I recently had the pleasure of meeting Nicole for lunch after connecting with her some months ago. She had a book launch and signing at the same store I had mine, and we forged a friendship from there.
I’m happy to say she’s every bit as delightful in person as she appears on the social networks.
Learn more about this fascinating author and her unique perspectives on life. I could not stop laughing!
* * * *
Divorced, middle-aged Rachel Brinkerhoff, a Jewish matchmaker from New York who hopes to remarry, moved to Toronto for a fresh new start with her business and her love life. But no one told her that female-aversive Toronto was BYOB – Bring Your Own Boy. She partners with an Indian and a Muslim lady who want to help Canadians arrange marriages for their often-recalcitrant children and who secretly wonder over the beautiful matchmaker’s datelessness. But then an earthquake shakes up Toronto in more ways than one, and the next thing you know, a public fountain turns into the Fountain of Youth, an army of misfits turn up to stake the world’s weirdest Native land claim, and worst of all, a beautiful sensuous woman is stalking Toronto’s virgin males and seducing them with horrifying consequences. Can a drop-dead gorgeous, highly neurotic American and her friends save Toronto from certain destruction, or will they have to call in a cure that’s worse than the curse?
Inside Nicole’s Mind
[eden] So thrilled you’re here Nicole, so tell me …
What is your idea of perfect happiness? Me and George Clooney in a hot tub facing out over the ocean with a box of chocolates and some fine French wine.
Okay, honestly? I have no idea what perfect happiness looks like, but I’m quite sure it would suck after about five minutes. I remember reading a short story when I was in university about a man who had a stopwatch that he could use to freeze happiness for himself so he could remain that happy forever, but he could only use it once. And every time something made him really happy he’d pull it out, but then he wouldn’t use it, because he hoped for greater and greater happiness. Until his life went down the tubes and he wound up on a train to hell. I think, really, that always striving for achievable goals that help us grow more is what makes us truly happy. Maybe it’s not perfect happiness, but nothing in life is perfect.
[eden] Love this answer.
What turns you on creatively? The unexpected. I never know where my next idea will come from, but I know it will come. I came up with the idea for my current writing project while researching Jim Morrison for my then-current writing project, and that one was inspired by a Jim Morrison-loving friend of mine. Moving to Canada from the US has been good for my creativity as there’s more of an opportunity to be a bit edgy here – because Canadian humour isn’t. Not much, anyway. I hope to challenge people as well as make them laugh with my humour.
[eden] Interesting observation of Canadian vs. Americans. I think our comedians are edgy and many of the best come from here to seek fame and fortune elsewhere, probably because of that difference. I think your humor is just unique. Period!
Which words or phrases do you most overuse? Probably “wicked good.” I’m from New England and picked up that speech habit. Ayuh! (Okay, I never said that, that’s more of a Maine thing than a Connecticut thing, where I’m from, but, whatevah)
What quality do you most admire in a man? Maturity. Which seems to be in very short supply these days. To be fair, it’s about as elusive in women, too. Can’t we all just grow the hell up?
What quality do you most admire in a woman? See above.
What is your greatest regret? I wish, when I had met my long-term partner, that we had just stayed friends. We’d be friends today if we had. Instead, I made a bad romantic choice, managing to pick the loser out of a pool of probable winners. He’s a good person, he was just a total hose-up and there were men around me with much fewer self-created problems. OTOH, I suppose not buying Apple back in 1980 was a big mistake too (but I was still in high school and had a small allowance so I guess I had a good excuse
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? I’d like to do a Peggy Sue Got Married thing and go back in time to re-live my life with the knowledge and experience I have now. Youth really is wasted on the young! I’d do so many things differently. But then again I’d probably hose up the timeline and wind up as a paraplegic with a colostomy bag attached to my butt because of some new decision I made back in like 1986. Or there’d be some horrible Butterfly Effect and Ronald Reagan somehow became President-For-Life. In fact, I’m writing a novel based on this premise, (well, set in 1968 before Reagan had time to blow up the world, which he’d probably do if I’d hosed up the timeline) except that the main character goes back to a time she can’t even remember. But she does something to change history and completely hoses it up.
Don’t do it. Don’t try to change history. You will fark things up beyond all recognition.
What is your greatest fear? That Rihanna and Chris Brown aren’t going to make it for the long term. Okay, I’m lying, I don’t really give a flying rat’s patootie about Rihanna and Chris. My greatest fear is that now that the Hostess snack brands are finally sold, they won’t taste as good as before. It’ll be like the whole Coke/Coke Classic thing! Coke *said* they went back to the old recipe but they LIED! It was never the same!!! Okay, I’ll admit, I’m lying about the whole Hostess thing too. Truth is, my greatest fear is that someone’s going to ask me what my greatest fear is in an interview. And I don’t want to do that! It’s too scary to even think about! Oh the horror, oh the humanity! All I can tell you is my greatest fear involves a carton of wine, a gallon of maple syrup, and Mel Gibson.
Okay okay, I’m still lying. I’m just not going to tell you. But I can promise you that no matter what it is, it will be even worse if Mel Gibson shows up.
[eden] You may be slightly insane!
Which living person do you most admire? The Dalai Lama. I’m a Pagan with Buddhist leanings, and I sometimes ask myself, “What would the Dalai Lama do?” much as some people ask, “What would Jesus do?” I am also a very big fan of ex-US president Jimmy Carter, who I didn’t think was a very good president but he’s been a bang-up excellent ex-president and a fine example of what living a Christian life is SUPPOSED to look like. I don’t, however, ask myself What would Jimmy Carter do? Because his answer would be, “Don’t trust the Iranians.”
