Tardif, Cheryl Kaye 1963-

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Tardif, Cheryl Kaye 1963-

PERSONAL:

Born 1963, in Canada; married; children: Jessica.

ADDRESSES:

Home—Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

Writer. Ran a home daycare for more than fourteen years. Teacher of creative writing and phonics courses.

MEMBER:

Writers' Guild of Alberta, Women in Film and Television Alberta, Crime Writers of Canada, Sisters in Crime.

AWARDS, HONORS:

Editor's Choice Award for Outstanding Achievement in Poetry, 1996; winner in Racial Harmony Campaign, 2005, for public service announcement "One Voice—One World."

WRITINGS:

NOVELS

Whale Song, Trafford Publishing (Victoria, British Columbia, Canada), 2003, Kunati (Largo, FL), 2007.

Divine Intervention, Trafford Publishing (Victoria, British Columbia, Canada), 2004.

The River, Trafford Publishing (Victoria, British Columbia, Canada), 2005.

Also author of suspense novel Children of the Fog, and of two children's books. Author, with Alison Neuman, of a screenplay adaptation of Whale Song. Author of short stories "Picture Perfect" and "A Grave Error" for Amazon Shorts. Author of the blog Cheryl Kaye Tardif's Mystery Blog.

SIDELIGHTS:

Cheryl Kaye Tardif self-published her first three novels, The River, Divine Intervention, and Whale Song. Her work was eventually picked up by a mainstream publisher, Kunati, and the revised edition of Whale Song drew favorable reviews. Tardif has worked to promote her writing in innovative ways, including virtual book tours, in which she "visits" various blogs and Web sites to be interviewed, and the use of social networking Web sites.

Whale Song is a novel whose plot has some similarities to Tardif's real life. She moved frequently as a child, because her father was in the military. Sarah, the protagonist of Whale Song, also must move because of her father's job. A transfer from Wyoming to Vancouver Island in Canada takes Sarah away from her best friend and into a world where she is disparaged as an outsider, for she is white in a predominantly Indian community. Sarah immediately makes friends with Goldie, an Indian girl whose kindness helps Sarah deal with the prejudice she encounters. Goldie's grandmother teaches Sarah about native ways. Sarah also finds solace in her love of the wolves and killer whales that inhabit the region. More conflict arises when she must face tough moral issues related to the end of life.

Mayra Calvani, reviewing the book for the Dark Phantom Review, commented that the author created an "immediate intimate rapport with the young protagonist." Calvani added: "The language, in its simplicity, heightens the strong moral conflicts which carry the plot." The story is "moving," found Mary Frances Wilkens in her Booklist assessment, as well as "sweet and sad."

In Divine Intervention, Tardif presents Jasmine McLellan, a special investigator whose psychic powers aid her work. McLellan is assigned to work on a case in an isolated town called Divine, British Columbia. The River is another, very different sort of thriller by Tardif; this one features a female professor, Del Hawthorne, who must unravel some murky events in her father's past. Reviewing The River for Gotta Write Network, Denise Fleischer reported that the book will take its readers "through dark legends and even darker reality." A critic for the Midwest Book Review called The River "exciting and vivid" and stated that the author "skillfully balances scientific intrigue, and the human desire to retain a youthful body, with tantalizing sexual tension, and vivid characterizations in this engrossing romantic thriller."

Tardif told CA: "I was interested in books at a very young age, and like many children, I would make up stories and tell them to my friends. In school, I excelled in language arts (LA) and was thrilled whenever we were assigned a writing project. Often, a teacher would give us two or three topics to choose from and I would write on all of them and hand them in. Needless to say, my LA teachers loved me. Creating other worlds and characters is exciting to me; exploring their lives and challenges is a great adventure.

"In my early writing, which was particularly dark, I was inspired by the King—Stephen King, to be exact. In fact, he and two other authors, Dean Koontz and John Saul, kept me awake at night throughout my teen years. Many of my short stories were twisted and filled with horror elements in my attempts to teach myself to write like them. Over the years, my writing has evolved, sometimes light yet filled with emotion and a hint of mystery (like Whale Song) and sometimes a fast-paced, run for your life, explosion-filled conspiracy thriller (like The River). I now focus on my characters and their emotions. After all, it is their story to tell. Yet I am still drawn to the mysterious, to suspense, psychological terror, and the ‘what ifs,’ or our worst fears.

"I have specific days where I write, and I will write for hours, sometimes ten to fourteen hours. For me, this works best. It allows me to fully immerse myself into my story and characters. When starting a fresh novel, I always know where it will begin, a few major scenes between, and how it will end. Then it becomes a ‘connect the dots’ adventure, sometimes detouring, but always coming back to where I need it. Usually by the time I have decided to start writing a particular novel, the story has ‘fermented’ in my mind for many months, sometimes years.

"Whale Song is and always will be my favorite. I call it my ‘heart book’ because I am connected to it heart and soul. The main character is me in so many ways, and yet this is not my life story. I identify with Sarah Richardson; I know how she feels. I am also connected to Whale Song because it is the only novel of mine that my youngest brother had read before he was murdered in 2006. He had read the original 2003 version, and although he led a very rough life and was homeless for a time, he managed to hold onto his stained copy of Whale Song. It was the first thing I saw in his boarding room when I went to clear it out. The 2007 edition is dedicated to my brother Jason Kaye and a portion of my royalties goes to three Edm- onton organizations to help combat homelessness, poverty, and addictions. Whale Song is Jason's book and it is now making a difference.

"I hope that all of my novels will make people think about their lives, family relationships, and societal issues. I have received numerous letters from people who have told me that Whale Song has healed their relationship with a mother or daughter. I hope that people who read The River start to question how far we should go with our science and technologies. How far do we go until we've gone too far, and at what point have we become God? With Divine Intervention, I hope that people will be reminded that each generation of children is our future and that we need to nurture, love, and treat them with kindness. Although I don't think my novels are at all preachy, I do believe that there are subtle and some not-so-subtle messages for any discerning reader. Above all, I hope my books are pure enjoyment, an escape from the every day."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Booklist, February 1, 2007, Mary Frances Wilkens, review of Whale Song, p. 33.

ONLINE

Book Pleasures,http://www.bookpleasures.com/ (August 28, 2007), Norm Goldman, interview with Cheryl Kaye Tardif.

Cheryl Kaye Tardif's Home Page,http://www.cherylktardif.com (August 28, 2007).

Dark Phantom Review,http://thedarkphantom.wordpress.com/ (June 10, 2007), Mayra Calvani, review of Whale Song.

Gotta Write Network,http://www.gottawritenetwork.com/ (August 12, 2006), Denise Fleischer, review of The River.

Kunati Web site,http://www.kunati.com/ (August 28, 2007), review of Whale Song.

Midwest Book Review,http://www.midwestbookreview.com/ (August 28, 2007), review of The River.

Real Estate Weekly,http://www.rewedmonton.ca/ (December 16, 2004), Heather Andrews Miller, review of Divine Intervention.

Shelfari Book Bloggers,http://shelfaribookbloggers.blogspot.com/ (August 2, 2007), interview with Cheryl Kaye Tardif.

3Rs Reading Den,http://rjscafe.wordpress.com/ (August 28, 2007), interview with Cheryl Kaye Tardif.

Whale Song Web site,http://whalesongbook.com (November 1, 2007).