Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Guest Blogger: Author Chelle Cordero

Please welcome my guest blogger, author Chelle Cordero. We'd love it if you leave her a comment or a question (or two). :) Making it Real I like to write, that is a simple fact. How I come up with my stories is just free-flow imagination. I start with an idea; I could have picked it up anywhere, maybe from the newspaper I read or even an out of context sentence I overheard at the grocery store. Then I just let it “grow”. I play “what if?” and so many possibilities come up. Several readers have asked me if they are really reading fact instead of fiction. Do I write what I know? Maybe. Are my stories true? I’m a fiction writer. How much of the heroine is really Chelle? Definitely a little bit here and there. How much of the hero is hubby? Again, a little bit here and there. It seems obvious that my heroines are going to share some of my likes and dislikes and that my heroes are going to have something in common with the man I love. Maybe that is how I am able to pour so much emotion into my writing. But the circumstances – those are one-hundred percent fiction, or at least mostly. My alter-ego non-fiction writer (business profiles, human interest stories, etc) is used to doing research to familiarize myself with topics I didn’t know much about before heading into an interview or such. Do I really know about a car’s engine and the design of its valves? I never learned about the perfect blend of materials to make an effective and energy efficient house siding. I may collect recipes for articles about healthy eating, but hand me a cookbook in my own kitchen and you will find me losing my place (purposely?) very quickly. I research everything that goes into my novels. I have some familiarity with the general setting for Bartlett’s Rule – a magazine office in midtown Manhattan. My first job was through a temp agency and I wound up working in the publicity department of McCall’s Magazine, that part was easy. Since my heroine is a rape survivor, I had to research the facts and statistics about rape and its aftermath. I read everything I could on secondary survivors, the folks who love the survivors. Then I wrote the story of Lon and Paige. In Forgotten I researched details such as missiles and computer chip technology, amnesia, and drugs. For Within the Law, I studied the requirements of NYS Troopers and familiarized myself with court systems. And for Courage of the Heart (coming out this February), I actually learned a few intricate details about illicitly downloading a computer’s hard drive. To be honest, there are a few places in my books that I have not physically visited but the internet and virtual tours are a terrific help in that area. Writers who do their research can create havoc over a game of Trivial Pursuit! In the long run, I do write what I know – or I’ve learned what my story needs to know. The world in my novel becomes very real to me while I am writing it and I feel rather accomplished if you, my reader, believes it could be real. But… it’s only make believe. -########- (excerpt from Within the Law) “Calm down sweetheart.” Alli was surprised about how nervous Tom was about his parents coming to visit. “No. You don’t understand. My mother is going to come in here and look for something wrong. She won’t stop until she finds it.” He was checking all the surfaces for dust even though Alli had spent all of the day before cleaning. “You are driving yourself crazy.” “My mother will drive me crazy.” “I spoke with Caitlyn yesterday. She said your mom isn’t as bad as you make her out to be.” “Well Cat can say that. She’s a few hundred miles away.” He stopped and looked at Alli. “You two are getting pretty chummy. I don’t know if that means trouble for me?” “You worry too much.” Alli left the room. He hoped he hadn’t insulted her. Tom plumped the pillows on the sofa... again. He had to admit, Alli had done a nice job scrubbing the house. He was grateful because she really understood how important it was to him. She had never even grumbled about it. He was using his sleeve to wipe a possible smudge off of a glass panel on the curio cabinet when he heard Alli coming back down the stairs. “Babe, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to...” He stood silently when he saw what she was wearing. “Now, that’s really not fair. I’ve got to wear that to work.” And he knew he would never get over the vision of her wearing his uniform shirt and nothing else but a pair of flimsy panties and a delicate diamond engagement ring. The shirt was left unbuttoned. “Your cousin said you needed to be distracted if you got too nervous.” “I’m distracted.” “Good.” She went into his arms. “Now you just need to relax...” His breath was slow and steady. “I think I know just what I need to relax,” He spread the shirt open and pulled her to him. He bent to kiss her. They heard the front door open. “Tommy! Come help your father with the suitcases.” Alli stepped back and pulled the shirt closed. Her eyes were wide. “They’re early!” “Uh, yeah...” He blew out a big breath. “I’ll be right there ma.” He called back. “I have to get upstairs.” “I’ll keep them distracted.” He did his best to compose himself and then he went to greet his mother. He made sure to hug his mom and swing her around so that her back was to the stairs. “Hi ma. You got here early.” “Your father decided to push on through instead of stopping at a decent hour last night.” She started to look around. “So where is this Alli of yours?” He saw Alli run up the stairs and he did his best to hide a smirk. “She’s uh, upstairs changing. She’ll be right down.” Tom turned to the door. “Let me go help dad.” -########- 1) If you decided to no longer write, what would you do instead? If I decided I was going to do something other than write, and age, time and money weren’t a consideration, I would study forensic science and crime scene investigation. Yep, put me right up there with the CSI squads. Maybe it comes from my desire to solve puzzles, but I would love to be able to solve a huge mystery like a crime. 