Today I’m sharing an interview with one of my favourite authors, Chantal Gadoury!
Her next, upcoming book is Winterdream (releasing on November 27th) so I wanted to ask her a little bit about it, her thoughts on fairytales, and a few other fun questions!
(A preview of Winterdream is at the bottom of this interview as well. Enjoy! 😉)
1. For those who don’t know you, tell us three fun facts about yourself!
Three fun facts about myself:
- I am a huge Disney nerd. I love everything and anything Disney.
- In my day job, I get to make a difference in people’s lives and it’s really rewarding!
- I love to watch ASMR videos when I need to relax. I even have a playlist of videos to watch for bedtime.
2. What kind of books do you write?
I prefer to write Fantasy YA, but I have written a Contemporary YA duology centered around my own personal experience/life in high school. All of my books are centered around a romance (because romance is my favorite genre to read!)
3. Which book that you’ve written so far is your favourite?
Hmm – good question! My favorite book would probably be “The Songs in Our Hearts.” It’s a personal book for me; I got to write about my time as a high schooler, with a playlist of music, and was able to go back and relive certain situations. And it was an opportunity for me to also relive having my Dad in my life. I finally was able to have the “happy ending” I only wished to have back during that time in my life! (As silly as that might sound.)
4. Where do you get your inspiration from?
Everything. Disney. Books. Music. Movies. Interactions. People. Everything. I feel like many of the stories I’ve written, I’ve been carrying around in my head and heart for years and was only trying to find the right way to write them – and all the little things around me helped to pour them onto the page. But I take inspiration from many things in my life. When it comes to fantasy and fairytales, Disney and Historical TV shows and movies. Classical music and movie scores. . . When it comes to my contemporary YA books, it was interacting with college students and reading YA books, and re-reading my old diaries. The world is full of things that can inspire – you just have to be paying attention.
5. What can readers expect from your upcoming book, Winterdream?
A lot of really holiday-vibes! If you were a fan of the 1990 animated film “The Nutcracker Prince,” – you’re going to LOVE “WinterDream.” You can expect adventure, romance, villains, witty one-liners, heroines, and some pretty terrifying rodents. It’s a fantisful fairy-tale, that I hope everyone will love!
6. Do you have a favourite fairy-tale?
I’m a huge fan of “Beauty and the Beast,” “Cinderella,” and the classic/original tale of “Rapunzel.” I also adore “Swan Lake,” “The Nutcracker,” and “Allerleirauh.” (Two I have done my own retellings to.)
I love all fairy-tales, and could make an entire list that is much too long!
7. What’s your favourite thing about Christmas time?
Christmas lights. I love Christmas lights and Christmas candles. There is nothing quite like looking at a Christmas tree or a house decorated with lights and listening to Christmas music … It’s magical to me.
8. Finally, recommend a recent read that you absolutely adored.
I recently read a romance called “Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe.” It’s actually supposed to be a Hallmark Christmas movie this year, and after reading it, I’m definitely ready to watch it. It was a perfect mixture of Christmas, Romance, and Fun.
This Christmas Eve… no creature was stirring…
Except, maybe, a mouse.
At long last, can true love break the Nutcracker’s curse?
For Clara Stahlbaum, this Christmas means the end of her youth. A daughter of the aristocracy, Clara is expected to give up her dreams of adventures and the extraordinary for more normal days as the wife of a cruel Viscount.
But when magical Uncle Drosselmeyer returns with his wondrous, dancing contraptions, and one…special gift for Clara, she is beckoned to the land of Winter Dream, where she is thrust into the greatest adventure of her wildest dreams. But will she be able to break the Nutcracker’s curse?
Uncle Drosselmeyer’s apprentice, Anton, is handsome as he is mysterious. But what is it about him Clara finds so alluring?
Winter Dream is a phenomenal retelling of The Nutcracker from the eyes of Clara Stahlbaum with all the magic of the Holiday season. If you loved S. Jae-Jones’ Wintersong, you’ll fall in love with this stunning tale of love, war, redemption, and Christmas magic.
Here’s an excerpt of Winterdream:
The sound of the clock ringing from the other room startled me, bringing me back to the darkened room and the dripping candle in my hand. Three soft tolls of the clock.
As I turned to glance at the grandfather clock, I could have sworn I saw the faint image of Uncle Drosselmeyer beside it. The long, wooden columns of the clock appeared to impersonate his form. On top of the clock, a wooden owl hovered, and with each toll of the clock, the automation flapped its wings, indicating the time. Then, in the blink of an eye, Uncle Drosselmeyer perched himself atop the clock, lingering behind the owl.
“Uncle Drosselmeyer?” I whispered softly, taking a step away from the Christmas tree.
I strained to see through the darkness, hoping to make out a clearer picture of him; my mind scrambled to make sense of what I was seeing.
He lifted a finger to his lips as if to quiet me and eagerly began to flap the edges of his midnight black cape, imitating the movement of the owl’s wings. A slight wind blew the flame of my candle out, leaving me in the darkness with him. The same sort of sparkling dust Uncle Drosselmeyer had used at the party erupted from the pockets of his cape, covering the floor around him.
“Uncle Drosselmeyer? What are you doing?” I called up to him more urgently. How had he gotten up there? More importantly, why was he there?
