Monday, 23 April 2012

Author Spotlight - Q&A with Jillian Chantel

STEPH: I don't know much about "The Gambler." What's it about?

JILLIAN: The Gambler is a romance/murder mystery which takes place on the Queen Mary, an ocean liner that sailed the seas from 1936-1967. The ship is beautiful and was the epitome of grace and first class service in her early years. Eventually, she was used as a war ship in World War II and then restored to her former glory and sailed as a luxury liner again. I am fascinated by the old liners as well as the early to mid part of the twentieth century, so I wanted to set a story on this ship. This is the first in a series of three books and this one is set in 1937 when the ship was at the height of its glory and all the rich and famous wanted to be on-board. The story centers around a young man named Dirk McSwain who has a talent for winning at cards. His home is in danger of foreclosure so he books passage on the Queen Mary to win big. He gets more than he bargains for when he meets three Irish sisters and one of the passengers on board dies after an altercation with him.

STEPH: How long did it take you to write?

JILLIAN: The first draft took about a month.

STEPH: How much research did you have to do?

JILLIAN: I had to research the history of the Queen Mary and actually spent two nights on-board the ship in March of 2011. I took the behind the scenes tour as well as the ghost tour. It was very educational but I got a little bogged down when it came time to write the story as I kept trying to weave in too much of the research. I had to finally realize that I needed to let some of it go as the reader didn’t want a map of the ship or a history lesson. Once I let that go, the story flowed better.

STEPH: How does the cover reflect the story within?

JILLIAN: It’s very much like the men’s card room I pictured on the ship. There were ladies’ areas of the ship and men’s areas as well. The classes as well as the sexes were separated a lot in that era. The men had separate rooms for smoking and gambling.

STEPH: Eden is the heroine. What are her strengths? Weakness?

JILLIAN: Eden has strengths she doesn’t know she has. She’s the elder sister by three years of her stunning sisters who happen to be twins. Eden has lived her life in their shadow and has no idea of what she has to offer the world. She also has a psychic gift that has caused her family to treat her as a freak. She has a great wit and is a quick thinker. She’s a champion swimmer and loves to compete.

STEPH: What does Dirk find appealing about her?

JILLIAN: Initially, Dirk is blinded by the beauty of the twin sisters and sees them as targets for his get rich quick scheme- he plans to play cards with them and win some money to help with his dilemma. When he dances with Eden and realizes she is quite intelligent, his feelings start to change. When he realizes she’s got a psychic gift, his admiration for her increases. They eventually team up to solve the mystery of the death of the passenger and grow closer as a result of this work.

STEPH: What is the theme of the novel?

JILLIAN: As I wrote the story, I was surprised to find that the story actually has a Cinderella theme. It’s also a story about acceptance of the gifts God gives to each of us, no matter how much the world at large may think that your gift is not a gift.

STEPH: As a writer, where do you draw inspiration from?

JILILAN: Everywhere. In fact, I have a dear friend right now who is in the midst of new love at age 52 and she is giddy with it. Her new love is so romantic and supportive of her, I’m planning to steal some of the wonderful things he’s done for her for my next book.

STEPH: Do you have an ebook reader? If so, which one?

JILIAN: I have the Sony and I also have the Kindle app on my Ipad as well as Ibooks.

STEPH: Fun question: What are your plans for spring?

JILLIAN: I just got back from the Romantic Times Convention in Chicago. It was fun but exhausting. I met a lot of the Desert Breeze authors there and that was awesome. My only other plans for spring are to travel to Texas for my cousin’s son’s graduation from law school. He’ll be the second lawyer in the family besides me and I’m super proud of him.

Find me on the web:!/JillianChantal

Buy link:'s-Inheritance-Book-One-cln-/Detail.bok


  1. Thanks for having me in the spotlight today!

  2. Thanks for having me in the spotlight today!

  3. That sounds like a great story. I like how you did your own personal research. I find research a welcome break from writing sometimes. When my creative juices are dry, researching lets me focus on something else. Is it the same for you?

  4. Very much enjoyed learning more about you and your fascinating new book. Best of luck!

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. Thanks Patty. I love research and to actually get to go on this lovely ship was a major highlight for me. Being a lawyer who does a lot of dull research at work makes the novel research even more fun and lets me focus on nicer things.

    Thanks Angela. I hope the readers find it fascinating as well.

  7. sadly, my comments are doubling. SORRY!

  8. Enjoyed the interview and your newest book sounds terrific.
    Very good point about the research. I've found that once I learn a WHOLE LOT about whatever subject, I tend to want to use ALL of it in the story. It causes physical pain to cut any. Ha.

  9. Well, my comment disappeared. Hmmm. Glad I checked back! Jillian, you told me about this book last week, and now that I've read an excerpt I want to read it even more! It's definitely on my TBR list. I'll get it on my Kindle next time I turn it on.

    Enjoyed meeting you at RT and learning how much we have in common! We're two pretty cool chicks. lol

  10. Excellent interview. Sounds like an interesting trilogy coming our way. Can't wait to start The Gambler.

  11. The Gambler is in my queue (lots of books to read). I can hardly wait. I love that he starts out scheming, then finds himself attracted to Eden.

  12. Amen Jeff. It didn't cause quite physical pain but DID stymie me a bit as I tried to fit it all in. I got trapped in the route between the dining room and the elevators with them several times. LOL! Had to let that go.

  13. Thanks, Melanie- we definitely are alike and I love it! It was awesome to hang with you at RT and we need to make that trip to New Orleans.

    Thanks Sandy! I hope you like it.

    Thanks Laurie. That was fun to write. His metamorphosis!

  14. Great to learn more about your story. Thanks for sharing.

  15. I hope this doesn't show up twice but it didn't publish the first time. Or at least it look like it.

    Loved the post this morning and wishing you the best with Gambler. I'm like you I really like luxury ships.

  16. Looking forward to this great read!

  17. I'm so glad to see you in the spotlight Jillian this is a fabulous story I am so glad you've found a place like Desert Breeze to share your gift of storytelling.

  18. Jillian, it's great to have you here. I love your stories so I'm looking forward to this one, Sweetie.


  19. Thanks, Lynn and Shaunna. thnaks Steph. It's always a pleasure to be here. Hope you like Rhe story.

    Thanks Lavada. I hope it's enjoyable for you and you feel like you are "there"

    Thanks Darlene. Desert Breeze is definitely a great place.

  20. Sounds like an awesome book. I was glad I got to meet you in Chicago. Love this time period.

  21. Great interview! Can't wait to read this book!


  22. Thanks, Limda. It was wonderful to meet you as well. We had a grand time, didn't we?

  23. Thanks Linda Campbell. I hope you like it. You're always so supportive, my friend.