Monday, January 9, 2012

Interview with Michel Vaillancourt

Hi! Thanks so much for coming today. Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Hi there!  Thanks for having me, as it were.  I'm 42 years old, tall, dark hair, blue eyes, “clearly Libra” at times, married to a wonderful friend and bright light in my world.  I'm into almost anything, music-wise.  I've been a sucker for romance since I first noticed girls, and my first book just hit the virtual shelves.  I get a kick out of medieval and steampunk costumes.

Tell us a bit about your book.

Its a steampunk-themed airship pirate adventure romance set in the spring and summer of 1888.  The hero of the story is a fellow named Hans Sauder.  He's on his way to University in Stockholm when the passenger ship he's on gets captured by pirates.  The heroine, Annika Nadezhda, is in charge of the pirate boarding party and knocks him out.
Things get complicated for them after that.  They wind up all over Europe and into Egypt leaving a trail of pillaged merchant ships behind them.  Hans figures out how to be a pirate against his will, and Annika tries to figure out why the heck he's not making hay, as it were.
Things get deadly for them and the rest of the crew when they undertake a dangerous mission into the skies of the Russian Empire.

Is this part of a series?

Yes.  First book.  I'm well into writing Book 2, tentatively titled “The Sauder Diaries – A Bloodier Rose”

What did you find the hardest part of writing it to be?

Writing a pair of strong, independent, sexy female lead characters.  I have a lot of women as friends, but I ultimately am a guy writing a female character.  To make it a bit more difficult, the setting is the height of the Victorian Era, which makes it even more of a challenge to make these ladies compelling and believable.

What was your favorite part?

There is a scene where Hans and Annika finally actually -talk- to each other alone about what she thinks is going on with him, and what he thinks is going on with his life as a pirate, and they both find out they're both way off base.  After that, it would be the skinny-dipping scene at the lake near Brussels.

Rate your story in terms of steaminess (Make up your own fun scale here)

With 1 as “Re-freezes The Arctic” and “11” as “Melts Greenland Instantly”, its probably a 5-ish.  The heroine spends a lot of her time frustrated with the hero.

Who is your favorite romance author?

I have two.  Danielle Steele, and Anne McCaffrey.
Yeah, I can hear you saying “but Anne McCaffrey wrote fantasy/ fiction”.  You're right, she did.  However, every story of hers I've personally ever read had a strong female character with a very clear romantic liaison.  They were stories where neither the man or the woman were involved from a position of weakness, but rather emerging as equals that had plenty to offer each other in a way that raised the two of them up.  I enjoy that in a romance.  Call me old school.

What is your favorite romance book or series?

Currently it is Sherrilyn Kenyon's “Seize the Night”.  Yeah, you're right, that's about as far from Steele, and McCaffrey as you can get.  Call me complicated.

Who is your favorite romance character? If you could go on a date with that person, what would you do? Details please! *wink*

I think you just stumped me.  Yeah, you know, I can't think of a character from a book that comes to mind as a favorite.  Sorry.
From a movie ... hmmm.  -Maybe- Yelena from “xXx”;  I loved her look, loved her moxy, loved her wit.  A good start would be a dance club in the Czech Republic with Orbital playing live.

Boxers or Briefs?

That depends on the setting, the lady and the clothes.  My vanity sometimes out weighs my desire for comfort, as demonstrated by the earring, shoulder-length hair and tattoo.

What is next for you?

Finish Book 2 of “The Sauder Diaries”...  after that, I've gotten a couple of fan requests to "get to watch Arrietta", the Chief Engineer, in what ever it is she was doing when she was “off camera” playing James Bond.  That will likely be a set of three short stories.

What were your first impressions of each other?
            
Hans Sauder -            “She is an officer, and this has all the makings of a huge mistake written ALL over it.”
Annika Nadezhda -            “... well, damn.  I wonder if I can keep him?”

What are your favorite parts about each other?
             
Hans Sauder -            “Her fire.  That little Russian witch won't give up when she decides there is something she wants to do or have.  The rest of the world is just going to get out of her way.”
Annika Nadezhda -            “Beyond how he looks with his shirt off, in a pair of cotton pants?  His mind;  between his smarts, his education, and his dedication to his ideals, he's got everything it takes to be a legend in this life of ours.”

What’s next for you?

            Hans Sauder -            “That is a complicated question.  After that little to-do with my brother, it is clear that yet again what I thought I knew was wrong.  I think I will spend some time learning more about myself and my place in the world.  I am hoping that includes Annika.”
      Annika Nadezhda -            “I am in charge of more than fifty of the most infamous and feared Gunner-Marines in piratedom.  I got where I am by blood, sweat and tears.  I earned it.  I am staying right where I am, sword and pistol in hand.  If Hans decides to be part of that, I would be a very happy woman.  If not...  well, that would not make me happy, but it is his loss.”


