Name: Chantal Gadoury
Age: 27 (About to be 28 in November!)
Where are you from: Muncy, Pennsylvania
I’m a 2011 graduate from Susquehanna University with a Creative Writing degree. I currently live with my Mom, sister, and family dog in Muncy, PA. Having recently lost my father unexpectedly, my family have been taking the time in recovering together. I work for a local University as an Academic Assistant and really enjoy what I do! When I’m not writing or working, I like to paint with acrylics, watch historical and Japanese Dramas, and drink (more than I’d like to admit) iced coffees! I’m also a huge Disney nerd – I’m the person to call when you’re on a Millionaire show and need to phone a friend 😉
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
Chantal: I’m publishing a third novel called “The Songs in Our Hearts,” and I’m super excited to have anyone read it!
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
Chantal: I began writing when I was really young. I have books from first grade on. At first it was just little stories, or I’d cut out coloring pages and make stories for my little sister. In high school, I loved anime and my friends and I would write stories with all of our favorite anime characters. It was then that I really discovered my passion for doing more than just reading novels – I wanted to create one! It’s just something I’ve always loved to do.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Chantal: I don’t think I really took myself seriously until I had my first novel published. But I know that even back as a high schooler – having written an entire Inuyasha fanfic (123 pages was a huge deal to me), I guess I would have accepted in being called a writer. My mom just called me her John-Boy from the Waltons, so I guess I just called myself that.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
Chantal: A few things. My first novel “Seven Seeds of Summer” was based on the old Greek Myth of Hades and Persephone. I can still remember in the 7th grade when my teacher had us read a few selected myths, and Hades was one of them. At the time when I was created “Seven Seeds,” I was re-reading a lot of my old favorite novels such as “East” by Edith Pattou, and “Beauty” by Robin McKinley. I really wanted to tackle the myth in a very old “Fairy-Tale” way, but later changed it to something a bit more original. For my second novel, “Allerleirauh,” I was able to take those first influences and inspirations and put them to use.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
Chantal: I know that I do have a writing style, but actually defining it is still more of a new concept for me. I know that I heavily use emotions and dialogue and don’t really focus on details – which I’ve been trying to get better at. I’m still learning my “writing style.”
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
Chantal: For my newest novel, my mom actually came up with it. I was really struggling with finding the “perfect” title. I went through “From Me, To You” and “Charlie and the Ultimate High School Crush” (try saying that 10 times fast!) until she came to me one day and said, “How about ‘The Songs in Our Hearts’?” and it just stuck. So I give my mom total credit in naming my novel.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Chantal: So far, the only novel that I’ve written that has a constant message is in the novel, “Allerleirauh.” It’s a story about experiencing sexual abuse and confronting the abuser. I really wanted to write a story that could help someone who might have dealt with abuse, and spread the message – “You are more.”
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Chantal: My newest novel, “The Songs in Our Hearts” is heavily based on my life in high school. Obviously there has been quite a few things changed to make it a bit more enjoyable to readers, but Charlie and Micah’s story is very personal to me. The family in the novel are very much based on my own; my Dad is Charlie’s Dad. Micah is based on a boy I had a crush on, and Charlie is a version of myself.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? a mentor?
Chantal: That’s a really interesting and hard question! Danielle Steel really influenced me as an author when I was young – and when I say young – I mean like 14. Stephanie Meyer, when she released “Twilight” in 2005, I was floored. I had never read a novel like hers – with first person. (Which, I realize isn’t a new concept, but it was for me.) It was almost as if she had opened a door for me, and I began to write non-stop. After that, Maggie Stiefvator’s Mercy Falls Series (“Shiver,” “Linger,” and “Forever.”) were highly influential. Sarah Dessen’s summer romances inspired me to write something contemporarily romantic, but I never followed through with something like that until now.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest and who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
Chantal: New authors – hmmm… Sarah Maas for me is a new author, and I’ve been sucked into her world of Faeries and Rhysand …and did I mention Rhysand? Jenny Han as well – she’s a new author to me. I loved Laura Jean and Peter. I think what strikes me most about their works is just how magical it is! How descriptive and how all consumed – captivated – submerged a reader can become in their worlds. There are times, as a reader, when I have one foot in a book, and one on the floor (if you get what I’m saying)… but with Maas and Han, I’m completely submerged. I want to write just like that.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
Chantal: My friends have always been a huge support system when it comes to writing. I have a selection of friends that I know I can always go to when it comes to reading or editing. My friends – while are a few different individuals – are all one entity to me 😀
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Chantal: At times I see it as a career, and other times – more as a hobby. I haven’t had the best of experiences in making writing a career, but I think if I keep working hard (and writing harder), I might be able to make writing a full-time career. (That’s the dream!)
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Chantal: Actually, no. I think everything for this novel has turned out more than I could have ever hoped for. 48Fourteen’s team has transformed “The Songs in Our Hearts” into something I know I could not have done without them. If I have any regret is not just continuing right on with the sequel. Now that I’ve stopped, I feel as though I’ve lost touch with Charlie and Micah – and I very much so want to get back into their world and give readers more of their story (because there is more!)
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
Chantal: You know, it started so long ago that I can’t recall a time when I thought “I want to be a writer.” I remember when “Harriet the Spy” came out in ’96 (which would have made me a first/second grader, and I had the biggest, strongest urge to get a journal. All I wanted for my birthday/Christmas was a journal. My mom gave me an Esmeralda journal (I remember it was purple and plastic) and I was SO excited. I made it a point to start writing about everything. I’m sure my interest in writing started with my mom reading to me all the time – my mom used to take me to the library every Saturday morning; she’s really the reason why I write. I hope that answered the question!
