Welcome, Candee. Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.
When I’m writing, I try to immerse myself in my characters’ skin and situations, but I know that my personal values and even my struggles at times to trust God still seep through onto the page. On the other hand, I deliberately try to find something in common with my characters in order to make the emotions of a scene ring true with readers.
What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
Wow. That’s hard. I’ve always been the goodie-two-shoes, pastor’s kid, so afraid to fail that I didn’t take risks. I tend to live vicariously through my characters. However, back in junior high, I campaigned for a Student Council office using neon colored posters and a friend dressed up in a neon green dragon costume (our mascot). My slogan was “the candy that’s good for the school’s health.” Groaning here at how not-punny, er, funny that was.
When did you first discover that you were a writer?
My love of reading translated over to excellent grades in academic writing for school assignments, but when my form of escape to formulate my thoughts was a journal and a horrid collection of angst-ridden teenage poetry, I know I’d been wired for words. I dabbled in non-fiction for awhile, but now I’m doing what I love by hanging out with fictional people.
Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
Other than a strong preference for a romance and a happily-ever-after, sigh-worthy ending, I enjoy everything from historical westerns, prairie tales, or Regencies up to contemporaries, Amish, and suspense. It all depends on my mood and what sort of everyday stress I’m seeking to escape! Lately I’ve also read quite a few dystopian tales while screening stories for my son to read.
How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
Sanity? Only by staying grounded in the truth of God’s Word through daily Bible reading and listening to Christian music in the kitchen or when driving.
for fun also helps me slow down for a bit. I’m a list-maker, so I’m usually
able to keep my priorities straight and set aside time to focus on what matters
most without running in circles. And when I get off track, I pull out the pen
and paper to get the rest of my day or week in order.
How do you choose your characters’ names?
Often a story idea has been percolating for a long time and somewhere along the line I start calling a main character by a particular name that seems to fit their personality. I have a harder time finding the right last name and co-star’s name, but invest the time to make sure I get that couple right. I’ve even been known to pray for inspiration! It’s easier for secondary characters since I mainly just try not to match the first letter or rhyme with the rest of the cast. For those names, I sometimes look in baby books, telephone directories, or even in high school yearbooks before mixing and matching first and last names.
I actually had one character that I had named one thing, but I had to change it halfway through the book, because he started being another name and wouldn’t let go. What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
My first thought was my three kids, but God and my husband both had a lot to do with how they’re turning out despite the days their behavior drove me into the pages of a good book for my own personal time-out! I’d have to say last year’s ACFW Genesis award sitting above my desk because it’s a symbol that I never gave up on the dream of being a writer despite rejections and many years wandering around the wilderness clutching a tattered manuscript. I was tempted too many times to go do something easier, but I trusted God that He had a plan.
Way to go! People, who aren’t writers, don’t understand how hard it is at first. If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
A house cat. I’m a bit of an introvert or loner who is content to observe life and people from a sunny spot with a scenic view. On the other hand, when I’m with “my” people, I can be very warm and soft and loving like the cat winding around your ankles or snuggling in for a scratch behind the ears. I mean, who doesn’t love a great back rub?
What is your favorite food?
Popcorn. Crunchy, buttery, and salty. No sweet kettle corn or caramel corn for me. But if you meant a real food like for a meal, I guess I’d say lasagna or manicotti or something Italian with lots of garlic and cheese. Then again, I’ve been known to eat a giant bowl of popcorn instead of a meal, especially when my family is elsewhere and I’m in the middle of a good book.
I’ve often eaten popcorn for the evening meal, but it was kettle corn. What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
The perfectionistic tendencies that drove me to good grades in school and the lack of quirky things I’ve ever done (see question #2 above) also set a high bar of expectations for my writing, starting with the first draft. I’ve tried—still working on it—to overcome it by investing time up front with quality brainstorming and even a detailed outline so I can shut down the voice that later whispers this story is dumb and won’t make sense. Then I gave myself permission to write super fast and simply in order to get the framework of the story including the external action and dialogue down on paper. By the time I go back through the scenes to layer in the internal emotions and setting details, I’ve got enough momentum to continue with revising and polishing. As someone said, “You can fix bad, but you can’t fix blank.” I just have to speed write past the blank.
That would be good advice to a beginning writer. Tell us about the featured book.
Catch of a Lifetime is a contemporary inspirational romance about a rookie college football coach whose star receiver teeters on the brink of ineligibility and the bitter tutor/athletic trainer who wants nothing to do with football but has to help. As they work together to salvage the season, romantic sparks fly, but their growing relationship must remain hidden behind a wall of professionalism. When a scandal erupts, the aftermath could destroy both of their careers and the hero must choose between the game and the woman he loves.
Please give us the first page of the book.
“It’s about time you showed up.”
Cassie Parker stiffened and turned her attention from the retreating receptionist to the silver-haired football coach glaring across his desk.
“I’m sorry, but I only found out an hour ago that the university hired someone to teach aerobics and eliminated my graduate assistantship position. I understood that I wasn’t supposed to report until classes start next Monday.”
“Then I suppose it’s a good thing you decided to report early.” Coach Thomas raised an eyebrow and leaned back in his black leather chair.
He thought it was a good thing to have her hopes crash to the mat? Not exactly. But she’d trained for years to get back up after a fall.
If only getting up wasn’t so hard to face this time.
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Just like Mom always said.
She squared her shoulders and removed an envelope from her handbag. “Like your receptionist said, I’m Cassie Parker—a new graduate student in the Health and Exercise Science program.” She unfolded the financial aid packet and slid the paperwork across the desktop.
She swallowed hard as he picked up the papers and read the first page. “You’re our newest academic adviser, since the guy we had lined up left with a family emergency.”
He flipped through the rest of the pages, snatched a pen from his holder, signed the last page with a flourish, and slid the papers back to her. Making the position official.
How can readers find you on the Internet?www.Twitter.com/CandeeFick
Thank you, Candee, for sharing this new book with us. I know my readers are eager to read it.
Readers, here are links to the book. By using one when you order, you help support this blog.
Catch of a Lifetime - paperback
Catch of a Lifetime: Can she forget the fumbles of her past and open her heart to love? - Kindle
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