Writer - Negociator - Adventurer

Storytellers unearth the meaningful patterns which bind us and fold them into fresh tales that capture our imagination. My starting point is the voices of people who dare to be the central character in their own lives.



What readers are saying:

"Dr Amporn's remarkable story is not about childhood survival or war-time battles, rather a life-long struggle to defeat his demons and transform his fate" Nelson Rand, author and journalist

"While the very first few chapters of this book will have you on the edge of tears, what unravels is a gripping cycle of misery, hope and inspiration that has you willing for a triumphant ending. It is in all essence a true reflection of human resolve, hope and the simple will to survive." Thailand Life Blog

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Stories of Couples in Recovery

Recovery as a couple requires patience, personal growth and a lot more than sobriety. The myth persists that once a spouse or partner becomes sober the relationship is saved. It is not. Read the stories of couples in early and long-term recovery. Learn how they rebuild trust, re-ignite their intimacy and create a new fully engaged life.This book is storytelling so that the reader can accompany the couple as they reclaim their relationships.



I travel slowly

To write, I need movement. Two-wheel travel feeds me subtleties. The scorching sun among the temples in Myanmar is not the same as the one that barely reaches me on the Danish coast. The mental battle pedaling up a mountain range to reach the town of Arbus in Sardinia is not the same as barreling down from the Chilean-Argentinian border. The thought of mortality triggered while meandering through the City of the Ghosts in Vietnam is not the same as white-knuckling your bike across the Normandy Bridge alongside 18-wheeler transports.

Slow travel cradles my imagination until I face the keyboard.

I listen deeply

To give voice to a person’s story is to listen to them deeply. I record our interviews and replay them like a mantra. I pay attention to the tremor in their voice, to the inflection that foretells an emotion and I eavesdrop into the private conversation between their words and their living. I tune in to the silences and the rush of emotions. I hang on to their words until the story reveals itself.

I visualize scenes

To create scenes, I visualize the person and their stories. Sitting at my computer, I close my eyes and cover them with my hands. On the dark stage of my imagination, I actualize the stories into characters and settings. When I can see them clearly, I imagine them interacting. I replay the scenes in my mind until I am ready to put the interplay into words.

I create writing spaces

To focus, I signal to myself that it is time to write. Wherever I find myself, I create my writing space. First there is tea, everything from puerh to chai masala, the warmth awakens my sense of touch. Then I need light, a candle, even on a bright day. To trigger my sense of smell, I light fir balsam incense. It transports me to nature. Always, there is music. My current book Love Without Martinis has been mostly written to the dreamlike strings of Zoë Keating’s cello.

FAQs About Chantal

Did you always want to be a writer?

My first hope as a university student was to be a foreign correspondent to travel the world and bring stories to light. Born into a French-Canadian family, my English language skills were not very strong during undergraduate studies so I transferred out of journalism into law. I was immediately drawn to international trade and the relationship between countries. My love for writing did not re-emerge until my life crossed that of Dr. Amporn which resulted in The Boy with a Bamboo Heart. I have now reconnected with my early desires to write and look forward to see where it leads me.

Why do you write creative non-fiction instead of fiction?

After years of practicing law, non-fiction feels like an old glove. I figure out what motivates the people I write about and what is at stake for them much in the same way I would represent clients or the company in contract deals. I have chosen creative non-fiction because it allows me to explore my own artistic sensibilities and the use of literary techniques such as imagery, personification and foreshadowing. I love writing in the margins of facts and personal myth.

How do you choose the stories that you write?

My first book chose me. Dr. Amporn asked me to write his life story to create a legacy for his work. I thought it would be a magazine article. The more I found out about his life, the more I wanted to tell all of it. His years as an orphan, as a boy soldier, as a monk and how he became a man how loved others rather than filled with anger. His spirit was contagious, the search for healing past wounds is a universal story. I had to write it. My second book also chose me. This is the book I wanted to read when my husband and I were navigating the turbulent days of his early sobriety. I read the classic texts about recovery as well as the self-help books recommended but what I wanted to read were stories of couples facing the same struggles. I wanted to hear their words, their thoughts and see them emerge into their new lives together.


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