10 Questions with Claude Dancourt

Today, I’m reposting the first author interview on my blog with a good friend and a good author, Claude Dancourt. Please scroll down to enjoy her interview and check out her Amazon’ author page, her websiteSecoSecond Chancesnd Chances and her other books.

1.   Tell us a bit about Second Chances.

Second Chances is a contemporary romance inspired by Bryan Adams fantastic song “The right place”.  I was driving home one evening, and listening to this song, and suddenly I saw Maya welcoming Arthur home and the novel was born.

2.   Where did you find the inspiration for the character of Maya, the female hero of the romance?

Maya is strong; she is fragile; she listens to her heart; she listens to her head.  She has fears and strengths, just like every female character I create.  Maybe her emotional side dominates, which makes her a bit different.  As to point out where I find the inspiration for her character, I have no answer.  She is not like me, that’s for sure!  Except for her taste in Christmas trees.

3.   What is your view on the importance of minor characters in a novel?

Minor characters are very important.  They allow the writer to give depth to the main characters. Minor characters show a different point of view on the heroes, bring out the best and the worst of them.  They made them more credible, real people with friends, families or enemies.  I often use them as tension relievers too.

4.   How do you weave sub-plots throughout the entire structure of the main storyline?

My stories generally are born with a scene, a line of dialogue or an image.  The main plot appears when I start writing that scene down.  Sub-plots come later, when I realize I need to explain this or that; a secondary character appears, or something totally random at the beginning grows because I need to connect some dots.  I wish I could tell I plot and plot and plot until the canvas is good and then start writing. I don’t.  Things just happen.

5.   What kind of research do you do for your works, the culture, the locales, the events?

Google and Wikipedia are my two best friends!  Just (half) kidding.  I read a lot, I love dictionaries and encyclopedias.  Generally, I look for dry facts, and knit them together myself.  When I’m done, I use social network and forums to contact people more familiar than I am with the subject at hand, to see if I’m right on tracks or totally out of it.  For an example, once I emailed a museum because I had some questions about a painting that inspired me.

6.   How does Claude write?  When?  Outlines or not?

It depends!  Second Chances wasn’t outlined at all.  The novel I am revising now, Return to Caer Lon, was outlined.  I find it difficult to write with a plot-line.  I prefer let my imagination take me from point A to point B.

As for the how and when…  Anyhow, everywhere loll.  I have restless muses, who tend to attack me at the most inconvenient moments.  Grocery shops, during a flight, or late at night. I sometimes write directly on my laptop, but I prefer the old method of ink (blue) and paper (lined).

7.   What made you want to become a writer?

Ah ah, the big question.  I read a lot.  And sometimes, I didn’t like the endings.  So I decided to write my own stories so I could choose the endings.  More seriously, I always read a lot, even as a kid, and after a while, I couldn’t find the story I wanted to read, at the moment I wanted it.  So it was easier to write it.

8.   When do you know the ending of your book and does it change throughout the writing of the novel?

I wrote Second chances ending before I was done with chapter 12.  It just popped into my head, and it never changed.  The ending of Return to Caer Lon changed three times, and I wrote it last.

9.   What’s next for Maya and Arthur?  What other stories are you working on?

Maya and Arthur had their happily ever after.  However, they might appear as very secondary characters in other novels.  I mentioned Return to Caer Lon a couple of times; it’s a fantasy, inspired by the Arthurian Legend.  I am revising the manuscript at the moment, and hopefully it will be available somewhere in 2012.  I am also working on a paranormal romance.

10.   What can readers expect to find in Second Chances?

A couple of laughs.  A couple of sighs.  Hope.  Love. Fun.  I certainly had some writing it.

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