Back to Then with Jillian Chantal


I did it! After nearly twenty-five years of plotting and ripping off nearly every movie known to man, I’ve turned my Prius into a fully functioning time machine. Thanks to my ZJ-mod-U-lATeOR, run exclusively on zombie juice stolen for a parallel dimension, I can now travel through time and space. I even painted it a nice shade of TARDIS blue. So, where should I go first? The Jurassic Age? 1962 so I can buy a mint copy of Amazing Fantasy #15? Nope, since I’m a writer, I’m going back to meet some of the greatest literary giants of all time! Brahwahwahwa!

Unfortunately, I blew all my zombie juice going back to spy on the making of Star Wars IV. So, I’ve only got enough power to go back in time three days, give or take. Since, I’ve got to make this count, I’ve decided to go back and meet none other than Jillian Chantal and talk to her about her latest release, The Gambler’s Daughter. Sure, I could have just talked to her back in the past when it came out, but I was too busy worrying about going back to the past from the future that had been now, but is now then. Don’t worry. I’m confused too.

Any who! Time to go back to when Jillian was eagerly awaiting the release of her book. Cue time travelly music.

Boooooshhhhhhhhh ta bashhhhhhhhh da bossssssssssssssssssssshhhhhhhhh dum de dum dum boooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooossssssssssssssssssssssshhhhhhhhhh.

And we’re then!

Jmo: Jillian, come with me if you want to live!

Jillian: I want to liveeee! Grab my arm. Don’t let me fall and die!

Jmo: Not on my watch! First off, thanks for not beating me up, but this was the only way I could talk to you then about now that was then. Never mind. I’m still confused. Why don’t you tell my readers about yourself?

Jillian: I was born in England to the oldest son of the last king and am the real heir to the throne- Oh wait, I can’t tell that part- they’re still looking to assassinate me- the truth is, I’m an American CIA agent working undercover infiltrating the Mafia – No wait- I can’t tell that either or I’d have to kill you. Okay, here’s the truth… ready? Wait for it….  I’m a romance writer. I know- it’s shocking but there you go. That’s who I am.

Jmo: Not as shocking as you’d think. Mainly, because I set the Prius to seek out romance authors and because I know your Historical fiction is quite simply amazing. ‘Redemption for the Devil’ totally blew me away when I read it. What sparked your interest in this genre?

Jillian:  Aww. Serious thanks for that, Jmo. I love that story still. When I wrote it, it was like taking dictation. In fact, I woke up one day with the thought, “My name is Liam Cormac and you’re going to tell my story.” Who could ign ore that command? I had to do it.

I love the early 20th century and the ocean liners of those glory days of pre-airline travel. It fascinates me how people came over the long way, so to speak. I have long been fascinated with the British Isles from reading Agatha Christie and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle as a kid and since it’s part of my family heritage. I’ve also always been a fan of murder mysteries and combining those two interests led first to Redemption for the Devil.

I decided to write The Gambler’s Inheritance series when I heard that the Queen Mary was a floating hotel now and that I could actually stay there. I did stay onboard for two days and the story ideas came calling.

Jmo: Wow! Amazing to see how it all falls into place like that. I have to ask. How much research do you put into your stories before you begin writing? Because, reading you is like being there? The sounds! The sights! The huddled masses on ships to America! Sorta like this trip back in time.

Jillian: Haha. Yep. This trip is full of huddled masses. I see a few of them over in the corner. Maybe they’re merely terrified masses.

Jmo: No, I think they’re waiting for the train to Hogwarts. I get that a lot.

Jillian: Interestingly, the Irish story didn’t take much extra research since I’ve read extensively about the Irish fight for independence and Michael Collins and his death. I had also read a bit about the old ocean liners since I have a dear friend who’s enamored of the lore of the Titanic. She got me interested a few years ago. So, most of the research was fact checking. I did have a moment of panic when I wanted my hero to witness the building of the Empire State Building but I was too early in time.

For the Gambler series, I grabbed (and paid for) a couple of books while I was on the Queen Mary and those jump started my research on dates of sailings and various celebrities who traveled on her from it.

Jmo: I hate to admit this, but I’ve not had the chance to read The Gambler’s Inheritance series. Bad of me I know. Building time machines take up a lot of well time. Do you mind telling us a little about this series and especially the latest book, The Gambler’s Daughter?

Jillian: This series is a set of three separate stories. They’re all people from the same family but each story is a stand-alone. There’s a beginning, middle and end. This is important to me since so many stories these days seem to end with cliffhangers. I don’t dig that at all. I want answers for my money!

There’s at least one murder to solve in each of these stories and lots of romance and flirting going on. The first story, The Gambler, is based when the Queen first took to the seas. It’s set in 1937 and the title character is Dirk McSwain who gambles for a living (imagine that!). The second one, The Gambler’s Brother, is set in 1946 and the title character is Dirk’s brother, Beaumont McSwain, who is a former RAF officer onboard the ship during the time the ship was transporting war brides to America.

The last one in the series is the story of the daughter of Dirk, Bernadette McSwain-  called- of all things- The Gambler’s Daughter. Beaumont’s son is also a central character. This one is set in 1967. That was when the Queen Mary made her final voyage.

These were all super fun to write, but I have to say that the last one was really a blast since it was the only one of the group that takes place when I was on the planet. Now, mind you, I was very young, but I loved that I could picture Bernadette in her go-go boots and mini skirts as well as talking about pop culture television shows I could remember seeing in reruns.

If you like the sixties, afros, go-go boots, high seas, cruises, mysteries, murder, romance and ghosts, this is the book for you.

Jmo: I do! I do! Before I go back to the Future! Man, I’ve been dying to say that. I have one more question to beg of you. What is the one thing you hope your readers take away from reading your books?

Jillian: I hope they find that my characters are realistic and are able to grow and learn from the adversities they undergo on their journeys. I hope they also find some humor in the stories as I try to inject wittiness and banter in the midst of tragedy. I also want to stump them on the whodunit, of course.

I know, that’s more than one thing, so before you go back to the future, Future Boy, let me narrow it down to the most important thing that I hope readers take from my stories:

An escape from the real world for a bit of time.

Jmo: Thanks again for taking the time to chat with me, but I really must be going. The zombie juice is starting to degrade at an alarming rate and I’d like to get home before Jenn discovers I’ve blown up the Prius. Please, feel free to give everyone some buy links for The Gambler’s Daughter and all your books. While you’re at it, tell them where you can be found all over the net.


Jmo: Thanks, for posting those links. Now, I’ve got just enough juice for one more ju….

‘Pzzt bloop fzzzzzzz!’

Well, that didn’t sound good. Exit the Prius in an orderly fashion. Zombified meltdown in minus ten seconds.

Jillian: Thanks Jmo for the fun visit. I hope the Prius got home in one piece and Jenn lets the travels through time continue. If you see Doctor Who, send him by. I’d like to hitch a ride in the Tardis to ride on an old ocean liner. It sounds safer than the Prius.

Jmo: Bye, Jillian and the rest of you guys. Until next week, ‘To Insanity and Beyond’.