Sep 15

Saturday Six Pack – Claude Bouchard – Author of the Vigilante Series

Today’s Saturday Six Pack features Claude Bouchard, author of several books including the popular Vigilante series. Claude lives in Montreal, a fantastic city where being bilingual certainly helps, as does a fondness for the color white about six months of the year. I think you’re going find Claude to be an interesting guy as well as a very entertaining writer.

So let’s crack a cold one as we welcome Claude to Saturday Six Pack.

Montreal . . . the long, hot summer of 1996. . .

. . . and in the dark of night, moving like a shadowy wraith, a vigilante prowls the city’s streets.

The targets of his bloody rampage: the worst of the worst.

Murderers. Gangbangers. Rapists.

Six months. Sixteen murders. The harried police are still without a clue . . .

. . . until the day they receive an email from the assassin himself.

Lieutenant Dave McCall, head of Montreal’s Special Homicide Task Force, needs help to crack the secrets of the killer’s taunting message. He calls on an expert–Chris Barry, who runs a security firm specializing in computer communications.

Together, McCall and Barry launch a grim quest to track down a man who preys on predators–an urgent quest to bring this remorseless killer to justice.

But whose justice will prevail: theirs–or the vigilante’s?


“. . . hits you like a hook to the liver, and addresses the timeless issues of murder, revenge, and the human yearning for justice . . . a witty thriller, full of passion and suspense . . . virtually impossible to put down.”
— John Locke, New York Times best-selling author

1) Thanks again for joining us, Claude. Why don’t we start with you talking a bit about your writing, particularly your Vigilante series. What are some of the elements you think differentiate it from others in the crime thriller genre?

Hi, Bernie. I’d like to start by thanking you for inviting me here and, I must say, that is one massive walk-in cooler you have. I’m also impressed how you have all the beer organized by country. Amazing!

Well, I grew up on the St. Lawrence Seaway and spent many evenings watching the ships and identifying the countries they were from by their flags so I’ve got that going for me… As for all the beer, let’s not talk about that.

That said, on to my writing. My Vigilante series came to life in 1995 when an idea for a story popped into my head after watching a number of episodes of one of the first ever reality shows, “The O.J. Simpson Comedy Court’. This daily show, with its cast of zany, misfit characters, showcased a variety of legal blunders and led me to think about someone who might impose his own rules of justice when the system failed. From there was born Vigilante, my first novel. During the eight weeks I worked on the first draft, more ideas started zipping from one synapse to the next and by the time I was done with Vigilante, its sequel, The Consultant, was screaming to get out with Mind Games just behind it.

Though I did do a bit of querying back then,I eventually put my writing activities aside, occupying the bulk of my time with other hobbies such as university studies and corporate ladder climbing. However, I found myself with time on my hands in the spring of 2009 and outcame my first three manuscripts. When I read them, I was surprised to note they were pretty damned good and following a few rounds of “Let’s Edit and Revise”,I suddenly had three novels out with the fourth of the series, The Homeless Killer, on the way. I’ve since added 6 Hours 42 Minutes and Discreet Activities to the collection. I’ve also written and published ASYLUM,a stand-alone which people loved or hated with a handful in between.

To answer your question, I once read somewhere that there is a finite number of possible basic plots, 36 I believe,(though Doug Adams might insist it’s 42). That said, it’s probable there exist other crime thrillers out there similar to mine. However, what differentiates any writer’s work from that of others is writing style and voice. My writing has been described as stark, pared down and raw. I don’t include fluffy fillers for the sake of volume. Who cares if the curtains in the den are velour or burgundy? My characters are real and so are the situations which arise in my novels. I do whatever research is required to ensure that what I write is accurate and possible.

2) Can you talk about where you’d like to take the Vigilante series in the future as well as share abit of information about what you’re working on at the moment and when we might expect to see it launched?

