Thursday, August 22, 2013

Author Jillian Chantal talks about 'Moon Dance,' Alan Rickman, Agatha Christie and more

Please give author Jillian Chantal a warm welcome today as she tells us more about herself and her book 'Moon Dance.' Be sure to leave her comments and more questions below! (For example, share in our mutual love of Agatha Christie and Alan Rickman, and help me to reassure her that she isn't the only klutz in the room!)

What was the inspiration behind 'Moon Dance'?
I’d written a book about a former Green Beret who lost a portion of his leg in Afghanistan. It’s called Sebastian’s Salvation and I was a little disappointed at the reception it received. It seemed as if a wounded warrior wasn’t what readers wanted to see. I decided to try another story with a wounded hero to see if it would be better received. I like to think that everyone deserves a little romance- even a man or woman who has a physical limitation- so I wanted to try again and my injured fireman, Gabe, came to life.
Which character spoke to you the most during the writing process?
Gabe, the hero, was the most vocal. In my writing process, usually I get the hero’s journey in my head a lot easier than the heroine’s. I also always fall a little in love with the hero.  
A minor character in this story saved his own life as well by speaking to me. I planned to kill this character but as the story went on, this person grew on me and I couldn’t bear to do it. That kind of surprised me so the person survived.
How much do you have in common with Olga, the main character?
Not a whole lot. I like to wear red like she does and I sometimes choose what I wear based on if I have to make a presentation or not- I have certain “go-to” outfits when I need to be more confident than usual.  
Olga is a scientist and her intelligence is something I admire but some of her characteristics are the opposite of mine such as her mood swings and her doubts about herself. I do have a temper, but Olga’s mood swings are different than that.
What kind of research did you have to do for this book?
I had to research the way that blindness could be caused by fire and what the scarring would look like for burned retinas and the area around the eye. I also had to find out about what Gabe would be able to discern after his injury such as light and dark and shapes. Luckily, I have a great friend who is an emergency room physician and his help was invaluable.  
I also researched the companies who are working on passenger flights to the moon and the science involved in that process.
Will we ever see these characters again?
At this time, I haven’t thought of another story that they would be in. I kind of like the heroine’s friend and she may have a story in the future.
On what other projects are you currently working? 
I’m writing a spy/murder mystery set in 1937 in Europe before WWII. It’s been a fun one to work on as it takes place on the Orient Express. Of course, there’s romance in the mix as well. Even spies deserve to be loved, right? 
What drives you as a writer? 
My mind never stops going. I find that the fiction writing grounds me and helps me take my mind off the day job. I work as a lawyer and would find myself, in the evenings after work, thinking of things I needed to do at the job the next day and it seemed I never got away from the stress of the cases I was handling. The writing gives me a needed escape and saves my sanity so I guess that’s what drives me. Staying sane and balanced. 
How do you get through a bout of writer's block? 
I’ve never really experienced it but I do take time to watch movies and study them for movements, scenery (and how I’d describe it in a story) and dialogue. If I don’t feel the muse, I’ll put in a film and before I know it, I’m back to the keyboard. 
Please tell us about your other published works. 
I have four historical stories with Desert Breeze Publishing and all four take place on ocean liners. Three are all on the Queen Mary and are based on one family. They are all stand-alone stories and all are what I call romantic adventures. There’s murder, mystery and romance involved. I like a lot going on in my stories. LOL  
I have several short stories and novellas with both Secret Cravings and Sweet Cravings Publishing. These run the gamut from light paranormal to contemporary to historical.
I also have four novels published with SirenBookStrand on the mainstream side. These are all contemporary romances. 
How does your career as a lawyer influence your writing? 
I’ve not really written many lawyers per se. I have one story called Hot Pursuit with Ellora’s Cave’s Blush line and the heroine in it is a lawyer. People who know me say this heroine is the closest to me that I’ve written. I usually say that I don’t think so as she is way more kick-butt than me. I can’t shoot the gun out of someone’s hand although my friend tells me that I could if I tried. Haha.  
I think the law career has definitely helped my writing since I have been doing research for many years and in my historical novels, I have to do a ton of it. Being able to find information and retain it is a great asset as a writer. Writing legal documents is totally different though and I had to break myself of the formal writing in order to write fiction. 
If you had the opportunity to go to the moon, would you?
If I could zap myself there with a twinkle of my nose like Samantha from Bewitched, yes.  
I’m super claustrophobic so getting in a space shuttle and actually being stuck in there with no way out would be a major, major issue for me. I’d go a bit berserk. It would not be pretty. Trust me on this.
Agatha Christie is one of your reading passions. Do you have a favorite one?
Based on my answer above on what I’m currently working on, I bet you thought I was going to say Murder on the Orient Express, but it’s actually Mousetrap.  
I love that book and saw the play in London way back in 1991. It’s still the longest running play in London and when the audience leaves the theatre, they are asked to swear not to tell whodunit and ruin the play for others. I’m proud to say that I’ve kept the secret.
I am also a huge Alan Rickman fan. I could listen to him talk all day and night. Which one of his characters is your favorite? 
Wow. I’m thrilled you’re an Alan fan as well. Isn’t he the best ever? My kids call him my “alphabet man” because I always say he could recite the alphabet and I’d watch for hours. LOL.  
I really like a lot of his more obscure roles. One that I particularly love is a movie called “Close my Eyes.” Alan plays a man named Sinclair. The story itself is kind of disturbing as there is a theme of incest in the story. The incest is between Alan’s character’s wife and her brother who is played by Clive Owen. It’s a very compelling film. 
What is something readers may be surprised to learn about you?
I may give the impression that I have it all together, but most of the time I’m trying my best not to fall on my face. I’m the biggest klutz on the planet and have fallen down more staircases than anyone I know. If there’s a way to twist an ankle, step on the hem of my dress or just trip over nothing, I’m going to find it and do it spectacularly. 
Is there anything else you would like to add?
Just my thanks for letting me pop in and yak a bit about myself and my work. I hope that readers will love my wounded warrior if they read his story. 

