I’m really happy to welcome Nicole Chardenet, author of Young Republican, Yuppie Princess, onto Once Upon A Time today! I sadly won’t have time to read her book myself, but I love the premise so much that I was more than happy to host a guest spot for her. Satirical fantasy? Yes please! Without further ado, Nicole. 🙂
Just who is this Nicole Chardenet?
Nicole Chardenet was born in the States and moved to Canada in 2005 for better beer, improved social and professional prospects, and to escape the Republicans.
She worked as a country/western disc jockey right out of college (despite loathing country/western music), an intern at a Christian fundamentalist TV station (despite being a level-headed freethinker) and finally settled on a glamorous career in IT industry sales (after getting over her complete loathing of computer technology). She has never married, has no kids, and does not appear to have gotten the memo she’s supposed to care.
She’s been writing since she was six and honed her humor skills for several years writing free articles for a small Connecticut newspaper and various paying freelance jobs, including for a new alternative newspaper about family life which tragically folded after a few months (and still owing her some money, but she let it go).
She became a Wiccan some years back and thought it was about time she put twenty years’ worth of research and experience in all things occult and fantasy to work for her. She currently lives in Toronto with her black evil henchkitty Belladonna.
Young Republican, Yuppie Princess mixes politics with fantasy as well as the ’80s. What prompted this unusual mix?
Joyce is representative of all the Young Republicans we had at Kent State. Kind of square, squeaky-clean, they’d really turned into their parents and they were only teenagers! So stuffy and uptight and conservative – coming off the ’70s, when everything was free-swinging and liberal, from hippies to disco, you just wanted to give them all wedgies. Or condoms. So I was having a go at them a little. Let’s remember, these are the friendly folks who brought us the 2008 Global Financial Collapse!
Are you very political yourself? Is Joyce like you?
Joyce is like me only in her feminism, but not in her denial. Republican women are some of the most feminist people out there but they’d pop a vein in their forehead if you called them the evil f-word. Joyce would never call herself a feminist but she’s a take-no-prisoners woman who knows exactly what she wants and she’s quite single-minded about it, and obviously doesn’t let men get in her way. The F-word, however, doesn’t scare me. I am forever shooting my mouth off about politics, and I love doing political satire.
What sort of research did you do for this novel?
I didn’t have the Internet when I wrote the first draft, as it was written on an ancient computer back in the days when the Internet was still a small dark place where young boys exchanged badly-composed vaguely female-shaped ASCII images. It wasn’t until I pulled the draft out much later, in the middle of the big financial meltdown, that I decided to whip it into shape. That’s when I discovered how many anachronisms I had! And speaking of which, the Chassadrilian world came from my years in a medieval re-creation group called the Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA). Which is where I learned to belly dance.
Which authors are your influences?
There have been so many over the years – when I was in college I was a fan of the late Art Buchwald, who wrote humorous political commentary for decades in Washington. I read a lot of his column anthologies dating back to the ’60s and the Nixon era. Later I discovered Dave Barry whose humor is less political but trenchantly funny. And today I think the comic fantasy writer Christopher Moore must be my long-lost twin brother or something, because we have a very similar sense of humor.
How long have you been writing? Have you ever done political pieces before?
I remember being frustrated in my pre-school days when I wanted to tell stories but was, well, illiterate. I wrote very bad poetry in grade school and moved to my splatter phase in high school during the golden years of the slasher film. So, people usually died graphic but creative deaths in my short stories. It’s a good thing I’m not a teenager writing that stuff today or they’d probably have me in therapy.
I wrote a lot of political humor pieces for a local alternative newspaper when I lived in Connecticut in the 90s. But politics doesn’t play a role in other projects I’ve worked on.
Besides politics, what else influences your writing?
I’ve been a practicing Pagan for more than twenty years now and I decided some years back to put all that weird occult knowledge I’d accumulated to work for me. Hence Malsorcier’s black magician character, and Aeris the witch who is a takeoff on a certain popular Goddess history writer famous for her anti-Christian, male-bashing and largely pseudo-historical rants. So, Aeris is a bit of a feminazi. I also love mythology and religious themes.
Do you play D&D? Are you a Lord of the Rings fan?
I played some D&D in college but was never a big fan. I only just got around to reading the Lord of the Rings trilogy a few years ago and spent the next several days saying stuff like, “I must journey yonder to the Kingdom of Stop ‘n’ Shop in my trusty Steed of Steel to bring home some sustenance forthwith!” Most of my knowledge of medieval times comes from many years playing the persona Lady Gisele du Pont Avignon, fifteenth-century Frenchwoman and belly dancer (how that happened involves a highly unlikely back story of Celtic pirates, defensive cross-dressing and a Turkish harem). The character of Prince Chip is actually based on someone I met at a medieval event many years ago, and Joyce and her friends are based loosely on myself and three college friends, all of whom introduced me to the SCA which only encouraged my inner geek.
Do you plan other novels with political themes?
Never say never, because politics is a humorous business, usually unintentionally – today the Democrats compete with the Republicans, the Tea Party and Fox News for über-lameness. But for now, I don’t think there are any immediate plans for politically-oriented novels.
Joyce and Raven dance in public to raise money in a few scenes. Are you a dancer too?
I learned a lot of questionable skills in the aforementioned SCA although one of the more useful (and lucrative!) was belly dancing which I applied in the Mundane World, as we called the world outside the SCA. I was in a dance troupe for a year and for fifteen years I was the terror of 40-year-old men on their birthdays in a tri-state area when I did ‘bellygrams,’ dancing at their parties. This embarrassed them more than anything else because 40-year-old men are still too young and uptight to appreciate belly dancers. Best to wait until they turn fifty, when they mellow with age!
Will there be a sequel to Young Republican, Yuppie Princess?
Maybe…When I wrote YRYP I actually set up a potential sequel in the epilogue. Except this time, when the portal opens it will be people from Chassadril who invade 1987. Why 1987? Well, because that’s when everything goes to hell for Our Heroes and Heroines. Everyone’s going to be in a bad place in Chapter One!
So what’s the book about?
It’s 1984 and the future looks bright for college student Joyce Bacyrus, rah-rah Reaganite and card-carrying Young Republican. She dreams of a high-powered Wall Street Yuppie career until her computer geek friend Hacker boinks it all up by opening a portal to another world in his dorm bathroom and dragging Joyce and their friends into it on a search for Stephanie, his missing lab partner and hopeful future squeeze. When Hacker loses the floppy disk that anchors the open portal, they must find it along with Stephanie, a task now on deadline as she’s slated to marry the world’s most disgusting prince. Threatening to boink things up further are a feminazi witch, a race of Conan-style barbarians (but only half as smart), incredibly hot naked undines and the prince’s sidekick, heavy-metal troubadour and evil magician Malsorcier. While pondering the deeper questions of friendship, loyalty and the suspiciously modern elements in Chassadril, Joyce also wonders, “Am I gonna miss my Macroeconomics exam?”
Young Republican, Yuppie Princess is available now from both Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk in e-book and POD paperback formats, just 99 cents for the US kindle e-book and 86 pence for the UK! And you can find Nicole at her website.
Leave your comments, Nicole may be stopping by sometime today!