Hello and welcome to my blog, Author Interviews. My name is Fiona Mcvie.
Hi Fiona! It’s so wonderful to be here today! Thank you for having me!
Let’s get you introduced to everyone, shall we? Tell us your name. What is your age?
My name is Chantal Gadoury – I know, it looks a little scary. Think of it as “Shawn-Tell” “Ga-door-ee” Better, right? As for my age, I’m 29 years old – going on 30 in November. (But don’t remind me!)
Fiona: Where are you from?
I’ve grown up in a small town called Muncy, in the middle of rural Pennsylvania. If you’re not familiar with the area – think of the Little League World Series – which is hosted in Williamsport, PA. I’m about a 10 minute drive away from Williamsport.
However, I was born in Germany – on a military base. My father was stationed over in Germany during the time of the Gulf War, so . . . I’ve been out of the USA once or twice before.
Fiona: A little about your self (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
I graduated from Muncy High School with a passion for reading and writing. When I went off to college, I originally thought I wanted to be an English Teacher. Until, one day as I was sitting in an English class, and realized I didn’t want to just read books. I wanted to write them. Needless to say, four years later I graduated Susquehanna University with a Creative Writing B.A.
As for my family – it consists of my mom, my sister, and our family dog (Yorkie) named Taran. Sadly, my father passed away in 2015 unexpectedly – so my family has been coping with the large loss of him.Growing up, I had a great family life. My parents always encouraged my love of reading and writing – and in their own way, supported me in becoming the person that I am today. My sister is younger than me by eight years, but we’re very close. I can’t imagine living my life without her.
A little fun fact about me is that I’m probably one of the biggest Disney nerds you’ll ever meet in your life.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
My latest news is “Between the Sea and Stars,” my next fantasy novel is being released on June 19th! Very exciting! I also have titles, “Blinding Night,” and “WinterDream” coming out through Parliament House Press later in the late fall, early winter.
“The Songs We Remember,” a sequel to “The Songs in Our Hearts” which is published through 48Fourteen will also be released sometime soon. (Date hasn’t been determined.)
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
The earliest memory I have of writing begins in 2nd Grade. So I would have been seven-eight years old. In class, we were to make our own books – so I wrote “A Trip to New Jersey.” It was about my family visiting some of my Dad’s family that lived in New Jersey. The drawings – well, drawing as never really been my strong suit. But ever since then, I was always writing. Whether in personal journals, writing with friends, creating stories, making picture books out of coloring books for my sister (Yeah, I used to cut those up and make my own stories) – I’ve just always been writing.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I think in college is when I finally labelled myself as a writer. It could just have been because I knew I was considered a “Creative Writing” major – thus, writer. And it wasn’t until I had a book in my hands that I called myself an author.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
I grew up reading books like “Beauty” by Robin McKinley, and “East” by Edith Pattou – I wanted to write a book like that. I wanted to take a fairy tale that I loved and make my own version. With “Allerleirauh,” my version of the old Grim-Brother’s tale, I was able to do that. I always loved fairy tales, Disney, magic, handsome princes . . . they say “Write what you know” and this was what I knew best.
As for “Between the Sea and Stars,” my interactions on Tumblr inspired me to write this book. I used to be a Disney role-player on Tumblr, and I really missed that time – the storyline and the characters. Looking back on Tumblr helped to inspire what is now, the novel!
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
For “Between the Sea and Stars,” my publisher actually came up with the title. I was using the working title, “Lena” for the longest time. One day my publisher sent me a list of title suggestions and ideas, and “Between the Sea and Stars” was the answer. So without her help – I wouldn’t have the title!
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
I’m not sure if I have a writing style yet. Writing is still this growing, expanding thing for me. Each book is different and takes on such an individual tone. I’m sure some readers would say my writing style is having flower-y descriptions. I tend to always try to show the world, show the small details, but keep things really simple too. I also always try to have characters that are easy to relate to. I always place myself in the characters I’m writing about (except villains.) There’s always a piece of me in each of the characters. Aurelia, Prince Klaus, Lena, Soren and Jace. I write about the people that I’d want to interact with (even if it’s only for five minutes.)
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
In my book, “The Songs in Our Hearts,” the book is very realistic and very much based on my own life. Charlie (the name inspired by a coffee shop I used to work at in college) is a girl who likes to read, likes to listen to music, and has a crush on a boy named Micah Jacobs. I used Charlie as a way to revisit my own high school experience and I guess, give myself the happy ending I never really got to have at her age. I also used it as an opportunity to write about my Dad. “The Songs in Our Hearts,” was my way of keeping my Dad’s memory alive. The readers might not know, but each time they read that book – they’re giving my Dad the ability to breathe again, until the last page.