As long as I can keep on coming up with ideas and plausible plots and scenarios, the Vigilante series will surge ahead. I’m currently working on Femme Fatale, the seventh installment of the series which should be out late this year or early 2013. When I wrote 6 Hours 42 Minutes, I needed a character for a small role and I introduced Leslie Robb. What I was unaware of was, Leslie doesn’t do small roles. She’s a gorgeous, brilliant, cocky and confident lesbian and if one is going to involve her in something, she gets involved. The next thing I knew, not only had she taken her share of space in the book, she’d also snagged herself a prominent role in the subsequent Discreet Activities, but here’s the kicker. Guess who the central character is in Femme Fatale… Yep, Leslie Robb.

3) As an indie author,I’m always interested in how other writers balance their writing time with the requisite marketing and promotion efforts. How does a normal week break down for you with respect to writing versus promotion? (Assuming, of course, that any week could actually be called normal.)

I’m fortunate enough to be able to dedicate all my time to my writing and marketing efforts without having to deal with another job as a sideline. What this ends up meaning is I work 80-90 hours per week for much less than I earned working 50 in the corporate world. On the plus side, this job rocks a lot more. A normal week for me means I’m doing many things at all times related to writing and promoting myself and my work. This includes actual book writing, blogging, website maintenance, promotion, cross-promotion, interviews, networking on Twitter and Facebook, responding to emails, etc. There are rarely set schedules and much multitasking is involved. In regards to book writing, I never set deadlines. A book is finished once it’s complete and is published once it has been edited, polished, revised, nipped, tucked and buffed into something I’m proud of.

4) I’m sure you get asked questions all the time about your work and how you approach the marathon that is writing a novel. But here’s one I get asked all the time and I’m not sure I have a good answer. When you’re preparing to begin a new book, at what point do you know when you’re actually ready to start writing?

All my novels to date started with a general idea which, once I had it, I was ready to go. The first thing I typed for each of my seven novels as well as my two current WIPs was the title, which always showed up along with the general idea. From then on, it’s writing time and let’s see where it’s headed. There is no planning, mapping, charting or plotting involved. An occasional mulling moment is sometimes required when I have to help my characters figure out what to do but I generally let them run with the story, look after their business and content myself with the typing.

5) You mention on your Amazon author page that you love to cook and eat good food served with great wine. Hard to argue with either of those. Okay, best thing you’ve ever eaten and the best meal you’ve ever cooked? (You get bonus points if they’re the same.)

Two incredibly difficult questions to answer and I’m not even going to try for bonus points. I’m not sure this is the best thing I’ve ever eaten but it’s up there and the one which comes to mind. Montreal is home to a fine steak and seafood place called the Rib’n Reef and they make a tuna tartare as an appetizer, prepared at your table, which is absolutely spectacular. As for my cooking, I’ll marinade and grill anything you can throw at me in the summer and have cooked Japanese, Chinese, Italian, Mexican, etc dishes over the years. I’ve also thrown together dozens of varieties of pizzas on my own dough so, you decide.

6) Last question, and it’s the one I ask everyone since I’m very interested in how each author approaches their own development, if you could change one thing about yourself as a writer, what would it be?

I’m not sure I would want to change anything. As we write, mature and gain experience, we learn and grow and this is an exciting part of our craft. If I had known what I know now when I wrote Vigilante, where would the challenge have been along the way?

And now, as you ponder that question, I’ll take advantage of the opportunity to thank you once again for both a fine interview and the cold beer.

Claude, thanks again. Insightful and funny…hmmm, another one. This damn competition.

Hey, Po$$e members, make sure you check Claude and his work out in the very near future.

Be well!

Here’s where to find Claude:

Website: http://www.claudebouchardbooks.com

Amazon Author Page: www.amazon.com/Claude-Bouchard/e/B002BLL3RK/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_pop_1

Twitter: @ceebee308

Facebook: www.facebook.com/claude.bouchard2

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