from other authors regarding working with horror anthologies, and anthologies in generally. What I had heard was that some were with certainty more professional than others in their dealings with the writers. Having been published in a number of anthologies, what advice would you give to other writers about how to separate the chaff from the wheat?
A: It can be a hit or miss situation with some of the smaller presses, especially if they are newly established and haven’t really had a chance to prove themselves. On the other hand, it can be really difficult to get an acceptance with the pro-rate paying venues if you haven’t established a presence in the industry, not to mention a newer writer doesn’t necessarily feel all that confident about their own work and getting a couple of acceptances with smaller semi-pro venues can build your confidence, so limiting your submissions to only pro-rate venues isn’t always a good idea. I guess you have to decide what’s best for you, do your research, take calculated risks if you feel like it, and trust your instincts.
Q: You are an extremely prolific writer, with 16 novels and a nearly innumerable amount of short stories. What would you say keeps you so inspired?
A: Actually, I’m up to 18 novels completed at this point, after I finished my last manuscript, a paranormal thriller called Intangible. I’m absolutely driven to write and I have been for the last three and a half years. I can’t explain why, other than to say it’s my passion.
Q: Of all of your stories, which was your favorite?
A: Of my novels, it’s a toss up between the fifth book in my Masters & Renegades fantasy series, Lines of Opposition, which I’d like to think is an exceptionally dark and moving story, and the dark fantasy/horror novel I wrote based on Siberian mythology, Elements of Genocide – neither of which are published yet. Of the short stories, I’m really fond of “The Ghost in the Mirror” – more of a supernatural, modern fantasy tale, I guess. It had been published by Trestle Press, and they have it under contract until 2013, but we’ve gone our separate ways at this point. I’m hoping to reprint it elsewhere when the contract expires.
Q: Is there anything else you would like our readers to know about you and your writing?
A: That I wouldn’t have managed to write what I have or to get my work published without the wonderful people who support me. It can be a very fickle industry with lots of obstacles, and it’s easy to get discouraged without good people backing you up. Make a point of letting a writer know if you enjoy their writing. It really helps to keep them inspired.
~ by Sumiko Saulson on June 6, 2012.