“The Songs We Remember,” acted as a way for me to write about my grief – in a very real way. Death and grief is something that we, as a culture, don’t talk about. It’s this thing we sort of run away from – when, inevitably, we all face. So again – it’s very much based on real people, real things, and real topics. (Yes, even Micah was real. Sort-of.)
“Allerleirauh” used topics that I think are very relevant for our current rape-culture in America. It serves the purpose of bringing awareness to the reader, and has a message of “You are more.” So while it does have rape in the book – there’s a reason. And while it will make you uncomfortable, that’s the point. Not everything in life is supposed to be comfortable and easy. But that’s how we grow, how we educate ourselves and become better people. “Allerleirauh,” should act as a message to those in situations like that – you are more than the experience. You are more than the act. You’re still a human being deserving of love, care and acceptance. I hope the readers of this novel hear that message clearly.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
Sometimes I travel? But I don’t really travel for the purpose of writing. It’s more that I’ll go away somewhere with my family and become inspired by something I’ve seen or heard. I usually just craft my work at home – in my room, or the kitchen – with a lot of movie scores.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Parliament House Press designed the cover. They design all of their covers in house.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
I know I answered this for “Allerleirauh,” in the previous question – with my other books, I always want to have the message of hope. And I think I always incorporate that because I need that reminder myself. I write books that I’d want to read – that I would have wanted to read as a younger adult. Hope. Hope is a powerful thing. So yes, my *hope* is that everyone walks away with the clear message that good things can happen. Good can prevail. Hope is always there.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest? Who is your favorite writer, and what is it about their work that really strikes you?
This question always stumps me. I don’t have just one favorite author or writer. There are piles of names that I love and adore because of how talented they are; how their work makes me feel. Sarah Dessen has always been a huge influence to me – in those strange, subtle ways of making an impactful point – in merely one sentence. Sarah J. Maas – a huge fantasy inspiration. I think it’s just the way they can make me feel for their characters – make me feel the same exact emotions the characters are feeling. Rainbow Rowell’s “Fangirl” made me silent and thoughtful for an entire week before I could function as a real human being again.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
One entity? Umm. . . my best friend Shayne Leighton has been there since . . . the beginning, really, for me (outside of family.) We knew each other back from the old “Twilight” days – and she always, always was someone I turned to for advice, for beta reading . . . everything writing related. Until one magical day, Shayne called me and told me her plan to start a publishing company.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
I’m probably going to sound all “Game of Thrones” but – it’s not a career, this is my destiny. Everything in my life, since I was a child, points in the direction of where I am now. I think sometimes we have more choice in our professional careers – where we work, what positions we take on – etc. Writing was never like that for me. Would I love to make this as a full-time thing, yes (in the sense of being able to live off of my work.) But I can’t ever see myself not writing. This will be a life-long journey; one that I was always meant to take.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Absolutely nothing. I had the best editor. I had the best support system. The book cover is gorgeous. The interior matches it perfectly. There’s nothing that I would change.
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
I learned that while I’m a writer, I still struggle with words – a lot. I struggle with getting the words out of my head and onto the page. But I also learned that having a great editor to help walk you through those difficult passages in your book is monumental. I think I learned more about myself as an author – what I’m truly capable of, if I just step out on a limb and let my imagination run wild a bit.
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
I don’t even know. When I was writing Lena, I always imagined Astrid Berges-Frisbey. Soren would be Matthew Smith, and Jace would be Aaron Taylor-Johnson. Lord Jarl. . .would have to be the family Jeremy Irons.
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
Always Write. Don’t not write. Even if you think you suck. Even if it *does* suck. You won’t get better unless you keep working on your craft. But also – when getting feedback from editors – don’t think that you shouldn’t listen to them, or think they’re being vindictive and nasty. I’ve come across authors/writers who think their writing doesn’t need improving and often get stuck on the small things – the things that don’t move the story along. Don’t be married to your writing. Be willing to change, to grow, to learn and improve. While writing is personal, the moment you decide to publish – you have to understand that it can’t be about yourself or your original vision – but what appeals to the readers as well. (After all, if you want to sell your book, you have to give them a reason to buy it.)
