Friday, March 22, 2013

Interview with the fabulous Candace Calvert!

I am ecstatic to have author Candace Calvert as my guest on the Alley today! Not only are her books some of my personal favorites, but she is just so sweet and lovable. Read a little further and you'll soon see why you absolutely must pick up one of her fabulous books STAT!

The lovely and uber-talented Candace Calvert....

Often called the author of "medical hope opera," Candace Calvert is an ER nurse who landed on the other side of the stethoscope after the equestrian accident that broke her neck and convinced her love, laughter--and faith--are the very best medicines of all.

Her popular medical drama series (Mercy Hospital and Grace Medical) offer readers a chance to "scrub in" on the exciting world of emergency medicine, along with charismatic characters, pulse-pounding action, tender romance, humor, suspense--and an encouraging prescription for hope. Think "Grey's Anatomy finds its soul"!

A native northern Californian, mother of two and proud grandmother to seven, Candace is a passionate "foodie," equally at home with a whisk in her hand as she is penning stories. Folks who follow her on Twitter and Facebook will find photo-embellished recipes, funny insights into the writing life, snippets of upcoming work, and a chance at book giveaways. Please visit her website at:

So Candace, what is your favorite thing about writing?

Oh, good question! Though for most writers it’s a bit like asking (smile), “What’s your favorite thing about breathing?”

We. Must. Write.

A dear friend sent me a card once, with a photo of an old typewriter and this quote by Anais Nin:

“We write to taste life twice.”

I know that’s true for me. If I visit an intriguing place, eat an amazing food, see a sunset, hear a unique sound, inhale a heady scent, sink my feet into warm sand, or touch a baby’s skin—I almost ache to re-create the experience with words, savor it all again. And then I long to share it with others. My feelings too: belly laughs, joy, heartbreak, passion, frustration, pain . . . and the incredible awe of feeling connected with our great God himself. I want to write it so my readers can feel it too. And be encouraged by that.
When it works, that’s my favorite thing about writing.

Tell me something about yourself that might surprise your readers. Good, bad, or quirky—we can take it J

(Laughing) Quirky is my middle name. But we’ll spell it with a C to make a perfect alliteration: Candace Cuirky Calvert.
-Chewing gum makes me feel claustrophobic.
-Intellectually, I’m awed by whales. Personally, I have a serious phobia about them. I think I may have been scarred by the movie Pinocchio.
-More seriously: In a former life, I was married to a police officer. I carried his gun in my purse when we went to the beach and he wanted to take his shirt off.  In my novel Code Triage, I wrote the happier ending to that ill-fated love story.

What has been your favorite story you’ve written so far?

That’s a hard question! Each story was personal in many ways—it’s like picking a favorite child.

I’d probably say it’s a tie between Code Triage and Trauma Plan. Both feature nurse-chaplain Riley Hale.  Her story (from injury to happiness) is one that speaks to me.

What character is most like you and why?

My DNA can likely be found in all of my heroines—and a few secondary characters. But I’d say I’m probably most like nurse Erin Quinn of Disaster Status. It took me a long time to stop trying to be a “strong woman,” and learn to become a “woman of strength.” The difference is faith.

What was the best book you’ve read in the last 12 months?

I’ve had the great privilege of having been (historical fiction author) Nancy Herriman’s critique partner for more than a decade. Mind you, I normally read contemporary fiction. But Nancy’s work is (for me) like overdosing on “Downton Abbey” with a chaser of pure poetry. Her imagery, dialogue, subtle humor, story “texture” amazes me. If I didn’t love her, I’d be pea-green with envy. 

Josiah’s Treasure is her latest. Loved it.

Do you miss nursing? Or do your medical dramas keep you feeling connected to the field?

