Today I bring Candace Havens to my blog world to pick her mind about writing, and to learn pointers on how she does so much so successfully!
Candy, welcome! Let's begin with the good old fashioned question: How did you get started down this path?
I'd been an entertainment journalist for almost 20 years, but I'd always wanted to write a book. About 8 years go, a publisher contacted me about writing a biography on Joss Whedon. I'd never done anything like that, but when "Joss Whedon: The Genius Behind Buffy" was done I had confidence that at least I could write a book. A friend suggested I try writing fiction, and I've never looked back.
What or who do you draw your inspiration from?
Inspiration comes from everywhere for me. Music, art, conversations I overhear, people I meet. Lately, my dreams have given me some of my best book ideas. I wake up and I have to write everything down as fast as possible so I don't lose it.
Did you, or do you still, have a mentor?
I had several mentors when I began this journey. Jodi Thomas, Jennifer Archer, the late Ronda Thompson. They encouraged me from the beginning and helped me along. I was also lucky to have some amazing writer friends like Gena Showalter, Britta Coleman, Rosemary Clement Moore and Shannon Canard. They are all the reason I created the Write Workshop where people could take free classes and get advice about the craft.
Do you have a favorite author or book? What makes them/it stand out among all others for you?
There are too many to name. But some of my earlier influences with my own style of writing were Nora Roberts, Janet Evanovich and Laurell K. Hamilton. Nora for the characters, Janet for the humor, and Laurell for the magic.
You are one of the most positive, motivational speakers I know. Any words of wisdom to us aspiring authors?
Sit down and write. Learn your craft, and keep going. Rejection is a part of this business, and I wish I could be a grownup and tell you I handle it well. I don't. But I have learned to get over it by always moving on to the next project. If you're serious about making it in this business you have to treat it like a job, rather than a hobby. You have to invest in your education and network. Go to conferences and meet other writers, editors and agents in a social environment.
A little birdie told me you're writing something a little different for the next round. Care to share anything on it?
I just turned in my first Harlequin Blaze. It's more romantic and a little sexier than what I've done in the past. I'm really excited about it.
Now, I'm not sure that I even know everything you do along with writing fantastic books. So, please, give my readers a little taste of "Candy's Life".
I'm still a columnist who writes four columns a week about television for a syndicate. My stuff goes to about 600 newspapers. I do film reviews for 96.3 KSCS, and I write books, Charmed & Dangerous, Charmed & Ready, Charmed & Deadly, Like A Charm, The Demon King and I, and the upcoming Dragons Prefer Blondes (July 7, 2009). I just signed a deal with Harlequin Blaze to write for them, and the first book will come out in Feb. 2010. Oh, and I'm the mom of two boys, and the wife of a mostly understanding husband.
The question on every ones mind: How do you do it all? Especially without losing your sanity? Ever afraid you'll just crack one day?
I have cracked and will in the future. I've been doing the columns and the mom thing for a while, so I sort of have that down to a science. I stay on top of the writing by giving myself deadlines for certain projects. I don't sleep much, but I figure there's time for that later.
Out of all the things you do, is there one you enjoy the most, and if so, why?
Hmmmm. I should say being a mother. But the truth is I love writing fiction. Delving into these new worlds and discovering them -- well, there's nothing better.
Your online writing workshop (which by the way, people, IS FREE) is chalked full of great information, exercises, and people. Can you give us a little information for those who might not be aware of what it involves and how fun it is?
I teach classes and I bring in other writers, agents and editors to share their knowledge. There's a class loop where we post the notes, and a separate loop where people can ask questions and post homework. It's a great resource for new writers as well as experienced ones.
Thanks to the day job, I've had a lot of chances to interview him. I've been to all his sets. The actual writing of it was insane because I had a three month deadline and it was my very first book. But it was a fun experience.
What was your experience like when querying your first project? I ask, because as an aspiring writer (and having other friends who are) I know this is a story we all love to read about. These stories are always encouraging!
I met my first agent at a conference in Austin, Texas. Jodi Thomas introduced us, and I had a meeting with the agent the next day. I was so nervous and at the meeting I did everything wrong. I stumbled over my words, talked too much, but I did remember the one line my friend Shannon had given me for my book. It's Buffy meets James Bond. When I said that her eyes popped up and she asked to see the whole thing of the Book that became Charmed & Dangerous. A month later she became my agent. Then we went through some revisions, and the book sold a few months later. I met my second agent at a writer's retreat. We were friends for a long time before the agent thing happened, but she's the perfect fit for me.
And lastly, my random question: Open or close toed shoes?
Always closed as a general rule. I like my toes, but their are some people who shouldn't even look at sandals. Gross toes skivvie me out. Though in the summer I'm a big fan of flip flops in every style and color.
Candy, thank you so very much for stopping by. Everyone needs to go pick up her latest publication, The Demon King & I, or any of her Charmed books, and be ready for her next book of world-saving chicks, Dragons Prefer Blondes, out July 7, 2009.