Monday, November 10, 2008

Q&A with American Title finalist Marie-Claude Bourque!

Tell us about your entry in the American Title contest.

ANCIENT WHISPERS is a dark paranormal inspired by the poem Evangeline by Henri Longfellow (1847). It is the story of a bold immortal sorcerer and his obsession to be reunited with the fiancée he lost centuries ago. It is filled with tortured heroes, engaging and mysterious characters, intense emotions, scorching dark desires, gothic rituals and a touch of history.

How long have you been writing?

I’ve been writing for 14 months.

What made you decide to enter the American Title contest?

I had just started to enter my manuscript in RWA contests when I saw the call for entry. Since my first three chapters were polished and the contest free, I decided to give it a shot just for fun and I quickly forgot all about it.

Describe your thoughts at the first moment you realized you were going to be in the contest?

The first real shock I had was when I received an email from Leah Hultenschmidt telling me she had thoroughly enjoyed my story and could I please send her the full manuscript. That was huge for me, I had only been writing for 10 months by then and I had no idea if anyone would ever like my writing. It was a tremendous validation. I didn’t expect more than that. I was very happy at that point. But of course, when I found out I was actually a finalist, I was stunned. I think I even cried.

What has been the reaction of your family and friends so far?

My friends and family are extremely supportive. A lot of people didn’t know I was writing, and now they are all very excited about the contest. My husband wishes he could get a few more home cook dinners, but he takes it all in a stride.
My two boys are very proud. It is great at their age, they believe that someone can truly do anything if they want it hard enough and they work hard at it. Their attitude is very stimulating to me.

What authors have influenced you?

I read across genre and I can’t say I write like any particular authors. I discovered paranormal romance through Sherrilyn Kenyon and Christine Feehan and I still love everything they produce, their character developments, the heat level of their love scene. But I have to say that my style has been called slightly lyrical and that has been a problem for me in many contests. I cannot seem to fit in that mold. I was a bit depressed about it, until I read dark fantasy author Caitlin R. Kiernan. I am quite a fan of hers and to see her writing style, very dark and lyrical, liberated me to write what I feel is me. I don’t write like her, or even try. She is brilliant. And she is true to herself and that is what inspires me. So I’m just looking for those people out there who might like my style. If I can’t find anyone, I will have to revise my game plan.

Okay, this is a tough question considering the contest is just opening, but what has been the toughest thing so far?

First, I am very worried about the judges’ comments. I can take being voted off, but I’m scared of the comments, on the Romantic Times website, for everyone to see.
But the real biggest challenge for me is balance, to stay balanced. When I start something, I am very focused and work very hard. So I do that for promoting the contest now, and I am very worried about neglecting my family or also forget to write new material, because it is the actual writing, writing everyday that keeps me truly happy.

Any idea how you'll react if you win?

I’ll be grateful, extremely grateful that many people took the time in their busy day to vote for my entry. I am amazed already at the number of people that are interested to read my story. I have my old friends from my hometown in Quebec, my colleagues at the gym where I used to work, the Pagan community online, writers of dark fiction, lots of great people in the romance community, including my Greater Seattle RWA chapter and of course my three special writing partners and friends. I even have some great guys from my hometown, bikers in a rock band and very talented musicians, who want me to write song lyrics for them. It is just amazing to me that people would care to help me succeed.
So yes, if it ever happens, I will be grateful. And if I don’t win, because it is quite a long shot, I’ll be very happy for the winner, because we have all become good friends, and I just want to read everyone’s stories.
So whatever the outcome, I have come such a long way since I first submitted my prologue, very timidly, to an online critique group about 10 months ago, that I will still be thrilled to have had the chance to learn so much from the contest.


Congratulations, Marie-Claude Bourque, and good luck! Be sure to vote for the next American Title winner by going to the Romantic Times site!

Click here: Read First Lines and instructions on how to vote

You can visit Marie-Claude's web site by clicking here.



Marie-Claude Bourque said...

Hi Patti,
Thanks for having me over to your blog. Definitely one to add to my list of TBR :)
Marie-Claude :)

Estella said...

Good luck, Marie-Claude!

Caffey said...

All the best to you Marie!! I shall go to your blog and site! I wondered if it was in a historical setting since it was based on that. I love historicals with paranormals!

Marie-Claude Bourque said...

Thanks for the good wishes Estella and Caffey.

Caffey, the story is set in modern time, but refers a lot to the Acadian deportation, including a vivid portait at the beginning.
Thanks for visiting my site :)