I’d like to welcome Chantal Bellehumeur today. She’s here to tell us a bit about the woman behind the author and not to forget the book she wrote.
Hi Chantal, would you like a drink? Make yourself comfortable, because I have some questions for you.
But first, what can you tell us about you?
I always loved to write but never thought about publishing anything until a friend of mine told me I should.
Before that, I was more interested in acting. I performed in a couple of amateur stage showed and joined a Youth run Theatre Company. I was also an extra in a few commercials, TV shows and movies.
My love for acting soon got replaced with the love for my son. I made him my number one priority. I found it easier to write on my spare time than to work around other people’s schedules to act. I found that I had to use some of my acting training to write since I had to put myself in the shoes of the characters I created.
I write a bit of everything, starting with the fictional diaries «Veronica’s Soap Opera Life», «Veronica’s Attempt at Romance» and «Veronica’s Happily Ever After» for female readers. I wrote the horror novel «Just.Another.Common.Killer» as well as the fantasy novel «Sdrawkcab» for my pre-teen son. I also published the book «Thirteen-A Compilation of Short Stories». I wrote the fictional health novel «Hope» to make people better understand what living with Colitis is like, but I have to admit that it is not my best work.
I have been receiving a lot of positive feedback and am hoping that others will help me pass the word along about my books, even if I simply write as a hobby.
I started writing short stories for The Suburban’s Online Magazine. My first short story, «A Mother’s Love» can be found in the April 26 issue followed by «A Father’s Promise» in a June issue and «An unplanned Wedding» in July. «Emily’s Birthday Getaway» should be published in August. Stories can be found on www.thesuburban.com
While I continue to come up with stories, I encourage my son to so some writing of his own since he is full of good ideas and has a big imagination. He reminds me of myself as a child.
I am a single mom and feel very lucky to have Aidan in my life.
Wow, Chantal, that is a very big insight you give us in your life! Thanks for your candor. I do still have some writerly questions.
Can you tell me how you celebrate finally getting that tricky chapter (or para) right?
I smile (probably a little too much), congratulate myself inside my head, and then call somebody.
But how do you work around those moments when the muse has gone and done a runner on you?
I take a break and start writing again when the inspiration comes back. Sometimes it only takes a few hours, other times days or weeks.
Right, sounds like you have a winning formula there. Now, let’s first do a few of the yada yada questions before we move on to the fun. And by yada yada I do not mean boring, or in any other way stupid questions, but just the traditional ones. You know? The ones we secretly all want to know the answer to.
First, what is the title of the book you would like to talk about?
Can you give us a teaser for the book?
Under hypnosis, six-year-old Jack Huntington tells his psychiatrist the dark unsolved tale of Jack the Ripper’s 19th century murders. Such details are given, that Dr. Philips begins to believe that his patient might be the Ripper himself in another life. When the boy fails to give him any information that would reveal the identity of the White Chapel killer, Dr. Philips ridicules himself for having thought the impossible.
Years after killing his sisters in a sleepwalking state, Jack is claimed normal and able to re-enter the real world. He is released from the mental institution to start a new life, but slowly starts to act upon his killer instincts and begins to remember events that happened over one hundred years ago.
Jack is ready for new games!
Sounds like a book I could like. I think–no, I know–this will go on my wish list. 🙂
Did you have difficulty coming up with the title?
No. It is actually the title that got me writing the book in the first place. I was chatting with a friend and he randomly mentioned the words ‘just another common killer’, pointing out that the first letters spelled Jack. That got me thinking about a story mainly based on Jack the Ripper. I have always been very fascinated with the unsolved murders and am a fan of horror movies. I am obsessed with Halloween. It is just as big as Christmas at my house. I decided to create a modern version of the mystery killer and turn him into the most evil man I could come up with.
If you would have to change the genre in order to be able to publish it, what would it be then? i.e. would you conform to the market?
No. I write a bit of everything; whatever inspires me in the moment. I don’t want to stick to just one genre.
Right with that out of the way and to confuse you we’ll take the alternative route now.