Excerpt:



They rented a self-propelled carriage and left the city together.  They had taken a few minutes to impinge upon Chief Bridges' good nature by making off with a few things out of the galley.  On the way, Hans drove and Annika directed.  Yet again, she knew of a secluded spot outside the city's limits where they could go and do as they pleased with little risk of seeing anyone else.
The sun was bright, and the sky was clear save for the odd white cotton-ball cloud.  It felt very good to both of them to be sitting side by side on the bench seat, motoring along through the tree-branch tunnel that was the country road they were on.  After about twenty minutes of distance along the lane, Annika pointed out a turn off that led them for a few minutes more until they reached an ages-old cherry grove sitting beside a meadow. A beautiful pond that fed a babbling brook that made its way out of sight through the meadow.
Hans looked around and then shook his head in amazement.  “How is it,” he asked incredulously, “that you manage to find out about these places?”
She smiled at him.  “I have my sources,” she said with a laugh.
“Do tell.  Picnic first?”
She nodded at him and together they took the basket, wine bottle and two fire blankets down to the shaded area of the trees, but still with a clear view of the water.  Sandwiches, cheese and wine composed the menu.
They re-corked the bottle at half, Annika commenting that until she was sure he could shoot straight sober, there was no way he was firing the Lemat half drunk.  They both had a good laugh at the mutual mental image that sprang to mind.  They talked for a brief while, stretched out on the blanket together, enjoying the warm breeze and sun.  The breeze was rich with the smells of meadow, grove, and pond while the air was alive with the sounds of early summer in the country.  Their lips met and their hands sought each other.  After a few fiery moments, Annika pulled back.
She was sitting astride his hips, still fully clothed, less her corset which had been tossed aside a few moments earlier.  She bit her bottom lip in concentration before she spoke. 
“I cannot believe I am about to say this,” she said through gritted teeth.  “Be sure this is what you want, because in a few more minutes you are going to have me so wound up I will not be happy if you change your mind.”


About Michel:

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In brief about me, I am forty-two years old, currently living in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada.  My day job is CEO & Alpha-Geek for a video conference hosting company.  I’m married, I have a son and I have been reading and writing for most of my life.  I have been involved in Steampunk for two years and a fan of adventure stories since I was twelve.


You can find out more about me at http://about.me/michel.vaillancourt


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The Sauder Diaries take place in an alternate-history Earth, in the year 1888.  The Crimean War ended as a stalemate with a ceasefire being signed in Paris, not a surrender.  Europe is divided along the Allied and Russian Imperial borders by the Scorchlands, and by the pop-culture of the times, large sections of “civilized Europe” cannot be traveled due to bandits, renegade armies, and rogue mad science experiments.


It is against this backdrop that the story of Hans Sauder is told.  Hans is the son of a German industrialist, on his way to University to study engineering and airship systems design. En route his passenger airship is attacked by an infamous pirate crew, the legendary Bloody Rose.  Hans is taken prisoner and given the choice of joining the crew as an engineer, or taking his chances with parachuting into the wilds of Europe.


Thus begins the “diaries”, detailing his travels — the reader is first treated to Hans' impressions of events and then gets to see what really happened.


Hans and his new crew-mates are hunted by the airship navies of Allied Europe, chased into hiding in Egypt, board merchant ships over Germany, and visit hidden black market trade centers.  Things really get rough when they are hired to undertake a dangerous mission in the skies of the Russian Empire.


As the story unfolds, Hans' new life is further complicated by the romantic advances of the leader of the ship's gunner-marines, a ruthless and no-nonsense woman with a chip on her shoulder.  As well, Hans is perpetually dogged by a deep conflict between his sense of morals and duty to his family, and the challenges and adventure of this new life he has discovered.


The Community Fan Page for "The Sauder Diaries: By Any Other Name" can be found on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/the.sauder.diaries


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Blog Page  ... http://michelrvaillancourt.com/  
Book Page  ... http://michelrvaillancourt.com/about-the-sauder-diaries/
Sauder Diaries Community Page ... https://www.facebook.com/the.sauder.diaries
Twitter ID  ... MichelV69
KindleGraph Signatures  ... http://www.kindlegraph.com/authors/MichelV69
My Amazon Author Page ... http://www.amazon.com/Michel-R.-Vaillancourt/e/B006O8XQC6

And only lucky person will win a copy of Michel's book "The Sauder Diaries - By Any Other Name". Be sure to leave your email address as well!

8 comments:

  1. This sounds interesting.

    suz2@cox.net

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  2. I enjoyed both the interview and the excerpt; they were interesting reads.

    I'm adding this to my wish list; I think I"ll enjoy it.

    Thanks,
    Tracey D
    booklover0226 at gmail dot com

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  3. It is a very good read. You should ALL put it in your download queue. I absolutely adore this book.

    ReplyDelete
  4. The series looks like great reading. I'm glad I found you here today.

    marypres(AT)gmail(DOT)com

    ReplyDelete
  5. Sounds great... looks great... :D

    raydeen219@yahoo.com

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  6. Sounds great, Michael, best of luck!

    Love and steam,
    Professor Raven
    Repurposed.steam@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  7. I am adding this book to my list! Sounds great.
    luvfuzzzeeefaces at yahoo dot com

    ReplyDelete
  8. Hi, everyone! Michel, the author of “The Sauder Diaries – By Any Other Name”! I wanted to drop by and say thanks to everyone that commented and all the encouraging words.

    I also wanted to announce that Tracey D (booklover0226@gmail.com) was the winner of the book give away. Tracey, you'll be getting an email from me with your "signed" ebook today. I hope you enjoy the read!

    ReplyDelete