Today I am very excited to be joined by Chantal Gadoury to discuss her new book WinterDream
Can you tell us a little about you?
My name is Chantal Gadoury and I’m the author of several fairytale retellings and contemporary romances such as “Allerleirauh,” “Between the Sea and Stars,” and “The Songs in Our Hearts.” I have a degree in Creative Writing, and spend much of my free time either writing, reading, painting, or watching historical tv-shows! I’m also a huge fan of Disney, and spending time with my family and friends. I’m pretty much your average bookworm!
Can you summarise WinterDream?
“WinterDream” is a Nutcracker Retelling – perfect for the upcoming holiday season. Clara must help save the Nutcracker’s Kingdom – WinterDream – and break the spell that keeps him in his Nutcracker form. It’s a thrilling adventure laced with danger, excitement and of course romance. (I don’t know about you, but I’m a sucker for romance!)
Can you tell us about the characters in this book?
Readers are going to meet some very familiar characters – if their familiar with the Nutcracker story! They’ll meet Clara, Drosselmeyer, the Nutcracker and the Mouse King. Clara is a very forward-thinking girl for her time. Drosselmeyer is the magical and mysterious toy-maker, and the Nutcracker is dashing heroic and kind. I don’t want to give too much away – but you’re sure to walk away loving several characters in the story!
Who is your favourite?
The Nutcracker for me, was my favorite to write. He reminded me of Wesley from “The Princess Bride,” and had the charm of any dashing prince. He was genuine though too – and really cared for everyone he ever interacted with.
Who was the easiest to write?
I think many of the “side” characters were the easiest to write. So many of the main characters had complex story-lines, and rich histories. The characters that Clara meets in WinterDream were easier, and in the situation occurring – acted as a breath of fresh air.
Who was the most difficult?
Lady Irina and Uncle Drosselmeyer were quite challenging – and for their own reasons. I wanted to keep Lady Irina interesting and mysterious, while I kept the story going. And Drosselmeyer plays such a key role in so much of the book – whether he’s physically in the room, or present in Clara’s mind. There were several scenes involving those two characters that I was ready to finish before they had even begun!
What was the hardest part of writing this book?
Making the book as magical as I wanted it to be. The Nutcracker holds such a special place in my heart – due to my mom always taking me to see the performance as a child. I really wanted to create a story that I would have loved to have read as a YA reader. I wanted the book to be whimsical and magical and romantic – but to have a real message behind the story too. Keeping true to the story, while making it my own was a bit of a challenge!
Do you have a favourite scene from this book? What is it and why?
I do! Without spoiling too much, it involves a lovely dance between two characters. You’ll have to read “WinterDream” to experience it for yourself!
Where do you get your character inspiration from?
I use Pinterest a lot to get inspiration for my characters. Whether it’s what they’re wearing, what the setting looks like, what they look like – I draw a lot of visuals. I have several pinterest boards for all of my books!
You have a free flight and accommodation to anywhere in the world where would you go?
I’d go to London, England. It’s been on my bucket list since I was 16. I want to go see all the beautiful historical places, and roam through bookshops, and listen to the beautiful accents of England.
What is your favourite season?
Fall is my
What do you love about writing?
Having the freedom to be anywhere I want to be; be with people that I want to be with – and spend time getting lost in their world, in their story – and feel the emotions my characters feel. Writing is a way of expressing my own hopes and dreams – and the people that I wish I had in my life. And I think it’s also a way of expressing different elements of myself. So for me, writing is liberation.Winterdream by Chantal Gadoury
Also by this author: Between the Sea and Stars, Allerleirauh
Published by Parliament House Publishing on 27th November 2018
Genres: Christmas, Fantasy, YA Fantasy
Amazon UK, Amazon US
This Christmas Eve… no creature was stirring…
Except, maybe, a mouse.
At long last, can true love break the Nutcracker’s curse?
For Clara Stahlbaum, this Christmas means the end of her youth. A daughter of the aristocracy, Clara is expected to give up her dreams of adventures and the extraordinary for more normal days as the wife of a cruel Viscount.
But when magical Uncle Drosselmeyer returns with his wondrous, dancing contraptions, and one…
specialgift for Clara, she is beckoned to the land of Winter Dream, where she is thrust into the greatest adventure of her wildest dreams. But will she be able to break the Nutcracker’s curse?
Uncle Drosselmeyer’s apprentice, Anton, is handsome as he is mysterious. But what is it about him Clara finds so alluring?
Winter Dream is a phenomenal retelling of The Nutcracker from the eyes of Clara Stahlbaum with all the magic of the Holiday season. If you loved S. Jae-Jones’ Wintersong, you’ll fall in love with this stunning tale of love, war, redemption, and Christmas magic.
Book Teaser Trailer
The sound of the clock ringing from the other room startled me, bringing me back to the darkened room and the dripping candle in my hand. Three soft tolls of the clock.
As I turned to glance at the grandfather clock, I could have sworn I saw the faint image of Uncle Drosselmeyer beside it. The long, wooden columns of the clock appeared to impersonate his form. On top of the clock, a wooden owl hovered, and with each toll of the clock, the automation flapped its wings, indicating the time. Then, in the blink of an eye, Uncle Drosselmeyer perched himself atop the clock, lingering behind the owl.
“Uncle Drosselmeyer?” I whispered softly, taking a step away from the Christmas tree.
I strained to see through the darkness, hoping to make out a clearer picture of him; my mind scrambled to make sense of what I was seeing.
