The first interview of 2016 is with USA Today Bestselling Author, Claude Bouchard. I first met Claude online through Twitter, which is where I meet most of the authors I know. We swapped books, I sent him a PDF copy of Killing Time and he sent me one of Vigilante, and we've kept it touch from time to time over social media since then. Vigilante, the first in the Vigilante series, is a brilliant crime thriller, with some great twists. What Claude thought of Killing Time I'm not 100% sure, I hope he liked it.
Below is a short bio taken from Claude's website, followed by my interview with him. Enjoy.
Claude was born in Montreal, Canada, at a very young age, where he still resides with his spouse, Joanne, under the watchful eye of Krystalle and Midnight, two black females of the feline persuasion. In a former life, he completed his studies at McGill University and worked in various management capacities for a handful of firms over countless years. From there, considering his extensive background in human resources and finance, it was a logical leap in his career path to stay home and write crime thrillers.
(Taken from ClaudeBouchardBooks.com)
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I wrote my first novel in 1995 and two more into 1997 but I can’t really say it was because I’d realized I wanted to be a writer. It was more so I had a story to tell which was then followed by two sequels. Though I did do a bit of agent querying at the time, I soon put my manuscripts aside and continued to concentrate on my career in management. Fast-forward to 2009. I learned of the growing self-pub industry and, as a pastime while job hunting, I dusted off my three novels, intent more on actually seeing them in book format than writing for a living. By the time I had revised and published the third, my mind was buzzing with ideas for a fourth then a fifth and so on and sales were starting to pick up. At some point along the way, I realized I was a writer.
What are you working on right now?
I’m currently slowly progressing with Getting Even, the twelfth installment of my Vigilante series. In addition, I’m working with a Los Angeles producer on adapting my series for television.
How does your work differ from others of its genre?
To say my work is unique would be a vast overstatement or, put more bluntly, a load of crock. With the sheer number of mysteries and crime thrillers out there, I have no doubt my works resemble others just as others are similar to mine. However, as writers, we all develop our own voice and writing style which does reflect our personal touch. My writing has been described as taut, stark and raw, to the point and generally devoid of fluffy fillers. For the most part, I avoid going into detailed descriptions, limiting myself to just enough to get the image across. Past that, I can say mine may be the only ‘vigilante justice’ thrillers often set in Montreal.
Why did you choose the genre you write in?
The catalyst for my first novel, Vigilante, though my story bears no resemblance whatsoever, was the O.J. Simpson fiasco, a true life account of someone literally getting away with murder. Though I would never condone vigilantism in real life, making violent criminals pay for their crimes in my fictional world is highly satisfying. To summarize, consider the following which is the introductory text preceding my book descriptions:
Doesn't everyone fantasize a bit about vigilante justice? Haven't you ever read or heard of some despicable act of violence and secretly wished you could have the opportunity to make the predator pay? Welcome to the VIGILANTE Series, a growing collection of suspense best sellers best described as thrillers and mysteries which will have you cheering for the assassin as justice is delivered in a clandestine fashion. But remember, this is fiction so it's not a crime.
What is your work schedule like when you're writing?
Unless I’m on vacation, which means away from home, my work week runs from Sunday to Saturday starting somewhere between 6:00 and 7:00am and ending at 4:00pm. Bathroom breaks are permitted as required as is meal prep time though meals are usually consumed at my work station. My days are spent behind the keyboard facing two monitors, one displaying an assortment of open internet tabs and the other, a variety of required documents, the main one generally being my current WIP. Although I do write in the morning, the best of my writing is usually done in the afternoon. Mornings are often devoted more so to social media, correspondence, promotion, recordkeeping and so on. It’s a wonderful, chaotic form of multi-tasking which I’m quite comfortable with.
How much research do you do before and during a writing project?
My books are, at the very best, very loosely and vaguely planned ahead of time… Yes, I’m a pantser. That being the case, the bulk of my research is done while I work through a writing project as I generally wouldn’t know what to research before I started.
How does your writing process work?
A vague idea leads to a title which, incidentally, is always the first thing I type. I then simply create a fitting story to match the title. Easy. :)
Who are your writing influences?
Anything I’ve read has influenced me as will anything I read going forward. Reading is a major component of writing as it helps expand our vocabulary and further develop a variety of grammatical skills. That said, I could list hundreds of authors who have had an impact on me but I’ll name just a few such as Child, Deaver, Crais, Connelly and Grafton.
What other authors do you read?
In recent years, I’ve been reading indie authors almost exclusively including Russell Blake, Gary Ponzo, Toby Neal, Nick Russell, Deborah Brown, Luke Romyn, Robert Bidinotto and many others.
What do you like to do when you're not writing?
I’ve developed a growing interest in sleeping in recent years but only at night. I paint though not much of late. I also read, of course, play guitar, love to cook and my wife and I travel as much as we can.
Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
I do hear from my readers who say things like, “I hate you and I want to run you over with my truck.” Nah, I’m just kidding about the hate and truck thing. Seriously, readers contact me via Twitter, Facebook and my website, sometimes simply to tell me how much they’ve enjoyed my series and, often, to ask me if and when I will be releasing the next installment. It’s quite touching and flattering and it certainly is a wonderful bonus to this writing gig. Several have become good friends and there are couple of elderly gents to whom I send an email whenever I release a new book in print.