Forty-two. That’s the answer to everything. Douglas Adams should have been our Saviour, not Jesus.
[eden] Hah! Forty-two IS the answer to everything.
What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? George Clooney’s love puppy, but so far he refuses to lift the restraining order. <sigh>
If you could choose what to come back as, what would it be? I want to reincarnate far enough into the future that I can live on the Moon. Or the municipal equivalent of the International Space Station. Or Mars. Whatever. Look, I don’t care. I want to live on a different heavenly body other than Earth, because it would just be too cool. I mean, on the Moon I’d only weigh one-sixth what I do here! That would be, like, 25 pounds! I could bounce around like the astronauts during their moon walks in the ’70s! I could maybe fly with fake wings like in Robert Heinlein’s short story, The Menace From Earth! I could sell moon rocks to the tourists from Ohio! Okay, the part where we’d all be dependent on some sort of a controlled environment that somehow pumps oxygen into our little city would kind of suck, because what if it broke down? Like, what if Chinese hackers broke into the support system and shut it down? What if the IT director was the sort of psycho who’d gun down an entire movie theatre, except he’s in a controlled environment with no guns, but he’s feeling pretty suicidal and psycho, so he just flips the switch to Off and superglues it to the wall? What if it ran on Windows and it suddenly locked up for no apparent reason like it used to in the olden days? Boy, wouldn’t that bring new dimension to the term, ‘blue screen of death’! But, at least we wouldn’t have to worry about global warming anymore, because we’d be on the Moon. Or Mars. Whatever.
What do you consider your greatest achievement? Overcoming a lot of bad habits to get serious about becoming a novelist and getting published. Granted, that’s a constant work in progress. Doing things outside one’s comfort zone becomes a daily thing.
What is the trait you most deplore in others? Not recognizing my superlative creative literary genius. The second would be narcissism.
What is your greatest extravagance? Are you kidding? I’m such a cheap-ass I can pinch a penny til it drips maple syrup. Oh wait, I can’t do that anymore, can I? Because the pennies are all disappearing. Okay, I can pinch a nickel til the beaver looks like roadkill. I recycle Ziploc baggies by washing them out and drying them on the rack. I up-end mammoth economy-size hand soap bottles to make sure I get to use every last molecule of soap I paid for. I don’t throw away toilet paper until I’ve used the other side. (Okay, I’m exaggerating a little.)
[eden] I sure hope so (about the toilet paper!)
What is one thing you want to do before you die? You mean besides anything that involves George Clooney? Visit Italy. Become a best-selling novelist. Crawling naked into a hot tub with George Clooney and chocolate and fine French—oh, never mind. Sorry, I do have a bit of a one-track mind. World peace. Yeah, that’s it. I’d like to bring about world peace.
Who is your favorite writer/musician/film director? It’s probably weird to say but I don’t actually have a favourite writer. It’s also safe to say, as I’m friendly with an awful lot of writers who would probably kick my ass if I didn’t name them. I can’t actually name any film directors, much less pick one out – I don’t go to the movies much anymore because it’s mostly crap. When are we going to start taking indy directors more seriously? Now I can pick out my favourite band – that would be the European symphonic metal band Nightwish. They’re just awesome. I love the operatic voice of whoever’s the lead singer that week. (They’re practically hiring temps at this point.) I also like metal bands Kamelot, Leave’s Eyes, Within Temptation and Epica. I didn’t become a metal fan until I was in my thirties. I was just, like, a late bloomer for everything. So my metal rebellion is a bit more wrinkled and eyesight-impaired than your average metal fan, but I still think you need to fight for your right to party. Because we’re not gonna take it on the highway to hell! Up with bad hair and corseted rock chicks! Down with Ted Nugent! (That loser!)
What are some of your favorite curse words? I have a friend who’s one of the most creative cursers I’ve ever known. She’s so good at cursing that I actually borrowed her style for a character in my current writing project who swears like a sailor when she wants to. My friend can come up with the most creative uses of the word ‘fuck.’ Like, “Fucking Fuckleheimer von Fuckelstein of the Kingdom of fucking Fuckelonia! Fuck me every fucking which way at the fucking Bank of Fuckovia! Fuck fuck fuckity fuck with fuckpaste and fuckleberry pie and a giant pitcher of fuck-flavoured fucktinis!” Although I myself am trying to use the f-bomb less so I tend to say “fark” these days. It doesn’t sound nearly as cool, though.
[eden] That’s a lot of F-words! Good thing I don’t censor.
What is your motto? I’ve got many, but the ones I repeat to myself the most often are “Fear nothing” and “Never give up.” So many dreams have been waylaid by fear and despair. Exhibit A: John Kennedy Toole, who committed suicide at age 31 because his novel A Confederation of Dunces got turned down by so many publishers. His mother pushed to have it published posthumously and she succeeded; today it’s considered a brilliant American classic. To which I would say to the dead Toole: DUMBASS!!!
[eden] Oh…priceless. Well… Nicole, I don’t think anyone could ever accuse you of mincing your words. Thanks for your candid answers!
Readers, please say “hi” to this fabulous lady and connect to her. She’ll make your social network much more fun.
* * * *
Connect to Nicole
Nicole Chardenet, author of Young Republican, Yuppie Princess, lives in her Toronto den o’ debauchery with Belladonna, her evil henchkitty. When they’re not plotting world domination together, Nicole is a business developer in the glamorous world of workforce management consulting. Sumer Lovin’ is her second book, and she can’t swear there won’t be others forthcoming.
Youtube (where Nicole reads an excerpt of Sumer Lovin’ from her book launch)
* * * *