Monday, August 15, 2011

Chelle Cordero Talking About Writing

Today, my guest is romantic suspense author Chelle Cordero talking about writing and her latest release, Hyphema.

AUTHOR:  Chelle Cordero
BOOK TITLE:  Hyphema
PUBLISHER:  Vanilla Heart Publishing

1.    Why don't you start with telling us a little about yourself? What genre do you write in and why? 
       I write mainly romantic suspense – I love trying to figure out “whodunit,” and I consider myself to be a hopeless romantic. I like stories where people find and grow into love – to me true love is being realistic and knowing the other person (good and bad) and still wanting to spend your life with them.

2.     Tell me about your current book which you are promoting.  
       Hyphema is really different from my usual work – it is a mystery thriller. The main characters are in love (married couple) but that is only a subplot to the story. The heroine, Sudah, is a Pakistani immigrant and practicing Muslim; American born Matt, her husband, is a NYS Paramedic turned North Carolinan Flight Medic. There is a lot if adrenaline pumping action, EMS style, and a lot of post-9/11 sentiment.
How long have you been writing?
  I had my first newspaper article published when I was just 18. It took me a number of years (when I was pregnant with my first child) until I decided to pursue it as a serious career. I’ve been published in various newspapers and magazines  (mostly non-fiction) since 1981. But I always wanted to “grow up to be a novelist”. 
I connected with Vanilla Heart Publishing in 2007 and my first novel, Bartlett’s Rule, was published in 2008. Nine novels and one writing guide later, I still enjoy my two writing personas – novelist and journalist, both under the name of Chelle Cordero.
What got you interested in writing, and what inspired you to write your first book?  
  I always had an overactive imagination and loved to make up stories as a child. My parents encouraged me to express myself through various art forms including writing. My sister and I wrote a poem about two Martians who wanted to get married and our folks had us “perform it” for all of the family.

In High School I was lucky to get to study creative writing undr the tutelage of poet Daisy Alden. A few years later, while I was a volunteer in the NYC Auxiliary Police, I was mentored by Det Hank Spallone (he later became the mayor of Yonkers) in community affairs and learned about  working with the media.

I’ve always had stories inside me just waiting to be organized into manuscripts. I guess I finally had the confidence to pursue that part of  my career.
Do you outline before you write? If not, what’s your initial process?   

I start with an UNwritten premise and an idea of where I want to go. Then I birth a few characters, put the problems in front of them and see how they want to handle it. My characters tend to write their own stories and sometimes really surprise me.

6.    Which of your characters do you love/hate/fear/pity the most and why?  

       Limiting myself to just my most recent book, Hyphema -  I love the hero, Matt. First of all, I love his profession and his dedication to helping (I have a fondness for EMS personnel, I come from a family of paid and volunteer EMT’s & a Paramedic). Matt is very much in love with his wife and very loyal to his principles. – I pity Raja, Sudah’s cousin. She is so busy wanting what everyone has that she never appreciates anything she has. – I hate and fear the villain (NOT giving his name here) because his motives are so self-centered; he is convinced that he is entitled to be cruel.

Did your book require a lot of research?  
This book required a lot of research into many, many areas. I was dealing with a culture and religion that I wasn’t personally familiar with and I wanted to portray it accurately. My story is very contemporary and I also as dealing with a character (Sudah) whose ethnicity and religious beliefs are often scrutinized in a post 9/11 world. I wanted to present her beliefs and the prejudices she encountered fairly ON BOTH SIDES and without preconceived notions.

Matt’s character had been created in an earlier book and I build a lot of angst and habits into him as part of that story. I had to keep him consistent in Hyphema.  I’ve been a NYS EMT for more than 2 decades and I understand what it is to work on a patient  outside of a hospital setting; as a Paramedic Matt’s training is higher (but since my daughter is a paramedic I asked her a lot of technical questions). He is a flight medic and working on a patient in a helicopter is very different and not something I have ever seen in real life, so I had to speak to flight medics and try to see it through their eyes.
What are some of the challenges in your writing process?   

Since I really do give my characters pretty free reign to decide their actions, sometimes they get a bit difficult to deal with, kind of like raising kids! Every so often I have to pull them back and sometimes we argue. It’s not pleasant when that happens.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?  
Spend time with my family, read, and volunteer with my local ambulance corps.
What books or authors have influenced your writing?   

I can honestly say that EVERY book I have ever read has influenced me and I’ve learned a little more about my craft. Right now two authors who have a great deal of influence on my writing are fellow VHP authors Charmaine Gordon and Janet Lane Walters. Charmaine, Janet and I have a roaming workshop program we present called TLC; even though we are “teaching” others, I think we tend to learn a lot from each other as well.
                What do you see for the future of publishing and e-books?    

      While many still like the feel of a “real” book in their hands (myself included), e-books are quickly gaining in popularity because of cost, both in consumer purchasing and in publisher investment. Add to that the instant gratification and convenience of instant download and it’s a winning deal.

     What are your current books out right now and what are the books coming up for release?   

I have nine novels: Bartlett’s Rule; His Lucky Charm; Within the Law; Courage of the Heart; Final Sin; Hostage Heart; A Chaunce of Riches; Common Bond, Tangled Hearts; & Hyphema. I’ve begun work on my next book, a paranormal romantic suspense.

            What advice would you give a new writer just starting out? 
      Never quit, never get discouraged and never let someone talk you out of trying. And remember that not everyone likes every book (do YOU like every book in a bookstore?) so it might take a few, or more, attempts to find a market for your work.

             Where can people learn more about you and your work?   

     Folks can check out my website at to find information about me, my books, buy links and my appearances.  Click on “Media” on the menu bar for lots of background info as well.

Hyphema Prologue
Matt was looking down over the dark water as they were being buffeted by the winds.
“It’s always choppy over here,” shouted Tony, the pilot. “You get used to it after a while.”
They had just finished their pre-flight check when they got banged out on an emergency transport job. The patient, a diabetic male in his forties, was in distress after being pinned under a car in a freakish accident. The bulk of the damage was centered on his back after the car fell off of its jack. His urine was filled with blood and he needed immediate transport to a level one trauma center.
North Carolina’s Outer Banks had a reputation for beauty and serenity. Several old fishing villages dotted the barrier islands along with spacious homes and bed and breakfasts. Matt was thinking of taking Sudah and Aden there for a weekend jaunt soon.
Luckily the area was served by a state of the art hospital center so any injured or sick could be treated there without the hour-and-a-half commute a car would need. With a serious trauma, patients could at least be stabilized, and air transportation used to one of the trauma centers inland.
“Have you ever been out here before Matt?” Frank was a thirty three year old critical care flight nurse who had grown up in the area.
“Nope. First time.” Matt had not ventured far from New York where he grew up until he decided to move his family to North Carolina after a job offer from NC Air EMS.
The LZ was lit up on the grounds of the hospital and Tony was preparing to put the chopper down. Matt and Frank remained quiet. All three were communicating through the headsets in their helmets; the sound of the rotor above them would have made it too noisy to talk otherwise.
It was still his first week in the new job and only his second living in the area. It amazed him that Sudah was so supportive even though he practically yanked her and the baby from New York. She stood by him, never questioning his decision and saying goodbye to their friends without even a tear. He was going to do everything he could to make sure this worked.
Matt felt the EC 145 bank hard to the right as Tony brought the bird around. His harness held him securely in the seat. He smiled as he watched the landscape grow bigger and realized that he was finally in his dream job.


  1. Penny Thank you so much for allowing me this opportunity to talk about a career and stories I love so much.

  2. Chelle, it's my pleasure having you. I always enjoy chatting with other writers about their books.