An avid reader as a child, Cheryl Kaye Tardif grew up in Vancouver, Canada in a nurturing environment with a family who encouraged her creative side, surrounded with Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, and Bobbsey Twins series. During her teens, her favorite authors were Stephen King, Dean Koontz, John Saul, and Danielle Steel.
At 14, Cheryl was already a consummate journalist, writing a weekly column for a small-town newspaper for $5 a week. Then in her late teens she made her decision: she was going to become a novelist.
Nowadays, Tardif modestly describes herself as a fulltime author, promoter, and publisher. Her highly-acclaimed bestsellers include Whale Song, The River, Divine Intervention, Divine Justice, Children of the Fog, and her latest, Submerged, among others. She also writes romance under her pen name, Cherish D’Angelo. In addition, she’s a book marketing coach as well as owner and publisher of Imajin Books.
Tardif’s strength as an author lies in digging into the emotions of her characters and reflecting that emotion back to readers so they connect deeply to the characters and story. Submerged was originally going to be pitched to some of the major publishers, but she and her agent decided on a different strategy. Since she wouldn’t give up her rights for a small/medium type book deal, they decided that Imajin Books would publish her thriller and she’d do her best to help it sell. “Once we have high sales like I do for Children of the Fog, we plan to take both books to a major publisher and pursue a substantial deal,” says the author. So far, it looks as though she’s on the right tract, asSubmerged has already had over 49,000 downloads on Amazon during March 2013 alone.
For Submerged, Cheryl was inspired by a high-school friend who became addicted to painkillers while working as a paramedic. “With such a high stress job and seeing the things he must have witnessed, I wanted to explore a character with a similar life,” states Tardif. “And I wanted to show that even though a person may make some wrong decisions in his or her life, it is never too late to turn a life around or find redemption.”
Tardif is an admirably prolific writer. Submerged took only 6-8 weeks to write, making it the fastest novel this author has ever written, athough she started it over two years ago and had to set it aside while getting her publishing company off the ground.
Tardif creates her suspenseful stories in a beautiful office with periwinkle blue walls and two work stations with PCs, but most of the time she writes on her laptop while sitting on the recliner in the living room with her dog Chai. “Since my daughter is living with her fiancé, I have no small children at home, so it’s very peaceful and conducive to writing,” states the author.
Once a story has percolated in her mind for a while, she usually makes a few notes of key scenes for a novel. Then she starts writing. She sets word count goals every time she sits down to write, usually 3,000 words, and most often exceeds them. “I do edit while writing,” states Tardif. “Often I’ll read the previous chapter and edit it before carrying on with the story. This helps to get me back ‘into’ the plot. I’ll often write late into the night or early morning. And it’s not rare for me to write or edit for 2 days straight, without sleep. Once I’m ‘in the zone,’ I don’t want to leave.”
For Tardif, the rewards of being an author are two-fold. First, seeing her characters come to life in a story is very rewarding. But even more rewarding is receiving emails from readers who have enjoyed her books, especially when they get the often deeper meanings in her works—or when they say her work affected their lives in a positive way. “I love bringing my characters and their stories to life. Even more, I love when readers connect to these characters and stories.”
Her advice to aspiring writers: “Determine if you want to put out a book as a hobby or write as a career author. Then learn everything there is to know about writing and publishing, and treat this like a business. Because that’s what it is.”
Tardif will be focusing on Imajin Books publications until this fall, when she’ll be working at completing her next suspense thriller, Divine Sanctuary, book 3 in her Divine series. She now resides in Edmonton, Canada with her husband Marc and their family dog.
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