Name: Claude Bouchard
Author Website Link
Currently Based In: Montreal burbs
Education: McGill University
Briefly: Amazon bestselling author ~ All seven novels of my series have made top ten in “Vigilante Justice”; three at #1.
Favorite Read: Simply too many to choose from…
Pet Peeves: Uncooperative machinery, appliances and other devices, liver and idiots.
If You Weren’t In the Book Industry, You’d Be…Wondering why I’m working on my ninth novel.
What You Have Lined Up Next: My ninth novel and eighth of my Vigilante series, entitled Thirteen to None.
You have so many passions, from painting to writing to cooking. Which one came first?
I’d have to say the cooking came first which is something my mother instilled in all four of her children. The painting and writing both came about in 1995 for some reason. I guess I suddenly felt a need to express myself creatively.
What is the writing community like in Montreal?
I must confess that I’m not familiar with the writing community in Montreal. With the internet and telecommunications being what they are, the writing community I ended up in is a global one, networking and exchanging with writers around the world. I’ve worked on promotional opportunities where other participants were authors from elsewhere in Canada, the U.S., Asia, Mexico, France and the U.K. Last May, my wife and I vacationed in Vietnam with an Australian author, his wife and her sister. With easy access to a worldwide writing community, I never even considered getting involved with local writing groups.
Can you trace the genesis of your novel Vigilante?
I can indeed. Though my story has nothing to do with nor bears any resemblance to the 1995 O.J. Simpson saga, that is what served as the catalyst, leading me to think of a protagonist who would deal with violent criminals who managed to slip though holes in the justice system. Two months later, I had completed the first draft of Vigilante.
What’s the biggest risk you’ve taken as an author?
The biggest risk I took was deciding to do the author gig fulltime which meant stepping away from the corporate world and related perks such as a salary. Knocking on wood, so far it’s working out pretty well.
Do you have a particular goal in mind with each thriller that you write?
I could say I have three goals in mind when I write a thriller. One is to entertain my readers by offering them the opportunity to experience something which they, hopefully, would never do in real life due to moral and legal implications. Another, which is a common and expected theme within my series, is to make sure the wrongdoers are punished for their acts. My third goal is to make each thriller as unique and original as possible versus all others in the series so that my readers never have the sense of rereading the same story with different characters.
What’s the best way for a new author to get readers?
If I knew the answer to that, I’d be putting the technique to work for myself. I don’t know that there is any best way; it all boils down to exposure. Interacting with people on social media, particularly Twitter in my case where I now have over 430K followers, has certainly helped—though I can’t say that alone is the solution, far from it. I don’t recommend extensive Buy My Books campaigns on Twitter, Facebook and other platforms as such a tactic quickly becomes annoying to one’s audience. Networking with other authors, cross-promoting and blogging also help to garner some attention. Amazon’s KDP Select did wonders to help me boost my exposure, but the program seems to have lost its effectiveness, at least in terms of generating post-promotional sales.
Are you a big fan of outlines, when it comes to writing your novels?
Quite the contrary as I never outline. The closest I might come to outlining is jotting down ideas which pop into my head to avoid forgetting them but past that, I just sit and type while my characters do their thing.
What do you feel are the indispensable elements of a good thriller?
I’ll start with a confession. I was asked the same question in the past and was happy with my response so what follows is me plagiarizing myself.
A good thriller has to move. Descriptions of characters, places and events should to be present only enough to make them seem real in the reader’s mind. Overdoing it slows the pace and simply becomes filler for increased word count. Elements throughout the story should support the final outcome such that the reader can think back and validate that outcome. Consider “The Sixth Sense” with Bruce Willis as an illustration to this point. One realizes nothing was at it seemed yet it all makes sense. This has much more appeal than briefly mentioning a minor character early in a story then making him the culprit and laying out the behind the scenes explanation at the end, none of which was presented to the reader along the way. Finally, a good thriller should have an unexpected twist at the end.
When you get stalled while writing, are there certain techniques that you’ve found are particularly helpful when trying to get your writing groove back?
What I generally do in such situations is go back to the beginning of my manuscript and edit my way through it until I reach the point where I had stalled. Doing so allows me to start cleaning what I’ve written and provides me with food for thought about the logical progression of the story going forward.