Thrilled to share this interview with international bestselling author and judge for World’s Best Story Cheryl Kaye Tardif.
1- What are the ingredients for a blockbuster story to you?
To me, a blockbuster must contain the following: an unforgettable story that opens in a way that hooks me either with an intriguing plot or mesmerizing characters and then continues at a breathtaking pace or grabs me so emotionally that I HAVE to keep reading. It must also provide me with a satisfactory ending that makes sense, whether it ends on a happy or sad note.
2- What story has influenced your life?
The NeverEnding Story – my son who passed away at birth was named after the main character.
3- What writer would you consider a mentor?
My author mentors are Stephen King, Scott Nicholson and Gail Bowen. Stephen King mentored me through his own fiction (and my desire to “be” just like him) and his nonfiction title, On Writing. Scott Nicholson has mentored me personally through many emails and online chats where he generously gave me tips and advice. Gail Bowen mentored me when she was a Writer in Residence, and she graciously gave me tips and advice on writing, plus critiqued one of my works, even though I technically didn’t “qualify” at the time for the WiR program.
4- What story do you enjoy reading over and over again?
The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley is one book I have read many times.
5- Do you have any advice to aspiring writers?
Learn the craft of writing and keep learning. Study the Chicago Manual of Style and take refresher courses in punctuation and grammar. Then learn the business of being a published author, because it IS a business. This means you must learn to promote your books and your name brand. Start this BEFORE you even have a work published by joining writers groups, following other authors on social networks and studying how they promote themselves. You can learn a LOT by watching others. Learn from the best, the ones who are where you want to be. “Dare to Dream…and Dream Big!”
6- Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
According to my mother, I started “writing” when I was a toddler. She found me one day with a Dr. Seuss book in my hands, scribbling wavy lines underneath each line of text. Horrified that I was defacing a book, she asked me what I was doing. “I’m writing the story,” I told her. Growing up, I was an avid book lover; my parents are responsible for that. Our house was filled with books and if I ran out of one of my own, I’d sneak off with one of my mother’s books. When I discovered Stephen King and Dean R. Koontz as a pre-teen, I was hooked, and I knew I wanted to do what they did.
7- How would you increase literacy?
To increase literacy, I would change school curriculum and give students more choices of the literature they read, including contemporary titles by newer authors. While the classics will always remain so, I believe it’s time to create new classics. Give kids current titles and allow them to choose the plots and authors that interest them, and you will be growing readers, rather than turning them off with old titles and authors they can’t “Friend” on Facebook.
8- What ice cream flavor would you invent?
I’d invent Cherylita Ice Cream, named for a drink I created that contains Spiced Rum, Coconut rum, mango and orange juices. lol
9- If you were given $5000 that you had to spend in one day, what would you do with it?
I would give it to friends and family that needed it more.
Cheryl Kaye Tardif is an award-winning, international bestselling Canadian suspense author represented by Trident Media Group in New York. Her novels include Divine Sanctuary, Submerged, Divine Justice, Children of the Fog, The River, Divine Intervention, Lancelot’s Lady (written under the pen name of Cherish D’Angelo) and Whale Song, which New York Times bestselling author Luanne Rice calls “a compelling story of love and family and the mysteries of the human heart…a beautiful, haunting novel.”
Cheryl also has two Stephen King-inspired works: Skeletons in the Closet & Other Creepy Stories and Remote Control (novelette). Cheryl is also the owner/publisher of Imajin Books, a hybrid publishing company. Booklist raves, “Tardif, already a big hit in Canada…a name to reckon with south of the border.”
To find out more about Cheryl and her books: cherylktardif.com