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
I’m truly thankful for them. I still find it strange to call a group of people “my readers.” I think of them more as my friends. They’re getting to know a part of me that I’m not entirely always willing to share so openly. Thank you for taking the chance to read my work – and of course, leaving me your reviews!
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I finished “A Court of Frost and Starlight” a few weeks ago – but currently, I haven’t had much time for reading. (Spoiler: Authors don’t really have time to read. We’re too busy writing!)
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
No! LOL – I do remember reading as a kid. Mr. Roger books. One book I remember well was called “Once Upon a Golden Apple.” I really got into the Mary-Kate and Ashley mystery books, the Full House books, and then . . . the R.L Stine Fear Street Sagas. “One Last Kiss” was my first vampire book – and I was hooked!
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
This is a tough question. A lot of things make me laugh and cry. Sad movies. Happy movies. Memories of my Dad. . . (I cry a lot over those.) Book Books. Good Writing. Love Stories. Sad Love Stories. When I’m mad or frustrated. Clean sheets make me happy. Hot chocolates. Iced Coffees. Chipotle (is my life)… Disney movies make me both laugh and cry. A lot of things. Life.
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
Walt Disney and Thomas Jefferson. Walt, because he was such an influence for me in my life. He dreamed. He created. He did so many things. He believed in himself when no one else would. He had a vision and dreamed it into reality. Thomas Jefferson because he was so amazingly intelligent; an inventor – and . . . mostly because I had a crush on Thomas Jefferson for the longest time. I find him to be a very fascinating man, and I would love to actually meet the real guy, instead of the guy I imagine in my head.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
So other than writing. . . yes. I like to paint when I’m inspired. Does drinking coffee count as a hobby? Watching Netflix and good movies.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
I used to love “Once Upon a Time,” before the series sort of went south (in my opinion.) Glee! LOVED Glee. Right now I’m really into watching Korean and Japanese Dramas on Netflix. “Mischievous Kiss,” “Good Morning Call,” and of course, “Boys Over Flowers.” “The Tudors,” and “The White Queen,” are among some of my favorite historical shows. Movies – it’s a range. I mostly really enjoy romance movies – historical romance, musical romance, things like that. Just depends on my mood and what I’m craving to watch.
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
The guac from Chipotle is by far one of my favorite things to eat. Sushi. General Tso’s Chicken. Shepard’s Pie. My favoritecolor is Aqua.
Music. Now music is like. . . a central part of my life. I have playlists for every single book that I’ve written (or am writing) – which you can find on my website! I listen to a range of Top Hits, to scores, to classical, to bands that aren’t so popular. Rock, Alternative Rock. The only thing I won’t listen to is Rap and Country.
Coldplay and The Civil Wars have always been among my top favorite bands to listen to.
Sara Bareilles’ “She Used to Be Mine,” is currently my “Me” song.
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
Cry. A lot. Feel empty. Be unimaginably unhappy. Do what I suppose so many do with their life. Get up, go to a job that pays bills, go home, sleep – and live that routine.
So – I’d rather not imagine that.
Fiona: You only have 24 hours to live how would you spend that time?
Every waking moment with my mom, my sister and my dog. Even if it’s just laying around in the living room watching TV. Just being with them. That’s all I’d ever want. I’d spend hours leaving them letters so they could have them for the rest of their lives. (Why are these questions getting so sad?)
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
I don’t know. I’ll leave that to the people who have to bury me. It was enough to have to think about that for my Dad – and I know, in the future for my mom. I think it would be enough if whoever I leave behind says that I was beloved. To me, life is about love – loving and being loved.
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
Find Out About Other Books by Chantal Gadoury at https://www.chantalgadoury.com/
Amazon Best Selling Author, Chantal Gadoury, is a 2011 graduate from Susquehanna University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing. Since graduation, she has published “The Songs in Our Hearts” with 48Fourteen Publishing, and “Allerleirauh” with Parliament House Press, with future titles to follow. Chantal first started writing stories at the age of seven and continues with that love of writing today. Writing novels for Chantal has become a life-long dream come true! When she’s not writing, she enjoys painting, drinking lots of DD Iced Coffee, and watching Disney classics. Chantal lives in Muncy, Pennsylvania with her Mom, Sister and furry-‘brother’ (aka, puppy) Taran.
My Amazon Author Page https://www.amazon.com/Chantal-Gadoury/e/B00MTLD0P0
Between the Sea and Stars
Parliament House Press
The Songs in Our Hearts
The Songs We Remember