Candace Calvert's Writing Bio:
Her popular medical drama series (Mercy Hospital, Grace Medical and Crisis Team) 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 eight, 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: www.candacecalvert.com.
Let's get the interview started:
1. Maybe It’s You is the third installment in your latest trilogy, the Crisis Team series. What is the background on this series?
The Crisis Team series features the selfless and compassionate work of volunteer community chaplains—true heroes, in my opinion. The stories are set in my native California, this one in the “City of Angels,” Los Angeles.
2. How do you expect this series to resonate with your audience? What are you most excited for your readers to experience through reading these novels?
I love that my readers agree crisis responders are very special heroes. Because these selfless men and women are volunteers, it’s fun to show how their day jobs differ from what they encounter when they pull on those volunteer jackets. The hero of Maybe It’s You is the hospital’s public relations guy: coat, tie, media
-speak, very different. As with all of my series, the Crisis Team stories are hospital based. Readers will feel as if they’ve been dropped into the adrenaline
-infused action of the ER, experience team camaraderie, taste that day-old coffee—and glimpse the good hearts behind the stethoscopes and badges.
3. Crisis teams are becoming increasingly vital and active in the world today. How would you describe their role, and how can we learn more?
Crisis responders are trained to assist survivors of tragedy, whether it be from a major disaster (weather-related catastrophes, fires, bombings, mass shootings, etc.) or of a more personal nature like the sudden death of a loved one from a heart attack, accident, suicide, homicide, sudden infant death, or other unexpected cause. These volunteers work alongside other community service personnel (fire, police, rescue) offering support, a compassionate ear, and resources to folks trying to cope in the wake of an incident that will
forever change their lives. In creating my stories, I’m grateful for the assistance of U.S.Crisis Care.
4. As a former ER nurse who has had crisis chaplain training, what has been your most rewarding or memorable experience in the field?
In my role as a CISM (Critical Incident Stress Management) peer counselor, I was part of a team that ministered to fellow medical team members affected by work-related tragedy. We responded to (and conducted debriefings for) hospital staff after situations involving infant and child death, mass casualties, personal assault, and accidental death (or suicide) of fellow team members. One of the more heartbreaking situations I dealt with involved a hospital ER team caring for a critically injured youngster—who was the child of their favorite trauma surgeon.
5. What was your inspiration for Maybe It’s You and the main characters, Sloane and Micah?
Interestingly, I never intended to feature Sloane Ferrell as the heroine of
Maybe It’s You. In Step by Step, she is the nemesis teammate to the story’s heroine. She’s cynical, troubled, and dare we say unlikable? Probably. And rather mysterious, too—for very good reason. As an author, crawling inside Sloane’s head was a challenge. It raised more questions than answers. I suddenly needed to know why she was the way she was. And what it might take
to change that. As this third story opens, Sloane has a new name, new zip code, new job, and a life-and-death need to keep a low profile. But the opening scene puts our reluctant heroine in the media spotlight and at serious odds with Micah Prescott, the hospital’s equally determined PR man.
6. What lessons or truths will your readers find in the pages of this novel?
The unifying message in Maybe It’s You is one of forgiveness and healing, brokenness and worth—that no matter our mistakes, we are loved by God. Saved by grace.
7. As an author, what did you particularly enjoy about crafting this story?
I have been known to randomly invite readers into my stories—as characters. It was especially fun, this time, to feature the husband of one of my readers as hospital worker/handyman Jerry Rhodes; from what I’d learned of him on Facebook, he seemed a perfect match. My reader and I had a great time getting the details right, and in the end, I also “borrowed” her adorable doxies, Gibbs & McGee, her dear, elderly mama—and then I invited this generous reader to make a cameo appearance of her own. I think you’ll agree they were a great addition to the story.
8. What are some of the unique challenges of writing contemporary romance in a medical setting?
I think the challenge of the medical aspect is to provide realistic (and accurate) medical detail without talking over the heads of readers, but not talking down to them either. Because of the popularity of medical TV drama and the opportunity for people to google their way into medical jargon, symptomology, and treatment adjuncts, readers are far more savvy these days. I try my best to sort of parachute my readers into the medical scenes, allowing them to feel as if they are part of the team. As far as the romance aspect goes, while it’s true
that teammates working in life-and-death situations often develop strong (and sometimes romantic) bonds, I can guarantee there are no TV-type trysts going on in hospital storage rooms!
9.Have you received any feedback from your fans on the Crisis Team series? How are they responding?
The response (I’m grateful) has been very positive; readers love these compassionate crisis responders. And of course, I’m so honored that
chose this series’ first story, By Your Side, as a Top 10 Inspirational Book of 2015.
10.What is the best advice or encouragement you have received either personally or professionally?
I often receive e-mails (and even handwritten letters) from my readers. They are always a blessing. One that particularly stands out was a note from a young woman after her Alabama town was devastated by a tornado. She wrote from a shelter, exhausted, after finally getting her child to sleep. She’d picked up
one of my books for a few moments of escape—and found unexpected comfort, hope. Her words, in part: “During this time of chaos and confusion. Thank you for providing shelter in my storm.” No better encouragement for any author.
11.What are you most proud of in your writing career?
I feel really good that I’m a trailblazer when it comes to medical romance in Christian fiction—I love being called the author of “medical hope opera.” That my long years as a nurse are now the basis for stories that touch readers’ hearts, offer hope, and perhaps even healing, seems so right, God’s plan, for sure. I’m definitely proud of my publishing team—Tyndale House is beyond awesome.
Thank you for stopping by today, Candace!
Don't forget to pick up Maybe It's You and the first two installments in the series, By Your Side and Step by Step.