2) What are your best promotion tips for other writers? What works best for you? I maintain a huge online presence. You also have to allow yourself to become rather egotistical and talkative – this is difficult because most writers I know (including me) tend to be introverted and reclusive. The simple fact is, no matter how good your book may be, if folks don’t know about it and have no idea who you are, it won’t make it. You have to constantly push it out there. 3) If you have a pen name, how did you choose it? If you don’t have a pen name, what would you choose if you decide to take one? I don’t consider the name I use as a writer a pen name. Chelle Cordero is my maiden name (though not exactly my birth name – NO, I am not a Michelle!) I am very happily married and my hubby is not “Mr. Cordero”; in all social events I am Mrs. Mark E. Keeping my maiden name is a huge source of pride for me. I am the younger of two daughters and my dad was a Latin “machismo” male who really wanted a son. But my sister and I did not suffer because we were girls. My father wouldn’t be denied being able to do the things he would do with a son, so my sister and I learned early on that we were allowed to and had the ability to do anything we wanted without gender stereotyping. Being “Cordero” means I can do ANYTHING! 4) What is your most dearly held fantasy? (non-romance related) I would like to keep the people dearest to me (my kids, my siblings and their kids, my closest friends and of course my hubby) under one massive roof, or at least all in the same neighborhood. I grew up in an apartment building in the Bronx NYC and used to fantasize that my family owned the entire building and each of the apartments was occupied by relatives. I like the feeling of being close. 5) How do you deal with rejection? Conversely, what do you do to celebrate new contracts/contest wins/good reviews? I get feisty with rejection. I guess I don’t take the criticism well, I don’t believe it when someone says my work isn’t good enough. So, even if I have to do a little rewrite, I become determined to successfully market my work, even the ones that have been rejected. 6) Are you a cat or a dog person? Why? I’m definitely a cat person. I love ALL animals and hubby and I have often discussed getting a dog. But I am allergic to pups… sigh. 7) What do you want to be able to say about yourself and your life when you’re 90 years old and looking back at your life? I want to know that I made a difference. I know that my family and close friends will miss me when I am gone but I would like to think that others will also realize it when I am gone. I don’t mean that I want folks to mourn for me. I just want to know that I have made enough of an impact in this life to be noticed. 8) How do you pay good things forward? (not only writing related) I try to volunteer in my community (I am a volunteer NYS EMT with my local ambulance corps) and I like to treat most patients as if they were favorite family members. I want to know that I am giving them my best in their time of need. 9) What have been the biggest influences in your life? In your writing? I think the biggest influence in my writing was my high school creative writing teacher, poet Daisy Aldan. Ms Aldan taught us that so long as we write from within our hearts, then our writing was good – even if it needed spelling and grammar corrections. She gave me a lot of confidence in my writing. The biggest influences in my life include my parents – my mom was always patient and ready to listen to everyone, my dad was a man who always gave generously of his time and would help anyone, strangers included. In my modern day, I marvel at the selflessness and concern of my kids and hubby. Both my daughter and my son are full-time EMS and both volunteer (both in the local ambulance corps and my daughter in her local fire department). Hubby is also a volunteer with the ambulance corps and with a federal disaster team. Being surrounded by really good people makes me want to be good. -#######- Within the Law · Paperback: 304 pages · Publisher: Vanilla Heart Publishing (October 2, 2008) · Language: English · ISBN-10: 0982115040 · ISBN-13: 978-0982115046 Thanks for this opportunity! Chelle Chelle Cordero, Author Chelle Cordero Website Chelle's Online Portfolio You'll also want to see what Amarinda Jones, Anika Hamilton, Anny Cook, Barbara Huffert, Brynn Paulin, Bronwyn Green, Dakota Rebel, Kelly Kirch, Molly Daniels, Sandra Cox, Regina Carlysle, and Cindy Spencer Pape are up to, so make sure to visit them also. :)


Chelle Cordero said...

Thank you for this terrific write-up!

Anonymous said...

Ah, a little more into the mystery of Chelle Cordero. I'm going downtown so I should be finished with "Forgotten" today.
I think the more research you do on a topic will not only help to build the story. It also helps with the believability. I like to get into people's heads so that when I right a character it's not just like me.. but I would like to one day write a character that is exactly like me only a female.. and prettier!

Chelle Cordero said...

Aw come'on, Gizzy says you are pretty!

Anonymous said...

Hi Ashley and Chelle,

I'm glad to find out more about you. I'm a new Ashley Ladd fan and I can't wait to read your books too, Chelle.

Merry Christmas,

Natalie Acres

Chelle Cordero said...

Thanks Natalie - I'd love to hear your reactions.

Unknown said...

Thank you again, Chelle, for joining us. My computer died the day of your interview so I am so sorry I was absent. You did a great job.

Thank you, too, to all my other guests and commentors.

Anonymous said...

Hi Chelle, I got back to this page because I wanted to see what would happen if I googled my name as "Miikell Mcdermott" this was the only thing to show up.
I can't believe I wrote "when I right a character" instead of "when I write a character" still a female version of me would be wild! As you know I finished "Forgotten" and hope to get to the "book reviews" today!

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