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Jillian Chantal lives on the gulf coast of Florida. She’s an avid traveler and enjoys using her experiences in other places as the background and inspiration for her stories. Writing Romantic Adventures with an International Flair is her favorite type of story to focus on. She loves to hear from readers and can be contacted at:

email: JillianChantal at

Author pages:

Moon Dance
by Jillian Chantal



Olga Quinn hopes her relocation to London to work on their space shuttle program is the life changing move she needs after the loss of her co-worker in a workplace explosion. She meets Gabriel Swicord, a fireman turned celebrity radio personality and deejay. He lost his sight while rescuing a family in the line of duty and has immersed himself in music and work since then. For a few days, Olga and Gabe burn hot for each other and then things turn cold.

Someone is murdering women who patronize the club where Gabe spins records. It appears that he's the connection to the dead women and his name and face are plastered all over the news. Things are not looking good for Olga's peaceful new life and when the killers turn kidnappers, things really begin to heat up.

Read an excerpt:
"Ouch." Olga Quinn dropped the soldering iron on the marble countertop. It landed with a clatter and rolled off onto the tile floor of the lab. She sucked on her index finger with tears streaming down her face. "After all these years, you'd think I wouldn't do that anymore, wouldn't you? I mean, really, I've been making prototypes forever." 
"It has been a while since you worked really hands on, though, hasn't it?" Olga's co-worker, Gina Boudreau said. She bent down and picked up the soldering iron. 
"Yeah, in Houston, I was assigned to the design team. I created ideas and other people made the models to test them. Over here, it seems we do all the jobs. I'm glad they have someone to clean the bathrooms or we might get sucked into that as well." 
"We're much smaller here at British Aerospace than NASA, but I don't think they'll put us scientists to work in the loo." Gina giggled. "I do wonder why you decided to move here, though. You had a pretty cushy job. I'm a little jealous and why you'd give that up, I'll never understand." 
Olga made herself smile as she swallowed the lump in her throat that thoughts of Texas always brought. "I wanted a change of pace for a while. I'm here on loan only. I'm sure I'll head back across the Atlantic someday." 
"Maybe you'll decide you love the motherland so much that you'll want to stay forever.""Not likely since England isn't my motherland." Olga moved over to the stainless steel sink and ran some cold water over her hand that still stung from the burn from the solder. 
"I thought all you Yanks were descended in some way from the Anglo Saxons." 
Olga shook her head. "Nope. I'm part Russian and part Inuit." She dried her hand off, opened a drawer in the closest cabinet and reached for some burn ointment for her finger. 
"So that explains the darkness of your soul." Gina laughed.  
"You sound like you're stereotyping my people." 
"I'd never do that. Unless I was kidding around." Gina grinned. She pulled off her lab coat. "Quitting time soon. Come out tonight to the club with me and the gals. We'll have fun. They have a brilliant celebrity deejay there and I want you to hear him. He's quite good."

