Read part one here.
Read part two here.
Airship Ambassador: How have you and your work grown and changed over time?
Chantal Boudreau: I get some of my best critque from my mom, who is not afraid to speak bluntly. She often remarks on the improvement and growth she has seen in my work over the years – she wasn’t all that keen on my writing at first. I have also managed pro-rate sales over the last couple of years which was a new accomplishment for me. I think that attests to my growth. I’m not scared of experimenting either which has allowed me to expand into different genres. I don’t like to stay static in my endeavours.
AA: Writing can be a challenge some days. What are some of your methods to stay motivated and creative?
CB: I’m less productive in winter, subject to the “blahs” of bad weather, so I don’t force things. I pick a few smaller projects and set some reasonable goals. When I have more creative energy, I push myself a little harder. I want results, but I also want to keep it fun.
AA: It’s good to recognize those feelings and cycles and work with them to your won benefit instead of fighting uphill against them. How is Nova Scotia for writing? Does location matter for resources, access, publicity, etc
CB: I grew up in rural Nova Scotia and that has definitely influenced my stories. “ Dead Drift,”my zombie story in Exile’s Dead North anthology is set in rural Nova Scotia, as is “Wrigglers” from Midnight Movie Creature Feature Volume II. But despite being a great inspiration for fantastical tales, it would be nice to be located somewhere central. I could get to more conventions, book releases, group readings, etc. At least we have a provincial writers’ society and a thriving and welcoming writing community here. I don’t feel alone, even if we are somewhat isolated.
AA: If you weren’t an author, what else would you be doing now?
CB: I’m not just an author. I’m an accountant, a mom, a gardener, an artist, a craftsperson, a reader, and a bit of an adventurer. I ‘m always dabbling into something new. I’d definitely find something else to do.
AA: Most of the authors I’ve talked with have some type of day job and that writing is their other job. What has that situation been for you and how has it helped/hindered begin a published writer?
CB: I work for the provincial government as an accountant and I love my job. I really enjoy working with numbers and people. My co-workers are all readers and are extremely supportive. My manager is also a published author so he celebrates my writing successes with me. Barb, my late muse, was a co-worker. I’m not sure I would have gone anywhere with my writing without their encouragement.
AA: That is really that you had such a supportive network of people. That kind of support is priceless. Looking beyond steampunk, writing and working, what other interests fill your time?
CB: I like to draw but I don’t have the patience to perfect my work. My mom does amazing pastel and watercolour work and my daughter does incredible digital artwork, so I leave most of the artwork to them. In the spring/summer/fall, gardening and jugger are my preferred outside past-times. I wish I could just hibernate through the winter because aside from work and hanging with my family, I don’t do much of anything. I’m not much of a winter person, which can be a problem when you live in Canada.
AA: I can understand that – my preferred winter activities are reading, movies, and camping out in front of the fireplace. How do those interests influence your work?
CB: I’m not sure if they do. They mainly help me relieve stress, so perhaps they improve my creative flow?
AA: Less stress is good. There’s only so much time in a day – what interests don’t you have time for?
CB: I liked to play RPGs when I was younger, before I had kids. I can’t spare the time for them anymore.
AA: What other fandoms are you part of (as a fan or participant) ?
CB: Jugger is a sport based on the post-apocalyptic movie Blood of Heroes, so I guess you could call that fandom. I love superhero movies and I read mostly horror and fantasy. I’m especially fond of zombies – movies, books, TV, it’s all good. I also enjoy science fiction, including books by Robert J. Sawyer and various movies.
AA: Are there people you consider an inspiration, role model, or other motivating influence?
CB: The list is too long to include, I think. I was an avid reader growing up and a big fan of Tanith Lee, Anne McCaffrey, Theodore Sturgeon and many others. As I mentioned, my family, friends and co-workers all support and inspire me. I’m very lucky that way.
AA: What event or situation has had the most positive impact in your life? What has been your greatest challenge?
CB: Finding friends in fandom. It gave me confidence, joy and the opportunity to meet my husband. The greatest challenge has been dealing with the loss of several loved ones over the past several years – both friends and family. They all died too young, some from illness, some from tragedy. You have to move on, but it takes time and the loss can be debilitating for awhile.
AA: I’m sorry for your losses. Let’s wrap up with three quick-fire random questions – what is your favorite metal, salad dressing, and sound of nature?
CB: My favourite metal is white gold, my favourite dressing is blue cheese and my favourite nature sound is peeper frogs.
AA: Yes! Blue Cheese! With extra cheese! Any final thoughts to share with our readers?
CB: I think everyone should challenge themselves to try something new and a little scary, from time to time. It’s a great means of self-discovery.
Thanks, Chantal, for joining us for this interview and for sharing all of your thoughts. We look forward to hearing about your next projects!
Keep up to date with Chantal Boudreau’s latest news on her website.
You can support Chantal and our community by getting your copy of Clockwork Canada here.