Readers, Writers and Friends, I have a special treat! An almost Halloween treat, yummy like a rice krispy treat.
An interview with Candace Havens: Author, Editor, Journalist.
She has written for Harlequin, Berkley and Entangled Publishing. Candy has written biographies, paranormal romance, omance and anthologies. She is an Editor with Entangled Publishing. In addition, she is an Entertainment Journalist, reviews on radio and conducts workshops for aspiring writers.
Candy, how many books have you written and had published?
First, thanks for letting me hang out. And about 20 books so far.
Do you have a favorite?
That question is like asking someone if they have a favorite child. I’m working on the second book in the Take it Like a Vamp series, and I really love that world, so maybe. If you’re more into straight contemporary romances, Model Marine is my favorite Harlequin Blaze I’ve written.
I’m especially fond of the character Maisy in my steam punk series. I really want to write more of those.
With multiple jobs, including entertainment journalist and mom, how do you juggle all the responsibilities?
Honestly, some days I’m better at it than others. My children are grown, so that helps. But I work a lot of hours. There’s no other way to get it all done.
Have you had a favorite interview in your role as entertainment journalist?
I’ve been writing about television and film for a long, long time. Tom Hanks is a favorite. He never changes. He’s funny, charming and kind. You don’t always find that in Hollywood. And his wife Rita Wilson is an amazing human being. But I’ve talked to a lot of great folks through the years.
I know you write very quickly. How does that happen? Do you have a fully fleshed idea? Have you outlined the story? Or do you just sit down and write until your fingers fall off?
I just sit down and write until my fingers fall off. Once I get in the zone, sometimes I can’t type fast enough. I took two full years off from writing fiction to focus on editing. It’s been hard to get back in it, but last weekend I “accidentally” wrote 40 pages. I sometimes have a synopsis, a necessity to sell on proposal, but I’m definitely a pantser. I like to just sit down and write.
You give workshops and seminars, are often a guest speaker and share your knowledge with other writers and readers. What is the best piece of advice you can give to an aspiring author? What writing techniques and skills do recommend and teach?
Sit your butt in the chair and write. And then take as many classes as you can. Hone your craft. I’ve been writing fiction for 10 years now, and I still take classes. I learn new things all the time. I would hope that I get better with every book. Write and learn. It’s pretty simple.
Please tell me more about your workshops.
The online workshops are free and paid. (Some workshops you have to pay a fee, some are free.) The free one is The Write Workshop. I have more than 2000 students. And I bring in all kinds of instructors, authors, editors, agents to teach.
Then I also do paid classes. I teach Fast Draft/Revision Hell a great deal. That’s where I teach you to write a book in two weeks and polish it in two weeks.
See what I mean about a fast writer? Phew.
But I also teach a comprehensive class, that I’m going to do again next February. It’s six weeks of intense, crafting a story. From concept to revision.
Do you have a favorite author? A favorite book?
I have about 30 favorite authors Nora Roberts, Jodi Thomas, Jasper Fforde, Stephen King, Kim Harrison, J.K. Rowling and the list goes on and on and on. This will be posted and I’ll be like, “Dang, why didn’t I mention so and so?”
I love to read everything. Fiction and non-fiction, adult, YA, steam punk you name it. That’s also why I write in so many genres.
You have written some short stories with Shannon Leigh. How does writing with another person differ from being the sole author? What does Shannon bring to the story?
She’s an amazing writer and I like the way she sees the world. She’s technician, but she’s also great with emotion. And for me, it’s just fun seeing how someone else views the story. I can’t work with just anyone. We’ve known each other a long time, so that helps. I write some, she writes some and then we edit each other. It’s kind of magic.
What is your next book and when can we expect the release?
I’m working on Linc’s book from the Take It Like a Vamp series. We don’t have a title yet. If someone thinks of one, let me know. I also have a new Lovestruck series from Entangled and a Brazen I’m working on. Hopefully those will be out in 2015.
Tell me about Entangled Publishing and your role.
I’m an Editorial Director there. I bounce around a bit, and help where I’m needed. Right now I’m running our Covet (category paranormal romance) and Embrace (new adult) lines and helping out with Select Otherworld (single title paranormal romance).
So I have this extreme need to help people. It’s one of the reasons I started my free online writing workshop. With Entangled, I get to help make authors’ dreams come true every friggin’ day. It’s exhausting work, but it’s the most fun I’ve had in a really long time. I like the editing side of things. I can’t believe I’m saying that, because I hate doing revisions on my books.
But I can see the potential in books and I’ll do whatever it takes to help the author get it where it needs to be. Like with Shannon’s books, here’s an amazing author who had all but given up on the business. It took a bit of coercion and twisting of arms, for me to get her back into this. And the world would have missed out on some truly amazing stories. That would have been a terrible waste.
The worst part of the job for me, is having to reject stories. I know how hard it is to craft a story, so telling someone it isn’t quite right is tough for me. But I hope they take that information and make it even better, or find a home with an editor who loves them just the way they are. (Smile)
Is there anything else you would like to share?
To authors everywhere, be kind to one another. Our business is changing faster than any of us could have imagined. Lift each other up, help each other out. It may sound PollyAnna-ish, but my life has been filled great mentors and friends, people who have been there every step of the way and helped my career along. So do that for others, please. Be there for your friends. Encourage their success. Be kind.
A big thank you to Candy for taking time to share with us.
My review (and the only Amazon review posted) of Dreams & Desires: A Collection of Romance Tales, Vol. 2 focused on Shannon’s first published work of fiction. Though Candace Havens and many others contributed.
Under The Tupelo by Shannon Canard is compelling. Rowan Summerall, a treasure hunter seeking to save her family legacy, unearths something unexpected. What will Rowan do with what she finds buried Under The Tupelo? Canard has a strong voice and a surprise gift for readers. I want more.