Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Words with... Candy-Ann Little

Thanks to Candy-Ann Little for this interview 

How long have you been writing?

The seed was planted 14 years ago. I had a stillborn daughter and the nurse suggested I keep a dairy to help cope with the grieving process. I have to admit I thought it was a dumb idea at the time. I had never kept a diary, even as a teen. But I did it, and found it very healing and freeing. After two years I wanted to write about my experience, but wasn't ready for a non-fiction book. So I turned to my favourite genre, romance, and plotted out a fictional account of the pain. So, technically, I’ve only been writing novels for 12 years.

Do you have a day job or do you write for a living?

I’m a substitute for paraprofessionals and teacher assistants in the public schools. I mostly work with kids who have autism and learning disabilities. 

What do you feel is the ideal recipe for a good novel/story/poem?

I think, in both stories and poems, you have to capture the emotions. For a story you have create a realistic setting and have well-rounded characters that deliver the emotion. That means you have to research to make it believable. I know that fiction implies the story is “made up”, but you must have it grounded in truth or the reader won’t believe what you are telling them. If the reader doesn’t believe they will stop reading.

What/who inspired you to write and still inspires you?

I grew up reading historical romances by Kathleen E. Woodiwiss. I loved how she wove a tale of romance with a splash of suspense. Her words drew me into the past, teaching me more than history class. I guess, teaching more than sex ed too! So, when I started writing, my first instinct was to do a historical, but I didn’t want to do all the research involved. I had recently read a book entitled A Wedding for Maggie by Allison Leigh. The character was having a hard pregnancy and had already miscarried. I identified with her and understood those feelings. So, I decided to write a contemporary romance. And my first novel was born! I contribute my writing to both of these ladies.

What books have you written? Do you stick to one genre?

I wrote a contemporary romance, Unforgiving Ghosts. My historical, The Unwilling Bride. I also wrote a mystery/romance novella in 2008 that was part of an anthology my writing group self-published, Death by Broken Heart. This novella has recently been picked up by Novel Concept Publishing. I also finished Murder of an Oil Heiress. I also have YA novel that I’ve been working on for a couple of years. Not sure if it’s ever going to get done! So, no, I don’t stick to one genre.

How long did it take you to write your book/s?

Unforgiving Ghosts and The Unwilling Bride took me 2 years. The novella Death by Broken Heart and Murder of an Oil Heiress took me a year.

Do you have any works in progress?

Yes, Shattered is another contemporary romance. It was actually my second novel, but I got the idea for Unwilling Bride and stopped working on it. Then several more ideas came along and I never did get back to Shattered. I have been trying to finish it, but when I sit down to write the characters aren’t speaking loud enough. Other authors told me to move on until they are speaking louder, so I did. I started the sequel to my novella Death by Broken Heart. I am still working on the YA novel too. 

Which character from your books do you like most / are most like?

Megan Black is most like me in the aspect that I based my feelings and emotions of losing my daughter into her character. But my favourite character is Caitlin from Unwilling Bride. She is my Scarlett O’Hara. She’s sassy, hates to follow rules, and doesn’t bend to what society wants or says. She was a very fun character to write.

Where and when do you write ­ – do you have set times during which you write or is it just when the mood takes you?

My favourite time to write is late in the evening into early morning. However, since I don't have a writing schedule I pretty much write whenever I have a chance.

Have you ever based a character on someone from real life? Has the person guessed?

I did base a character in my first novel on my husband, but he has never read it. However, my mother-in-law read it and asked if it was Lee! 

How do you find the marketing experience? Any advice for other writers? Do you use a blog or twitter, etc

I actually like the marketing and promoting. Since this is my first book I don’t really have any advice as I’m still learning. Well, I guess my advice for marketing is to join and be active in the book groups. I have joined several groups on Facebook and have made lots of new friends. I’m learning so much from other authors who are more experienced and know what they are doing. These authors could keep their secrets to themselves, but instead share their information with everyone. I’m sometimes overwhelmed at their generosity. I have got so many new leads on reviews and ideas on marketing since I joined these groups. Right now I’m a sponge soaking up all the info I can.

Some of your fave things... Animal? Food? Drink? Film? Colour? Band? Song? Place to chill out?

Cats and dogs. I'm not very picky - I like most foods as long as mushrooms aren't on it. I love non-alcoholic, fruity drinks like pina colada & strawberry daiquiri. I like love stories and romantic comedies. Green. I don't really have a favourite band or song, and I don't get a chance to chill out.

Which book do you wish you had written?

Anything by Kathleen E Woodiwiss.

What other hobbies/interests do you have or has writing taken over?

I love to cook and bake. I also do crafts like cards and scrapbooking, flower arrangements, etc. I have given up some of the crafts for writing. 

What would you like to achieve in the next five years?

I want to format and get my other novels up for sale, finish my novels that are half-done and focus on my publishing company. Within 5 years I'd like to start accepting other people's manuscripts.

If you won the Lotto, what would you do with all it?

I would start an orphanage in Africa. I'd donate to charities here in the US. I'd also have the money I need to start my publishing business. It would be nice to have the house paid off, so my husband could quit his job and have the funds to pay for my kids' college. Boy, I'd have to win an awful lot!!

And now for the creative bit. Please complete this story in 100 words or less…

"There was a young frog called Kipper…"
He got stuck on the boat with the Skipper.
They found a dolphin with a wounded flipper,
He’d gotten pinched by a lobster’s nipper.
The Skipper gave the dolphin some whiskey in a sipper.
Poor Kipper had to drink his from a wooden dipper.
Soon they were all feeling rather chipper!

Lastly, what question do you wish I'd asked and, of course, what is the answer?

I believe you did a very good job of asking questions. I can't think of anything else!

Here are the sites that my book can be purchased at:

Twitter: @candyannlittle


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