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Chantal: I sure can! So my current novel is called “The Song in Our Hearts.” It’s about a high school girl – Charlie – who ultimately has a crush on a new boy – Micah. It’s about how they get partnered up for a project and become unlikely friends. Charlie has been betrayed by others in the past, when it came to crushes, so she does a lot to avoid in admitting her feelings. It’s a story about learning how to trust and open up – and appreciating music!
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Chantal: Grammar actually has always been a challenge for me. Writing too much of the same word or action is another. Making sure that show – not tell. Despite having a degree in writing, I still make a lot of mistakes.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
Chantal: I’ve never traveled, actually, concerning my book. But the idea of that sounds exciting! I’d love to be able to do that someday!
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Chantal: The first novel “Seven Seeds” – at least the first edition was a co-creation between me and the publisher. The second edition was create by the publishing company. As for “Allerleirauh,” I completely designed that cover myself. The cover for “The Song in Our Hearts” hasn’t been released yet, but I’m highly excited to show it off! That was created by the fantastic 48fourteen team!
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Chantal: For the most recent novel, I didn’t struggle writing it. I really struggled in how to end it – finding the point to stop. And then cutting out things about my dad. I wrote so much that was highly personal – that I wanted to leave in – almost like a legacy – that it was hard to let it go. A main part of “Songs,” was having a way in keeping my dad’s memory alive.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
Chantal: For “Songs,” I learned how much I could push myself as a writer. I’ve never written a novel in a month, but I did with this novel. I learned more in the process of editing – just from how amazing the team from 48Fourteen have been. I’ve learned a lot in what needs to stay, what should go – and how characters can be portrayed.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Chantal: I think my advice will always be “don’t give up on your dreams.” If you want to write – write. If you want to create, do it. Get all hands in. The more you learn about the writing community and the market – the better. Learn about editing. Learn about designing and creating. Learn how to do multiple jobs; it will only help you in the long run. Don’t ever give up. Have patience – things don’t happen overnight. In my case, I can tell you – even in the process of years, things are only now starting to look up for me. You should love to write, and when you start to lose that drive – when you start to lose that passion, you’re doing something wrong.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Chantal: That I’m SO thankful for the few readers that I have. I can’t express just how appreciative I am for your time. I wish I had the chance to interact with all of you more. I hope with “Songs,” and any future novel I write, it gives me the chance to become more acquainted with all of you. But for now, just thank you!
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Chantal: “A Court of Thorns and Roses,” “A Court of Mist and Fury,” and the Laura Jean series – “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before.” They’ve been my go-to when I just want to revisit something fun. (And honestly, for those who are a Maas fan, who can resist Rhysand?!)
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
Chantal: I have no idea. My Mom used to read me all sorts of Fairy Tales when I was little. I recall a children’s book that I loved called “Once Upon a Golden Apple.” I’m sure my first real book that I read on my own was something children-related from school. “Wayside Stories,” or … “There’s a Boy in the Girl’s Bathroom.” Though, I really want to say that was even a little later in my education. Dr. Seuss? Disney? There were so many books in my life at such an early age, it’s hard to say. I transitioned to “Mary-Kate and Ashley” mystery novels, to R.L Stine’s Fear Street Saga (and other novels.)
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Chantal: Oh my lanta – what doesn’t make me cry? I’m a very emotional person, so a lot of things make me laugh and make me cry. Sad puppies. Lost love. Loosing parents. That ultimate feeling of oblivion.
Sunshine. Autumn leaves. Iced Coffee. Laughter. Love. Passionate kisses. It doesn’t take much.
Fiona: Is there one person pass or present you would meet and why?
Chantal: I wish I could have met Thomas Jefferson (because he was awesome!) and Walt Disney. Walt Disney has been one of most inspirational figures in my life. He’s always guided me to never give up on my dreams – he didn’t, and he had some really difficult odds against him. I’d love to sit down with either of them and just talk about life and what they thought and yeah!
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why?
Chantal: I guess first, I’d want my dates to be well spaced. I’d like to be recognized as “Dearest Wife,” or “Loved Mother.” I could care less about being remembered on my headstone as an author – for me – I’d want my love, and the people who loved me back – to be shown. My books can do the talking on their own.
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies?
Chantal: I love to paint. I love to make videos! I love to read and watch movies. Netflix is a hobby! Spending time with my family and our puppy.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Chantal: Game of Thrones has been my newest addition! I’ve really been enjoying Japanese dramas like “Good Morning Call,” and “Mischievous Kiss: Love in Tokyo.” I’m also a fan of “The Walking Dead,” “Once Upon a Time,” “Victoria,” “The Tudors,” “The White Queen,” etc. As for movies – I love any Disney movie! I enjoy watching romantic/comedies, and historical romances.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
Chantal: My favorite color is Aqua. Favorite foods – Hmmm… Chinese! Though, I love my Mom’s home-cooking too. As for music – I have a wide variety of music that I love. Some of my favorites are “The Civil Wars,” “Foxes,” “Journey,” “Bastille,” “Mumford and Sons,” “Kodaline,” and classical works. A lot of the songs that I love or have special meaning for me are reflected in “The Songs in Our Hearts.”
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
Chantal: Broadway singer! Or a Video-Editor. I love doing that and sort of regret not taking Communications when I was in college. I think it would have been a really interesting career to get myself in.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
Chantal: I sure do! You can find me at http://chantalgadoury.blogspot.com/
Instagram: (I actually post on it at least once a day) https://www.instagram.com/chantalgadouryauthor/
Seven Seeds of Summer: https://www.amazon.com/Seven-Seeds-Summer-Chantal-Gadoury/dp/1944247033/
Author Amazon Central: https://www.amazon.com/Chantal-Gadoury/e/B00MTLD0P0/