Jillian will be awarding a free backlist e-book to a randomly drawn commenter at each stop, and a Grand Prize of a mooncharm/crystal necklace to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour. Follow the tour for more chances to win!


  1. Thanks for letting me pop in and visit today, Andrea. This interview was a ton of fun!! AND I love that you love Alan and Agatha, too. By the way, I broke my baby toe on my left foot on Tuesday this week. The Klutz of the Universe still lives!! LOL

    1. Noooo! I sprained my right knee! My stupid cat took a random flying leap and hit my hand, which was holding my adult beverage of the evening. The laptop keyboard got nice and sticky and now the keys don't work, though basically everything else does. I still have work to do while it is being fixed, so I went to get an inexpensive Chromebook. I had put in a full day of back-to-school shopping (I teach), so stopped to use the facilities in one of the stores. As I am walking out, along a completely flat surface, suddenly I felt like someone had kicked me in the knee with a steel-toed boot! It's already doing much better, but still! Maybe it's residual from my faceplant in the river when I was out hiking a couple of weeks ago? Soaked my phone in that one. Still works, but not quite as well. *sigh* I feel like we are kindred spirits! :-P

    2. And forgot to say, I really hope you feel better soon! That's gotta hurt and be annoying for walking! :-(

    3. YIKES! I hope you get better soon. sprained knees are zero fun. I've done that too. Never face planted in a river though- may be next on my list. LOL! Seriously, take care of you!!

      Being a teacher is tough. I don't envy you that.

  2. Too funny! I am also klutzy. My last job...on the first day to work at the new job (as the boss), I tripped UP the outside stairs, ripped my hose and had a bloody knee. Quite an auspicious beginning! LOL.
    catherinelee100 at gmail dot com


  4. Ahh, Catherine, sounds like you're a girl like me- we need to start a klutz klub! LOL! I bet you were really embarrassed that day.

  5. Nice interview. I love romantic adventures and your Desert Breeze book covers are beautiful. The gulf coast is beautiful country. No wonder you find so much inspiration!

  6. Great interview. Congrats on your new release.

  7. Congratulations on your new release, Jillian! I love a wounded warrior. And space shuttles, oh my!

  8. Loved the interview--I'm closer to my hero often also. BTW, I'm typing with one hand after major shoulder surgery last week. Much success!

  9. Best of luck on the new title! I also seem to relate more to my hero, usually. BTW, I'm typing with one hand after last week's shoulder surgery!

  10. Thanks for sharing Moon Dance and the giveaway. It sounds like a great book and it's a beautiful necklace. evamillien at gmail dot com

  11. Thanks Danielle. We do have a lovely coast here and inspiring. I love the desert breeze covers too, thanks for the good wishes.

  12. Thanks Shay. Glad to hear that wounded warriors are something you like to read.

    Thanks Julee. It was a super fun interview. Good luck with the recovery from the surgery.

    Thanks Eva and thank you for commenting.

  13. Informative interview

    bn100candg at hotmail dot com

  14. Well, now I have two books to look forward to reading, Moon Dance and the book you're working on now! Thanks!

  15. thanks Bn and Thanks Tonda. The one I'm working on is getting the best of me at the moment. LOL!

  16. Thanks for the good wishes, Anonymous!

    the winner of a back list copy of any of my ebooks is Shay. Contact me at JillianChantal at g mail dot com and let me know which you'd like.


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