When I hear sirens, part of me still wants to leap up and join in. When I remember how rugged the last few years in ER were (short staffing, high census, heightening acuity of cases), I’m grateful to hang up my scrubs. I do very much miss the camaraderie of the medical team and the beautiful moments of connection with patients, when “being there”  meant so very much. YES, writing medical fiction does mimic all the best things about being a nurse. The connection with fellow writers feels very much a “team,” and sharing a story with readers (all over the world!)—hearing how they are touched by my story—is much like those special moments with  my patients. A blessing, indeed.

What’s your favorite TV show?

I admit to having too many lately. Superb, tight writing is what grabs me most. Right now, it’s probably “Downton Abbey”, followed (so contemporarily) by “Castle,” “Rizzoli and Isles,” “The Good Wife,” and “Scandal.” British gentry, police procedurals, law and politics—how’s that for eclectic?

How much of what you’ve written in your books has happened to you in real life?

A fair amount. Right down to a marriage in jeopardy, sick horse, paralyzed arm, reconciliation with my father, and . . . skydiving. 13,000 feet.  Seriously. My life in fiction.

What’s next?

The third and final book in my Grace Medical series, (working title) First Responder, is scheduled for release in spring of 2014. I’m currently working on a proposal for another inspirational medical fiction series. Have stethoscope, will write.

Thank you, Amy, for letting me connect with your readers! An honor, indeed.

Didn't I tell you? Yep, she's amazing! 

Don't miss out on Candace's upcoming release Rescue Team! Due out in May and comes highly recommended by this Alley Cat!

 Your turn: What's your favorite Candace Calvert novel? 
-----Mine? Trauma Plan followed very closely by Disaster Status. 
But honestly, you really can't go wrong!



Sherrinda Ketchersid said...

Mmmmm, what a yummy cover! Goodness gracious! I have downloaded your first book to my kindle and it is in my TBR "pile"...close to the top, for sure!

Beth K. Vogt said...

I met Candace at ACFW last year and loved spending time with her -- so much so that she and I (and Carol) have a coffee date already set up for this year!
I'm reading her books in between deadlines and loving both the medical and emotional plot lines.
And chewing gum and claustrophobia...that's a new mix for me, Candace.

Karen @ a house full of sunshine said...

Great interview! Thanks Amy and Candace!

Amy Leigh Simpson said...

Oooo, yes! The cover is scrumptious, isn't it? Even better is that the cover model is a real life war hero back from Afghanistan. Swoon! Sherrinda girl, you've got some great reading to catch up on. :)

And Beth, watch out, it's very possible I will be crashing that coffee date in order to spend time with two of my very favorite people! Miss u!

Thanks Karen, dear!

Anonymous said...

I'm hanging my head as I whisper, "I haven't read any Candace Calvert yet!" Whew. It's out. But, now that I've said it, I'm going to find one of her books.

I met her very briefly at ACFW last year. She was very nice to this ACFW newbie. :) Candace, I loved reading your thoughts about writing, your life and your books. :) Thanks for sharing a bit of yourself here!

CandaceCalvert said...

Good morning, Amy, what a delight to be here! I so appreciate your kind invitation to mingle . . . and (LOL) let my hair down enough to be "quirky." This is fun!

Sherrinda: I'm honored to be on your TBR list--do let me know what you think of the story. Always great to have new readers "scrub in."

Karen: thank you for stopping by. Y'all are making me feel so welcome.

Jeanne: So many books, so little time--I totally understand. Hope we see each other again at conference this year.

Beth! YES, can't wait to chat again. No worries about me having a chewing gum panic attack . . . I try to maintain some sense of decorum at all times. If you bought that, then there's this bridge for sale . . .

Keli Gwyn said...

Love Candy. Love her books.

Warning to potential readers of Candace Calvert: Don't start one of her books late at night. I did once, and the story was so riveting I was still awake at 6 a.m. when I turned the last page, heaved a satisfied sigh, and said, "Now, that's how to write."

Wilma said...

I have to say I love all of Candace's books but since she is such a dear friend and was kind enough to put me in her book Trauma Plan that one will always be my favorite.