He lifted a finger to his lips as if to quiet me and eagerly began to flap the edges of his midnight black cape, imitating the movement of the owl’s wings. A slight wind blew the flame of my candle out, leaving me in the darkness with him. The same sort of sparkling dust Uncle Drosselmeyer had used at the party erupted from the pockets of his cape, covering the floor around him.
“Uncle Drosselmeyer? What are you doing?” I called up to him more urgently. How had he gotten up there? More importantly, why was he there?
Suddenly, the clock began to toll again. The hands on its face began to twist back—round and round—until the two golden arrows were pointing to midnight. As I looked back to my uncle, I realized he was gone.
“Clara.” His voice echoed around the room, causing me to turn in circles. My extinguished candle fell to the floor with a clatter by my feet. Uncle Drosselmeyer was standing just behind me. I took a step back as I came face to face with him.
“The Nutcracker,” he said as his hand reached for the figure in my arms. His fingers were quick, tugging it out of my grasp.
Before I could protest, Uncle Drosselmeyer pushed against my shoulder. The strange force from his hand sent me reeling back into the sofa beside the decorated tree.
“Uncle Drosselmeyer!” I cried out, alarmed. What was he doing? A surge of conflicted tears formed in my eyes as I sat up.
“You must break the spell, Clara,” he said as he lifted his hand to the tree. “You must release the Nutcracker from his spell. Only you have the power of a pure and loving heart. . .”
I felt the sofa beneath me begin to tremble. Beside me, the tree rumbled, as if brought to life by the bizarre hour. The ground shook—the walls moved too—threatening to drop the many frames to the hardwood floor, and I was helpless to stop it. My heart raced, sure to burst from my chest if the house did right itself.
I wanted to scream.
My eyes caught sight again of Uncle Drosselmeyer. He was waving his hands wildly, stirring his fingers in the air, as if instructing an orchestra to reach a crescendo. The strangeness did not end there, for the tree had suddenly grown taller. I jumped up from the sofa and ran toward my uncle. But as I reached for the lapels of his jacket, to insist he explain himself, he dissolved into nothing.
He was gone.
“Clara…” My name came from the other side of the room. I turned, finding my uncle was now beside the large fireplace. In his hands was the Nutcracker. He lowered the wooden soldier onto the floor, beside the glowing, dying embers of the hearth.
“You must break the spell, Clara.”
Break the spell? Was he speaking of the story he had once told me as a child? The very story Anton and I had spoken of earlier in the hallway? I took a step back, easing away from him. Perhaps if I made it back to the stairwell, I would turn to find it had all been a part of my imagination. If only I could reach the staircase. As I tried to turn my feet back to where I had come from, I realized I was frozen in place.
I squeezed my eyes shut. Perhaps I was dreaming. Perhaps, if I willed myself to awaken, then it would have all been a terrible dream.
But this dream appeared to have no end. As I opened my eyes again, the room had actually grown larger all around me. I raced to the sofa again, digging my fingers into the plush fabric. My stomach twisted into what felt like knots as I shrank down; it felt like I was falling down further and further into the dream. Could this truly be happening? I pinched myself—again, and again, but it was useless.
Wake up, Clara. Wake up.
“Uncle Drosselmeyer!” I called out loudly, hoping I would awaken the house as I wrapped my arms around my head. I hoped that either Mama or Papa would hear me and come down to the parlor to find me. I wanted nothing more than to awaken from this strange nightmare.
“Please, Uncle Drosselmeyer! I’m afraid!”
And then, suddenly, the room came to an abrupt halt. All was quiet. I could hear the soft, steady ticking of the grandfather clock again. I eased my arms away, glancing around the space I recognized. But everything was different. I was different. The sofa loomed far over me, and the tree in the corner of the room; large and foreboding.
“Break the spell. . . Beware of the Mouse King!” Uncle Drosselmeyer’s voice echoed so softly from far away.
Where had he gone? He couldn’t just leave me here like this!
“Uncle Drosselmeyer!” I called out, biting back an unpleasant curse as I pushed myself up to my feet. I needed to find him. “U-Uncle!”
As I scurried from one rung of the sofa to the next, I found I was desperate for air. I could see the glow burning from the last of the embers in the fireplace from where I stood. And I could see him—the Nutcracker. As the furniture and the tree had grown larger, he now matched my height.
‘Legends say the nutcracker represents strength and power. It serves to protect its owner from evil spirits… and danger.’
If I was to break the spell—to help save the Nutcracker—could he protect me in turn? Could the story of the Nutcracker be true? I ran across the room to him—a distance that moments before would have been only a few mere steps. Now, it felt like an eternity.
With each step, I felt my head spinning. I paused as I approached his still form. The Nutcracker was unmoving, though he stood proud in place. Reaching out carefully, I grazed a finger over his arm. As soon as my fingers brushed over the painted wood, another curtain of glitter rained over us.
I tilted my chin upwards toward the ceiling, but saw nothing. The sounds of the Nutcracker shifting and tilting startled me, drawing my attention back to him. Right before my eyes, he began to transform. His rounded arms became more defined with fingers and elbows. The crinkle in his clothing was real, and the fabric had changed as well. And when he opened his eyes, I gasped.
Two blue irises looked back at me curiously. Human eyes stared back at me. Eyes that had once been painted onto the surface of his face now moved like any other normal person’s.
“N-Nutcracker?” I asked, lifting my brow in confusion.
“Clara…” he gasped as his wooden jaw began to move more freely on its own.
“Y-You’re… my Nutcracker?” I almost laughed at myself, the realization that I must be dreaming… a relief. I could suddenly feel myself growing faint. The room around me was becoming darker, and the air . . . it was hard to breathe. My legs buckled beneath me as I fell onto the floor.