I don’t know about you guys, but I’m a big fan of the TV show “Grey’s Anatomy”. If you’re like me and you also enjoy that show, then you’re really going to want to buy Candace’s book Critical Care when it comes out. Before I get ahead of myself, let me first introduce my guest.
Candace Calvert is an ER nurse who landed on the “other side of the stethoscope” after breaking her neck in an equestrian accident that convinced her that love, laughter–and faith–are the very best medicines of all. A multi-published author of humorous mysteries, she begins an exciting new direction with the debut of her novel Critical Care. Her medical drama series offers 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 a soul soothing prescription for hope.
Wow, I’m excited already and we haven’t even gotten started. First, can you tell us what your book is about, and when it will be released?
After her brother dies in a trauma room, nurse Claire Avery can no longer face the ER. She’s determined to make a fresh start–new hospital, new career in nursing education–move forward, no turning back. But her plans fall apart when she’s called to offer stress counseling for medical staff after a heartbreaking day-care center explosion. Worse, she’s forced back to the ER, where she clashes with Logan Caldwell, a doctor who believes touchy-feely counseling is a waste of time. He demands his staff be as tough as he is. Yet he finds himself drawn to this nurse educator . . . who just might teach him the true meaning of healing.
Critical Care is scheduled for release June 1st—it feels a bit like waiting for a baby’s due date! Without the stretch marks and food cravings . . . okay, maybe the occasional chocolate. Purely medicinal.
I can only imagine all of the research that must have gone into writing this pulse-quickening medical drama. Tell us about your experiences while doing research for your novel.
The book research, frankly, was anticlimactic. Those adrenalin-infused moments came during my three decades of working as an ER nurse. Beginning in rural Oregon in the days of starched dresses, white stockings and caps (finally took mine off after yet another child called it a pirate hat), and when ambulances were retro-fitted Cadillacs driven by local funeral homes. I continued that ER thrill ride in northern California as a charge nurse, mobile intensive care nurse, and (like my book’s heroine Claire Avery) a peer counselor for Critical Incident Stress. There were scary times, painful heartbreaks, long and exhausting hours, Christmases spent pumping stomachs . . . warm camaraderie, moments of joy, prayers, and plenty of great stress-busting belly laughs. In the Mercy Hospital series, I attempt to let readers “scrub in” on it all.
When did you know that you wanted to be a writer?
I wrote in journals as far back as I can recall, and was one of those obnoxious students who looked at an essay assignment as a reward.
I dabbled in correspondence writing classes during my years in the ER. But it wasn’t until my inspirational story, “By Accident,” was published in Chicken Soup for the Nurse’s Soul, that I started to think seriously about writing for publication. The book made the New York Times’ list and (as one of 101 story contributors) I was suddenly “almost 1% of a best selling author!” Heady stuff, trust me.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers who are hoping to be published one day?
The same advice you’ll hear most often:
1) Write the best story you possibly can. Which means studying structure, setting daily writing goals, sharing work with fellow writers who have similar goals and experience (or, better, are one step ahead). Write and rewrite, even when you don’t feel like it.
2) Network with other writers/authors/industry professionals via loops and conferences to learn “the ropes.”
3) Learn to take constructive suggestions graciously from critique partners, contest judges, agents, and editors. But make changes only when they seem truly valid (for instance if several people point out a particular weakness). Remember that a writing “voice” is unique ( your finest asset) and making changes willy nilly to please people, is the best way to lose it.
4) Read voraciously. Learn what works in a story, what doesn’t, and why. Analyze your favorite book, scene by scene.
5) Take rejections on the chin (I got 99 before I found my agent) and keep trying. Persistence is as important as talent. Maybe more important. Let your fellow writers encourage you and console you, and do the same for them.
6) Most important of all: enjoy the journey. You’ll meet people, experience a roller coaster of emotions, spend your grocery money on postage . . . and you’ll have the incredible thrill of using the gift you’ve been given by God. Published or not, you’re a writer and that alone is awesome. When (not if) you’re finally published, the clocks will start moving at light speed and you’ll scramble to make deadlines, do marketing, meet obligations, and accomplish all the rest of the busywork that comes with this crazy business. Savor the journey right now.
In keeping with the humorous theme of this blog, I have one final question for you. What’s your favorite comedy movie or movies?
I’m nuts about romantic comedy, and it’s hard to choose. I love old classics, especially with Cary Grant and Katherine Hepburn, like The Philadelphia Story, and Bringing Up Baby. I love older contemporaries like Goldie Hawn and Chevy Chase in Foul Play, and others like Sweet Home Alabama, Notting Hill, and Four Weddings and a Funeral. And, especially, that great old movie, “American Dreamer,” about an aspiring romance writer who wins a contest, flies to Paris, gets a concussion and wakes up believing that she actually is her (wildly adventurous) heroine. Fabulous fun!
I’ll stop now. But you’ve made me crave Diet Dr. Pepper and popcorn.
Thank you, Sharon, for this opportunity. I’ve enjoyed it.
Now for the big contest! Each comment that you leave with the accurate name of one of the characters on Grey’s Anatomy will afford you one entry in the drawing. There are no limits on how many entries you may have. The winner’s name will be announced on Friday May 15th so you have until midnight Thursday the 14th to post your final comment. Let the games begin…