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Interview with Nicole Chardenet, author of Sumer Lovin’


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Sumer Lovin’, not to be confused with Summer Lovin’, which is a song from Grease, is about the search for love and lust in Toronto, the most singles-challenged city in North America, rendered even more challenging by a plague of demons and bizarre denizens from Ancient Sumeria, released onto the relentlessly normal city from the Underworld by an earthquake. It follows several characters including Lamashtu, one of the most beautiful and seductive women in the world who you absolutely, positively should not have sex with; Rachel, a Jewish matchmaker from New York who’s escaping her macho doofus ex-husband, and her partners and friends Mahliqa and Amita, Muslim & Indian ladies who have formed a consulting service to help Canadian parents arrange marriages for their children. Their relationship-challenged clients include a 35-year-old virgin, a woman who thinks with her ovaries, and of course, a couple of men who think with their nether organs as well!

With much humour, the story takes place all over Toronto and culminates in a big showdown downtown.

What genre is it?
Humourous fantasy fiction. One might also argue dysfunctional romance (hey, really, is there any other kind?)

What kind of readers will it appeal to?
Fans of Christopher Moore will like this one. I know he calls his fiction “comic”, but I was afraid of being mistaken for a comics-oriented author. Sumer Lovin’ has paranormal elements but none of the popular ones right now – it’s vampire, werewolf, and zombie-free! And really, how often do you read about villains from ancient Sumeria? If you’re tired of the same-old-same-old in fantasy fiction, I believe this book will appeal to you.

Tell us more about your ancient Sumerians and the other characters in this book.
Rachel, the divorced Jewish matchmaker, can’t understand why the men of Toronto seem so shy around women or why she can’t find love herself. Her marriage consultant partners Mahliqa and Amita can’t understand why the children of most of their client parents are middle-aged. And Lamashtu, the gorgeous semi-divine demoness, can’t understand why Toronto has so many male virgins, but she doesn’t question it much because they’re just what she needs to bring back her evil powers to destroy her enemies, although she’s really, really nervous about the fact that her mother’s looking for her.

Complete this sentence for us: if you like _________________, you’ll love Sumer Lovin’.
I guess since I’ve already used Christopher Moore I’ll just say “laughing”.

Have you written any other books that we should read next?
My previous book is “Young Republican, Yuppie Princess,” a spoof on swords ‘n’ sorcery fantasy novels. It follows the travails of Joyce, a rah-rah Ronald Reagan Young Republican in 1984 and reluctant hero as she joins her geeky D&D-playing friends in an adventure in an alternative universe to rescue a missing college student. (Why does an uptight Young Republican have such geeky friends? Joyce wonders that too sometimes!)

Tell us a bit more about Joyce and her friends.
Her friends include Hacker, a horny computer geek, Raven, her roommate, a wannabe love goddess and fantasy fiction writer, and JB, their mostly-normal Tom Cruise-like self-described “holistic hitman”, who claims he knows 27 different ways to kill a man and at least as many ways to heal him. Some of the crazy characters they run into in the medieval universe include a not-so-handsome-prince with a suspicious New Jersey accent, his suspiciously heavy metal troubadour and evil sorceror advisor, Malsorcier, a feminazi witch, some bitchy undines and a collection of Conan-style barbarians who come across as only half as smart.

Will Joyce and her friends rescue Stephanie, Hacker’s hoped-for future squeeze from the clutches of the dirtball prince and his wicked adviser? Will they find the missing floppy disk which is the only thing to prevent their enemies from following them back to nice safe 1984 America, and most importantly of all, will Joyce get back in time to take her Macroeconomics exam??!

Tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m an ex-pat American living in Toronto (and now, a minty-fresh new Canadian citizen!) in my den o’ debauchery with my evil henchkitty Belladonna. I came from Connecticut and say “Wicked good” way too much. The real reason why I moved here is because I was having a mid-life crisis and needed to get the hell out of Dodge before George Bush threw up the electrified fence, but I tell Canadians it was for better beer and I tell Republicans it was for all the pot-smoking, gay marriage and socialism.

Do you have a website where we can keep up with your work?

And my blog, Tongue of Dog’s Breakfast.

How can we follow you on Twitter and/or Facebook?
Very carefully. You never know what I might say next
Twitter: @nchardenet

What’s next?
I’m working on another story set in Toronto that is also about the search for love and lust, but which also carries the cautionary moral message: Do not bring a hot, babelicious rock star back from the dead to be your boyfriend. It will turn out very, very badly. The wacky cast of characters include a pretty young witch who undervalues herself, her geeky, physics-obsessed teenage sister, her broken-down alcoholic ex-guitar-god neighbour who’s got hot bananas for her, and her downstairs neighbour who thinks he’s the reincarnation of Aleister Crowley. And oh yeah, a famous dead rock star guy. It’ll be pretty weird.

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