Wednesday, October 17, 2012

10 Questions: Claude Bouchard

Thrillers, Killers, and Pizza: Claude Bouchard, Author

I was born in Montreal, Canada, where I still reside with my spouse, Joanne. I completed my studies in human resources, accounting and management at McGill University and worked in various management capacities in the fields of HR and finance for a handful of firms for what seemed like decades, because it was. I should also mention I love pizza, but who doesn't and, in my opinion, nothing rocks more than cooking on the grill.

My first stab at writing was in 1995, the result being my first novel, Vigilante. This was subsequently followed by The Consultant (1996) and Mind Games (1997), all of the same series. Professional obligations and other creative interests led me away from writing for a number of years but I found myself busy at the keyboard in 2009 with The Homeless Killer after having finally published my first three novels. I then followed up with 6 Hours 42 Minutes in 2011, also part of the Barry/McCall Series born from Vigilante. In July 2011, I released ASYLUM, my first stand-alone novel and Discreet Activities, my sixth Barry/McCall crime thriller was published in January 2012. I think I'm really starting to like this writing thing.

Besides writing, editing and promoting my work, I also spend some artistic energy with my five guitars, oil paints and watercolours. Other passions include cooking (big time with fine wine to go with it, of course), reading, traveling and working out just enough to stay fit. It should also be noted that following several years of practice, I now excel at being cat furniture for Krystalle and Midnight, or so they tell me.

The Interview

#1:  With seven novels under your belt, does it get easier or harder to write that next one?

I’d have to say a little bit of both. Actual writing gets easier due to practice and experience. However, coming up with stories or, more specifically, story elements and scenes which are not repetitious from past novels can sometimes get more difficult. Vigilantism, even though it became more formalized as of the second novel of my series, remains the underlying theme throughout. Determining what crimes have been committed such that punishment must be administered can be a challenge at times with further novels. It can’t always be the drug dealer or the gang banger.

Monday, October 15, 2012


Through cries and screams and sobbing eyes
our children beg to be believed.
How long until we realize?
This pain they feel must be relieved.

So many lost along the way.
Graves and jails lock them in.
The guilty ones still free to prey,
on innocence with their sins.

The teacher sees the child alone,
shy and scared while others play.
Suspecting things not well at home,
she wants to help but looks away.

The preacher gives his message clear
"Spare the rod and spoil the child".
He fails to say "Let's hold them dear,
with patient heart and tempers mild."

The neighbor hears the loud abuse
and sees the marks on her tiny face.
He has no proof so there's no use
butting in is not his place.

The doctor mends the broken arm,
while bruises tell the nasty truth.
He knows inside what caused this harm,
but writes it off as part of youth.

The men we send to make our laws
ignore this truth - so hard to face.
And we with votes must see their flaws,
send someone else to take their place.

We seek a place to lay the blame,
while our children take another blow.
When another dies - the cause the same,
we swear to God we didn't know.

* * * * *

I wrote this poem in my twenties (has it really been two decades?), yet it still rings true. The only real progress I've noticed is that those in the medical field are required now to report certain injuries, or patterns of injury, to the authorities. But even that effort seems to be misguided at times, incapable of understanding that children actually do jump off the backs of sofas, or fall off their bicycles. Society -- the collective, I believe, is as incapable of common sense and reason as is a computer.

This poem is part of a collection of short stories and poems available on Amazon for the low price of 99 cents.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

10 Questions: A Trifecta

Nimpentoad: Are three heads better than one?

Henry Herz’s love of the fantasy genre began in elementary school with “Where the Wild Things Are” and “The Lord of the Rings,” and continued by playing Dungeons & Dragons and Warhammer.  Struck by inspiration one day, Henry began a fun project with his two bright young sons, who share his joy of entering the magical realms of fantasy.  Together, they wrote this tale.  By day, Henry is a management consultant who also teaches after school enrichment for elementary school children.  

Josh and Harrison Herz are elementary school students who enjoy fantasy stories.  Josh’s hobbies include parkour, building with LEGOs, and painting Warhammer miniatures.  Harrison plays basketball, and collects KidRobot vinyl figures.  Both are big fans of The Lord of the Rings, the annual Comic-Con convention, and have an entrepreneurial bent.  With design help from their dad, they started three web-based businesses selling LEGO party favors, custom cast bases for Warhammer, and painted concrete yard sculptures.

They are (distant) relatives of Madeleine L'Engle, whose book A Wrinkle in Time was just ranked #3 on the top 100 children's books of all time by Scholastic's Parent & Child Magazine. Writing must be in the DNA!
Contact Links:

The Interview
 #1: What is Nimpentoad, and how did he come about?

Nimpentoad is the title and protagonist of our high fantasy early chapter book. He is a clever and fuzzy Nibling, as described in the following excerpt:

"The smallest folk living in the shadowy Grunwald Forest were called Niblings. Niblings are skinny and short – just above knee-high to an adult human. I don’t think they picked that name. I think the Goblins picked it for them. Because Niblings were small and weak, they didn’t have a lot of toys or even clothes.