Having said that I will say the new one coming out in May is one of the best yet. You will not want to put it down.

Amy Leigh Simpson said...

So happy to have you as our guest, Candy! The chewing gum thing, I'll admit is your definite quirk! :) but as far as the whale fascination and fear... I'm soooo with you there. Pinocchio is scary! I'm pretty much awed and terrified of anything that lives in the ocean!

Amy Leigh Simpson said...

Keli, I couldn't agree more! I think I ignored my children for a whole day when I was devouring Trauma Plan. Sorry kiddos, too addicting to put down!

So glad you stopped by Wilma! Yes, this next release is sure to be a huge hit!

CandaceCalvert said...

Keli--thank you! I'm currently reading your debut, A Bride Opens Shop in ElDorado, California, and loving it. You and Nancy are going to make an historical romance reader of me yet. :-)

Wilma: Good to see you here. I loved having a reader "appear" in one of my stories--and you were such a good sport to accept my offer.

LOL, Amy. The chewing gum thing was a remark I made YEARS ago to my kids and they have never let me forget it! I've swum with stingrays, love snorkeling, but the big creatures . . . aagh, much better at a distance.

CandaceCalvert said...

Oh, I always forget to mention this nice little "gift" via my publisher: For Amazon Prime members, my entire 3-book Mercy Hospital series (Critical Care, Disaster Status, and Code Triage) are available FREE via the Kindle Lending Library. This is going to continue for two more years, I believe. How cool is that?

Amy Leigh Simpson said...

Okay, now I'm curious Wilma... who are you in Trauma Plan?

Very soon I will be immortalized as Rachel Hauck's muse for her heroine in Once Upon a Prince. Can't wait to see how I come across on paper, and how much of "me" is really in there :) What a thrill!

Jeanne T said...

Wow, Amy! That's an honor. :) Now I am even more excited to read it. :)

Amy Leigh Simpson said...

:) Me too, Jeanne!

Susan Anne Mason said...

Wonderful interview! I unfortunately have never read one of your books. Are they done in order and if so, which is the best one to start with?


Amy Leigh Simpson said...

Sue, so glad you stopped by! Both of Candace's series have independent story lines for each book so you can read one out of order and not be lost. Though there are some overlapping characters, just so you know! I would recommend starting with her last release Trauma Plan. It was phenomenal! Then you'll be ready for this next release coming out in May.

You can always go back and check out the first three books. They are equally fantastic!

After you've checked one out, let me (and Candace) know what you think :)

CandaceCalvert said...

Sue: I agree with Amy, and would love to have you as a reader. Thanks for stopping by to make me feel welcome. :-)

Pepper said...

Okay - now I HAVE to read Nancy Herriman
"overdose on Downton"
Where's the IV???

Candace, so VERY glad to have you here on the Alley. Sorry I'm just getting to visit today. Work - then we had some friends over for dinner. Now, there's a lull before I delve into my own Downton and try to pen 1K or more.

I love how you expressed the love of writing - living life twice...or three times...or.... ;-)

And I LOVE your quirky sense of humor! I think anyone who creates fictional worlds, with fictional characters, and sends them off on fictional explorations where they get hurt, survive, and even thrive HAS to be a little quirky, don't you think?

Thanks so much for sharing today. I like whales too - from a safe distance.
The whole Pinnochio and Jonah thing is clear warning.

Pepper said...

Btw, I've already told you this - but I LOVE the cover of your new book.
And I've already teased Amy about her hubby being the model for it - afternoon shadow and all ;-)

Debbie Stehlick said...

What a great interview. Looking forward to checking out some of your books:)

CandaceCalvert said...

Pepper! Great to "see" you here. And wise comments, from quirk to whale . . . to Amy's handsome hubby. I actually said the same thing about him regarding the Trauma Plan cover.

CandaceCalvert said...

Hi Debbie! Thank you--would love to have you "scrub in" with my hopeful medical drama.