Suddenly, the clock began to toll again. The hands on its face began to twist back—round and round—until the two golden arrows were pointing to midnight. As I looked back to my uncle, I realized he was gone.
“Clara.” His voice echoed around the room, causing me to turn in circles. My extinguished candle fell to the floor with a clatter by my feet. Uncle Drosselmeyer was standing just behind me. I took a step back as I came face to face with him.
“The Nutcracker,” he said as his hand reached for the figure in my arms. His fingers were quick, tugging it out of my grasp.
Before I could protest, Uncle Drosselmeyer pushed against my shoulder. The strange force from his hand sent me reeling back into the sofa beside the decorated tree.
“Uncle Drosselmeyer!” I cried out, alarmed. What was he doing? A surge of conflicted tears formed in my eyes as I sat up.
“You must break the spell, Clara,” he said as he lifted his hand to the tree. “You must release the Nutcracker from his spell. Only you have the power of a pure and loving heart. . .”
I felt the sofa beneath me begin to tremble. Beside me, the tree rumbled, as if brought to life by the bizarre hour. The ground shook—the walls moved too—threatening to drop the many frames to the hardwood floor, and I was helpless to stop it. My heart raced, sure to burst from my chest if the house did right itself.
I wanted to scream.
My eyes caught sight again of Uncle Drosselmeyer. He was waving his hands wildly, stirring his fingers in the air, as if instructing an orchestra to reach a crescendo. The strangeness did not end there, for the tree had suddenly grown taller. I jumped up from the sofa and ran toward my uncle. But as I reached for the lapels of his jacket, to insist he explain himself, he dissolved into nothing.
He was gone.
“Clara…” My name came from the other side of the room. I turned, finding my uncle was now beside the large fireplace. In his hands was the Nutcracker. He lowered the wooden soldier onto the floor, beside the glowing, dying embers of the hearth.
“You must break the spell, Clara.”
Break the spell? Was he speaking of the story he had once told me as a child? The very story Anton and I had spoken of earlier in the hallway? I took a step back, easing away from him. Perhaps if I made it back to the stairwell, I would turn to find it had all been a part of my imagination. If only I could reach the staircase. As I tried to turn my feet back to where I had come from, I realized I was frozen in place.
I squeezed my eyes shut. Perhaps I was dreaming. Perhaps, if I willed myself to awaken, then it would have all been a terrible dream.
But this dream appeared to have no end. As I opened my eyes again, the room had actually grown larger all around me. I raced to the sofa again, digging my fingers into the plush fabric. My stomach twisted into what felt like knots as I shrank down; it felt like I was falling down further and further into the dream. Could this truly be happening? I pinched myself—again, and again, but it was useless.
Wake up, Clara. Wake up.
“Uncle Drosselmeyer!” I called out loudly, hoping I would awaken the house as I wrapped my arms around my head. I hoped that either Mama or Papa would hear me and come down to the parlor to find me. I wanted nothing more than to awaken from this strange nightmare.
“Please, Uncle Drosselmeyer! I’m afraid!”
And then, suddenly, the room came to an abrupt halt. All was quiet. I could hear the soft, steady ticking of the grandfather clock again. I eased my arms away, glancing around the space I recognized. But everything was different. I was different. The sofa loomed far over me, and the tree in the corner of the room; large and foreboding.
“Break the spell. . . Beware of the Mouse King!” Uncle Drosselmeyer’s voice echoed so softly from far away.
Where had he gone? He couldn’t just leave me here like this!
“Uncle Drosselmeyer!” I called out, biting back an unpleasant curse as I pushed myself up to my feet. I needed to find him. “U-Uncle!”
As I scurried from one rung of the sofa to the next, I found I was desperate for air. I could see the glow burning from the last of the embers in the fireplace from where I stood. And I could see him—the Nutcracker. As the furniture and the tree had grown larger, he now matched my height.
‘Legends say the nutcracker represents strength and power. It serves to protect its owner from evil spirits… and danger.’
If I was to break the spell—to help save the Nutcracker—could he protect me in turn? Could the story of the Nutcracker be true? I ran across the room to him—a distance that moments before would have been only a few mere steps. Now, it felt like an eternity.
With each step, I felt my head spinning. I paused as I approached his still form. The Nutcracker was unmoving, though he stood proud in place. Reaching out carefully, I grazed a finger over his arm. As soon as my fingers brushed over the painted wood, another curtain of glitter rained over us.
I tilted my chin upwards toward the ceiling, but saw nothing. The sounds of the Nutcracker shifting and tilting startled me, drawing my attention back to him. Right before my eyes, he began to transform. His rounded arms became more defined with fingers and elbows. The crinkle in his clothing was real, and the fabric had changed as well. And when he opened his eyes, I gasped.
Two blue irises looked back at me curiously. Human eyes stared back at me. Eyes that had once been painted onto the surface of his face now moved like any other normal person’s.
“N-Nutcracker?” I asked, lifting my brow in confusion.
“Clara…” he gasped as his wooden jaw began to move more freely on its own.
“Y-You’re… my Nutcracker?” I almost laughed at myself, the realization that I must be dreaming… a relief. I could suddenly feel myself growing faint. The room around me was becoming darker, and the air . . . it was hard to breathe. My legs buckled beneath me as I fell onto the floor.