Interview with Cheryl Kaye Tardiff: 'I believe research is a key element with writing any book'

Cheryl Kaye Tardif is an award-winning, international bestselling Canadian suspense author. Her novels include Divine Sanctuary, Submerged, Divine Justice, Children of the Fog, The River, Divine Intervention, and Whale Song, which New York Times bestselling author Luanne Rice calls "a compelling story of love and family and the mysteries of the human heart...a beautiful, haunting novel."

She is now working on her next thriller.

Cheryl also enjoys writing short stories inspired mainly by her author idol Stephen King, and this has resulted in Skeletons in the Closet & Other Creepy Stories (collection of shorts) and Remote Control (novelette eBook). In 2010 Cheryl detoured into the romance genre with her contemporary romantic suspense debut, Lancelot's Lady, written under the pen name of Cherish D'Angelo.

Booklist raves, "Tardif, already a big hit in Canada…a name to reckon with south of the border."

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About the Book:

There's no place like home…

In the Divine trilogy finale, the heat is tripled when CFBI Agent Jasi McLellan must rescue Emily, the ghost girl that haunts her dreams; expose her own mother's killer; and uncover a murderer that preys on the weak at Sanctuary, a controversial cult nestled in the woods near Mission, BC.

Something insidious lurks behind the safe haven of Sanctuary's wrought iron gates. Led by the charismatic Father Jeremiah, the cult's idyllic lifestyle seems perfect on the outside. But a lethal hunter is on the prowl, and in a carefully executed game of cat and mouse, the body count rises.

Along with Victim Empath Natassia Prushenko, Psychometric Empath Ben Roberts and Special Consultant Brandon Walsh, Jasi follows three trails of clues that lead to one terrifying conclusion: home is not always the safest place on earth.

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Q: Welcome to The Writer's Life!  Now that your book has been published, we’d love to find out more about the process.  Can we begin by having you take us to the beginning?  Where did you come up with the idea to write your book?

My latest novel, Divine Sanctuary, is book three in my Divine Trilogy, and it was born from my love of the paranormal/supernatural. I have always been fascinated by the idea of people with authentic psychic “gifts” and the possibility that they might assist law enforcement agencies with cold cases or high profile cases.

Three of the lead characters have different psychic abilities. Jasi is a Pyro-Psychic who can see through the eyes of a serial arsonist/killer when she smells smoke from his fire. Ben is a Psychometric Empath who can read items or people at a single touch. Natassia is a Victim Empath who can read victims, whether alive…or dead. And the fourth member, Brandon, is a fire chief who starts off as a skeptic but soon realizes that even the unexplainable can be possible.

In this trilogy, I’ve created a covert division of the CFBI (Canadian FBI), whose various psychic powers are instrumental in solving crime. The first book, Divine Intervention, explores themes of child abuse, abortion and the foster system. Book two, Divine Justice, delves into a conspiracy that is affecting government officials. And book three, Divine Sanctuary, takes readers behind the gates of a cult compound.

Q: How hard was it to write a book like this and do you have any tips that you could pass on which would make the journey easier for other writers?

Writing Divine Sanctuary was much easier than the first two books because I knew that not only did I have to close the current case, I would finally get a chance to resolve two sub-plots—the ghost girl from Jasi’s closet and the mystery behind Jasi’s mother’s murder.

I believe research is a key element with writing any book. The more believable you can make the plot, the more it will be accepted. But even more important is adding emotion. I want my readers to care about my characters. I want them to yearn to know what happens to them and to cheer them on when they win, or when the bad guy is caught. I want these characters to seem real, 3-dimensional, vulnerable and flawed.

Q: Who is your publisher and how did you find them or did you self-publish?

I have many publishers, and I am also self-published. I have self-published my English ebooks and paperbacks and one Spanish ebook. I also have multiple translation deals with traditional publishers in Turkish, Chinese and German. I recently signed a 4-book translation deal with a German publisher, only days after the release of Des Nebels Kinder, which was published by Amazon Crossing. And Audible has published two audiobooks.

Q: Is there anything that surprised you about getting your first book published?

My first published novel was Whale Song, back in 2003. What surprised me was how expensive it was and how much I enjoyed book signings at that time. This was the perfect career for me, something I had dreamed about since I was a teen. And I could see the endless possibilities, even early on.

Q: What other books (if any) are you working on and when will they be published?

I am currently working on a paranormal horror/thriller that takes me back to my author idols, Stephen King and Dean Koontz. I am hoping it will be published in 2015. I believe it will be my greatest success to date! I also have some other novels in the works; I am never short on story plots.

Q: What’s your favorite place to hang out online?

Facebook, hands down, is my favorite haunt. I enjoy socializing with readers and other authors. So you’ll either find me on my profile page or my author page. I love meeting people from different countries.

Q: Finally, what message (if any) are you trying to get across with your book?

Divine Sanctuary really is a novel about family and home, and what each of those words truly mean. We all have various definitions. This is why I wanted to explore the cult theme. Family isn’t always about your immediate family; often it can extend to best friends. And sometimes home isn’t the safest place to be, even though many will tell you “there’s no place like home.”
Q: Thank you again for this interview!  Do you have any final words?

I’d like to invite everyone to pick up a FREE copy of Divine Intervention. You’ll also find Divine Justice on sale for only $2.99, and Divine Sanctuary is now available. You’ll find them at your favorite online retailers.

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