Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Terrific Tuesday with Chelle Cordero:)

Welcome! Please introduce yourself and tell us about your latest release.

I’m a dreamer, a hopeless romantic, and a freelance writer since 1981. Although I’ve had many newspaper and magazine articles published throughout the USA and Canada, my dream of being a novelist finally came true in 2008 when small press Vanilla Heart Publishing produced my first novel Bartlett’s Rule.

Since then I have had eight novels published with Vanilla Heart and have had short stories in 5 anthologies (publishers Vanilla Heart and Mandimam Press). This past fall anthology Passionate Hearts from Vanilla Heart featured my story The Vacation and anthology Forever Travels from Mandimam Press featured my story Stormy Weather. I also author an Amazon Kindle blog Living, Writing Breathing (http://www.facebook.com/l/2c2e5ZQV2gBHlYwtV19ceBH5zUw;bit.ly/pILcG) that offers a weekly writing lesson and VHP produced an ebook based on the blog that includes 30 days of lessons.

I was just recently informed that both anthologies placed in the Top Ten in categories in the 2010 Preditors and Editors Readers’ Poll.

Have you ever had an idea for a story which scared you after you began writing it?

Final Sin gave me nightmares! I based the opening scene on an actual crime that was discovered within walking distance from my home, but that was where the similarity ended. My protagonist was mentally deranged and I did a lot of research into the psychology of serial killers and obsessions. It was really scary stuff.

Have you incorporated actual events from your own life into your books?

As I stated previously, I have based some scenes on actual events. Most of my story content, even if inspired by real incidents, really comes from a very vivid and unrestrained imagination. While a particular event may make it into a story, the outcome is often the result of “What if?” this or that had happened?

The closest to actual events might be found in Final Sin. I am a NYS Emergency Medical Technician for the past 24 years (volunteer) and my heroine was a NYS Paramedic. I borrowed several real calls (my own and stories from others) to add a dose of reality to the heroine’s work day.

How much research do you do? Do you research first and then write, or do you write first, then research as needed?

Most of my writing is done first and then researched as needed. The as needed may come early in the writing process. In my current work-in-progress my heroine is a Pakistani immigrant; in order to make her authentic I did a lot of research into the Pakistani culture and her Muslim faith.

Is there any message you want readers to take from reading your work?

I want my readers to take away a need to think. No person is entirely good or entirely bad no matter what their profession, lifestyle or crimes. I want my readers to take away the feeling how different things might have been if my characters had allowed different influences to rule their decisions. Very little in life is really “black and white” there are many grey areas. I would like to think that people will have a greater understanding of “where” people come from when they make choices and might apply that to real life.

Are you a plotter or a pantser? And have you ever had a story take on a life of its own?

I am definitely a pantser. I like to create a situation and create characters, then I tend to let my characters write their own stories by actually reacting to the roadblocks I throw at them.

How long did it take for you to be published?

If you count my non-fiction work, I was very fortunate to be published the first time I ever submitted something. I was 19 years old and was asked by an organization I was a member of to submit a news article about a young man who had lost his life when he came to the aid of a subway mugging victim.

I began freelance writing as a profession in 1981 and again, fortunately, it didn’t take long for me to see my byline appear in local publications. In the 1990’s I decided to pursue my dream of writing a novel and started submitting late in that decade. I connected with Vanilla Heart late in 2007 and my first book came out in April 2008.

If you could go back and tell yourself anything when you first began your writing career, what would you say?

I think I would tell myself to get serious about writing as a career much earlier in life.

Laptop or pen and ink? What are your ‘must-haves’ when writing?

Laptops are certainly the greatest aid to my writing style. I love the fact that I can edit without having to retype everything! My first writing was done pen and ink and then typed (using carbon paper for copies!) so corrections were really a hassle. I finally had an electric typewriter with a mini word processor (2 lines at a time, at least it helped eliminate typos). Full word processing programs really made my life easier.

Next came the advent of electronic submissions (yay!). I ran the gamut of mailed in and in-person hard copy submissions and then being able to fax my finished work in and in some cases using FTP. I love the fact, and the ease, of being able to attach my work to an email, or including it in the body. So even though I realize how spoiled I sound, my “must-haves” include an internet connection and laptop or desk PC.

