NAW Interview with Cheryl Kaye Tardif

Cheryl Kaye Tardif

Cheryl Kaye Tardif is an award-winning, international bestselling Canadian suspense author. Her novels include Divine Sanctuary,Submerged,Divine Justice, Children of the Fog, The River, Divine Intervention, 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.” Booklist raves, “Tardif, already a big hit in Canada…a name to reckon with south of the border.” Contact her here.

NAW- Tell us about your book, The Elfling Princess. What is it about? How did you get the idea for it?

THE ELFLING PRINCESS is a fantasy children’s picture book that explores themes of working together on goals but most of all of believing in oneself. I wrote and illustrated this book about 20 years ago. But I was unsuccessful at that time in getting it published. I recently released it in ebook and paperback.

The idea came from back when I owned a hair salon. Often I’d get young kids who’d squirm and wiggle in the chair. So I’d tell them a story about tiny little Elflings. And they had to be still if they wanted to see one.

NAW-Without giving away too many spoilers, can you tell us about your forthcoming books?

I am best known as a bestselling suspense author. That is my forté. On June 18th, DIVINE SANCTUARY arrives, completing my Divine Trilogy. This fall I’ll work on a new standalone thriller, one I am so excited to write! Most of my novels deal with some element of paranormal or supernatural. That’s where my head goes.

NAW- Tell us about your other works. How difficult (or easy) was it getting published?

I have written and published a number of works, a couple of audio books and 4 foreign translations, with 4 more coming out in the winter of 2014/15. I explore various themes in each book, from assisted suicide and racism (WHALE SONG) to serial killers (Divine Trilogy) to alcoholism (CHILDREN OF THE FOG) to drug addiction and guilt (SUBMERGED). And in most of my novels I explore aspects of fear.

My publishing journey has been an interesting one. I was first published around the age of 14 when I wrote a weekly newspaper column. But fiction was my dream. In 2003 that dream became a reality as I delved into the world of self-publishing via a POD company. I published 2 more books in 2004 and 2005. Then in 2006 I was picked up by a small traditional publishing company. Unfortunately they mismanaged their company and it went bankrupt.

In 2010 I returned to self-publishing. Since then I have been published by a variety of traditional publishers in German, Turkish and Chinese. And I now have 2 audiobooks out on Audible.

I have had 3 agents to date. My current agent is from Trident Media Group.

NAW- How do you decide the names for your characters?

The names just come to me for the most part. But sometimes I hold Become a Character or Create a Corpse contests where people get to name a character.

Divine Sanctuary Front Cover

NAW- Tell us about yourself. What do you do when you are not writing?

I currently live in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, with my husband. Our daughter is now married, so we have no little ones around the house. Unless you count our Pomeranian, Chai. When I am not writing, I enjoy losing myself in TV shows and movies. Sometimes it’s the only way to shut off the story plots that are constantly screaming at me in my head. I also enjoy traveling, especially to hot destinations where I can sip margaritas on the beach.

NAW- Who are your favourite writers?

Stephen King, Dean Koontz, John Saul, Heather Graham, JD Robb, Gail Bowen and too many others to mention.

NAW- How do you write, planning the complete plot beforehand or do you let the book take its course? Take us through your writing process.

When a plot idea takes a strong hold on me and doesn’t disappear in a day, I make notes about it in a file on my computer. I have over 100 of these. Then whatever story grabs me the strongest is the one I write next. I always know how the story opens and how it ends. And I always have certain scenes in mind from the middle. So it’s a matter of connecting them all. I don’t write with an outline, per se, but eventually I’ll make notes so I don’t forget to add or resolve something.

My characters tell me where to go! And they haven’t let me down yet.

NAW-What are you currently reading?


NAW- Any advice for struggling writers?

Learn the craft of writing! That’s a given. Too many people “think” they can write a book, and they may succeed in writing it, but a work won’t sell unless it is written very well. Writers need to understand Chicago Manual of Style rules, and general writing for fiction.

Then learn the business. Writing is a business, if you plan to sell your work. And your work WON’T sell if you sit on your butt waiting for people to buy it or for a publisher to promote it. Authors nowadays must take control of their careers and their income. The more you promote, the more money you’ll earn. As long as you are always learning how to promote better.


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