What don’t you like about writing.
I find that I am good at writing fiction, even though a lot of my ideas come from reality. I don’t like writing things were I have to stick to facts only. I like to use my imagination.
Writing the right first words are not always easy, and I often don’t quite know how to word my endings. Finding a catchy title can sometimes be a challenge.
Writing in general is a piece of cake, but I start to hate my work when I read it too often. Going over drafts, over and over again, can be a pain sometimes, but I always want to embellish my stories so it has to be done.
Sometimes I forget if I already included something in my story or only thought about it.
What do you do marketing wise and what do you think generates the most attention to your books?
I had promo cards for a few of my books, which I signed and distributed around my neighbourhood or to friends for them to hand out. I have placed ads in newspapers and even did a short commercial for TV, but media is very expensive. I don’t have much of a budget for marketing, so I mostly use the internet to promote my books now. I have book trailers up on YouTube. I have a Goodreads account as well as Amazon pages and a Facebook page where people can follow me. Many other authors have been helping me get the word out about my books, and in return I tell people about their published work. Also, I started working for a local newspaper and have been writing short stories for their Online Magazine. This has been giving me a bit of exposure.
Tell me, when you’re on a roll, the muse is in the house and happily guiding your pen, what would seriously drive her/him away?
I hate to say it, but when my son enters the room to ask me something or the phone rings non-stop. I try to do my writing when my son is asleep or out with his friends, but sometimes an idea just has to be written. I never think to unplug my phone when I am deep into my writing.
What does your muse look like and does he/she ever play tricks on you?
My muse is life itself. =)
Do you ever speak to your characters and do you get along all the time?
I don’t have actual conversations with them. I kind of become my characters instead. I have a background in acting so I imagine myself being the people I create so that I can personalize them correctly.
Is there any food or beverage that is a constant factor in either your books or life?
I have Colitis, which is a serious digestive illness, and have to be very careful of what I eat. I realised that I often make my characters eat the foods I crave. Lol
Sounds like a good deal, that way you can enjoy it through the words without the misery.
Would you be able to come up with a credible excuse why you haven’t written a whole day? Remember, I have to believe it!
I write as a hobby so need to do my real job every workday to pay the rent and bills… Don’t get me wrong. I love where I work! My creativity is appreciated at The Suburban. I write short stories for their Online Magazine on the side, but that is not what I was hired for. I do my writing on my personal time.
I am a single parent so don’t want to neglect my son during my time off. I never want to say, “Mommy won’t spend time with you because I want to write today.”
You are a dream mom!
And finally why would you ever want to live life behind a keyboard slaving over a manuscript?
I love to write! I made up stories before I even knew how to put words on paper. My mother told me that I used to draw my stories and dictate them to her so that she could note them down for me. I created a lot of mini books by stapling pieces of papers together in my youth. I wrote some poems and started a few manuscripts when I was a teenager. My sister and I even attempted to write a movie script once. I can’t imagine not writing! It is like air to me!
Okay now that we have the mandatory questions out of the way, shoot your mouth off. Tell me whatever you want the blab about. But please no cat’s, dogs, or children. Make me laugh, or cry, or even envious. Tell me something none has ever heard before from you. hehehe, love those little dirty secrets, real or make believe. 🙂
I guess I could tell you a little about my childhood. I used to have an imaginary friend named Snoopy and got really mad at my mother for sitting on him once. I also used to pretend that I was various characters from my favourite television shows. I only answered to the name Meagan at one point, because my next door neighbour and I pretended to be part of the My Little Pony gang. I wore a star sticker on the side of my left eye in Kindergarten because I wanted to be like Rainbow Brite. I always liked to be different. I will admit that I still like to dress up in costumes. I have a collection of medieval clothes, and several outfits and masks for Halloween. I am very theatrical. I can be a drama queen sometimes.
That is a great scoop! Thanks again Chantal. I loved having you and being able to present you and your work to my readers.
The only thing left for me to do now is tell the folks where they can find you online.