Who are your favorite authors? Who would you say influenced you the most?

I really enjoy books by Danielle Steele, John Kellerman, Faye Kellerman, and Dean Koontz. In the past several years I’ve learned to look at many of the small presses for terrific writers and great stories as well; Vanilla Heart Publishing has a slew of terrific authors like Charmaine Gordon, Janet Walters, Sandy Nicks, Vila Spiderhawk, Smoky Trudeau, Malcolm Campbell, Victoria Howard, and several others.

What would your readers be surprised to learn about you?

I always tell folks that “I’ve lived many lives”; I had a variety of interesting jobs working my way through school including undercover retail investigation, acting and stage lighting design, public relations for a major magazine, jewelry sales clerk, and traffic router for a major department store. In addition, I volunteered as a NYC Auxiliary Police Officer and NYS EMT. In my single years I dated cops, firefighters, soldiers, computer programmers, actors and even someone in the FBI! Combined with my overactive imagination, I have a lot of stories!

For Fun:
What is your favorite love scene to write or read? (ie: First kiss, passion after a fight, reunion)

I love reunion love scenes – there is a familiarity and yet a newness to the lovemaking. It’s very special and romantic when a lover remembers particular favorites to please their partner. It’s also exhilarating when “two bodies” that seem made for each other come together, it’s a feeling of belonging and discovery at the same time.

What is your favorite Valentine’s Day memory?

The first Valentine’s Day I was married I baked my husband a heart shaped cake, it was devil’s food with green mint icing (his favorite). He acted as if I had moved a mountain for him and made me feel so wonderful. We’ve exchanged several sentimental and loving gifts through the years, but the way he made me feel for my effort was absolutely breathtaking. (PS, we’ve been married for 35 years) Congratulations! These days, that is a major accomplishment:)

Sweetest gift ever given to you?

Mark and I got engaged without a ring (we were only dating 2 weeks!). Neither of us came from great financial backgrounds so I wasn’t in a hurry for him to go out and buy me a diamond ring. Mark wanted me to have a ring though so he took me into a small store, the equivalent of one of the old five-and-dime stores, and purchased a piece of costume jewelry that looked like an emerald-cut diamond. I wore that until he saved up for a real diamond ring. I still have that inexpensive ring and it will always be very special to me.

Thank you for being here today! Please tell us where we can find your books.

Thank you for allowing me the spotlight!

People can find out more about me and my books at my website http://www.facebook.com/l/2c2e57MUoJj-JagG0pOjcHa_xQA;ChelleCordero.com
or Smashwordshttp://www.facebook.com/l/2c2e54N39qIPMPfbdo0ipC2hRwQ;www.smashwords.com/profile/view/chellecordero
You can also read free samples of my books and see more buy links athttp://www.facebook.com/l/2c2e5_IU4peu5bsqCxTTzuuVoAQ;www.freado.com/users/books/5330/chelle-cordero


Malcolm R. Campbell said...

That opening in Final Sin was rather disturbing, even in fiction, so just thinking about that being based on a real life event makes it even more intense.


Unknown said...

Molly asked all the right questions. Delightful intimate interview. Insightful information about both sides of people. Seek the good in spite of the bad side. Thanks.

Unknown said...

Enjoyed the interview. Intense excerpt

Chelle Cordero said...

Hi Malcolm, it was a highly publicized case in 1985 and a friend of mine was the first police officer on the scene. It always gave me shivers to drive past the scene which is not far from where I live. Using the basics of the scene to create my own fiction actually took away my tremors, lol.

Hi Charmaine, yes, Molly really came us with some terrific questions. She really made me think about what I had to say.

Hi Amber, thanks so much for stopping in today. To read free samples of all of my books, you can check out http://bit.ly/dbcgGX

L. E. Harvey said...

Great interview! I love learning new things about my friends and favorite writers! ;)

Molly Daniels said...

Thank you Chelle:) I credit my friend Travis with helping me come up with those questions!

Thanks for hanging out with me this week:)