Meet Writer Candi Wall

Candi Wall writes contemporary and historical romance. Her name might be familiar to you if you visit her successful group blog, MuseTracks, or if you’ve been following Dorchester/Text Novels Next Big Celler contest in which Candi is one of the entrants still in the running with her stories, Stay, What She Was Missing and Primitive Nights.

Candi was born on the beautiful island of Oahu to military parents. Her family began moving when she was six months old and changed locations just about every three years, giving Candi some wonderful experiences in a variety of places. She became a mother at nineteen, moved to the beautiful coast of Maine and has lived there ever since with her “incredible” husband, four children and a menagerie of pets including two dogs, two cats, two Degus and numerous “temporary” animals she brings home.

Leaving an Ed Tech position behind after the birth of her fourth child, Candi became a fulltime mom who ran a glass etching business from her home. Last year she closed up shop, took a job as an Animal Control officer (a job that grew to include four towns) and began writing seriously. When not crafting her stories or dealing with domestic and wild animals or her sometimes wild and wonderful offspring, Candi enjoys softball, volleyball and reading.

Join me as we learn about more about Candi and her writing.

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Candi Wall

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Candi’s Journey Begins

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•You went through a major transition last year when you closed your home-based business, took a new position and began writing. What led you to make such a big change and follow your dream?

While so many people have dreams that they wish to accomplish, life often takes over, and those dreams get set aside. Being a mother and wife will always come first (that is my ultimate happiness), but after years of writing for myself, a pleasant way to pass my time, something just for me, I decided that it was time to go after that old dream.

I had a lot to learn. Imagine my surprise when I realized there was much more to publishing than writing the story and sending it in. After that rude awakening, and some gentle support from my family, I began researching the craft of writing.

When I look back now, I’m extremely happy to say I feel confident that I will accomplish the dream that I’d let simmer on the back burner of my mind for sixteen years.

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•You completed several manuscripts in just nine months. Which came first? How long had you nursed the idea, and what was the inspiration for the story?

I think I’d have to say the first completed novel was a Historical western romance titled A Chance of Love. It was the first in my three book “Chance” trilogy.

These characters had lived in my mind for years and years… I pretty much wrote all three novels simultaneously. Those cowboys don’t like to wait. I love cowboys. Everything about them screams hero to me, and the women who loved them were always strong both in mind and spirit.

Unfortunately, I wrote these before I learned, and they currently live in a little box under my bed. But someday, when other characters quiet down, I’ll take the “Chance” boys out again and see what I can do to fix their stories for them.

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•You’ve written both contemporary and historical romance? What is it you like about each, and are you partial to one over the other?

This is a tough one to answer. I love both. Actually, I love any genre. I love to read and write. Nothing is sacred, nothing is out of bounds.

Contemporary is so realistic. It’s like real-time television. The issues we face in our everyday world are what these stories are made of. I love the way I feel when I read a contemporary novel. It weaves a sense of hope in this ever changing, difficult world. These stories tend to reinforce the old saying that love can conquer all.

But if I had to pin down my favorite, it would have to be historical. The romance of the past cannot be denied. It takes you away to another world where men were dashing, women were strong in will but dainty in presence. I love a good rogue, who has a heart we only get to see as the story unfolds.

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Candi’s Contest Highs

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•You entered, finaled and placed in a number of contests. Which was the first, and how did you react to the exciting news from the contest coordinator?

My historical novel Imposed Passion finaled in the Golden Gateway in 2008. It was my first contest entry ever.

I never expected to final. I’d entered really, just to get some feedback, and see where my strengths and weaknesses were.

When I opened the e-mail and “Congratulations” was the first word I saw, I sat back in my chair and tried to control my shaking hands. I didn’t look further into the e-mail until several minutes had passed. I was sure I’d read it wrong.

But I hadn’t. I was a finalist! I shot an e-mail off to my writing partners then called my husband. He teases me now-a-days, saying that by the way I screeched in to the phone that day, he’d thought I’d sold the book. He’s decided he’ll be absent when/if I get The Call. He likes his eardrums intact.

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•And then came The Next Big Celler. Since not everyone is familiar with Dorchester/Text Novels’ contest, please tell us how it works.

It’s pretty simple, though the actual first few chapters can be somewhat – daunting.

Contestants have to enter twenty “chapters” or six thousand words by November 1, 2009. The “chapters” should be short, around five hundred words, so that the novel is read in serialized fashion.

The top twenty entries with the highest votes will become finalists. After that, Dorchester and Textnovel editors will whittle the number down to ten, out of which a winner will be chosen.

Simple right? Sure. Ever broken down your novel into 500 word increments? Talk about making sure every word counts! It’s a great way to edit though…

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•Congratulations on making it so far, Candi. I know your visitors join me in wishing you the best. This process has to be interesting. What have you learned about yourself and your writing through the experience?

It’s a very interesting process, but I think the most important thing I’ve learned is that writing – in this day and age – is NOT a solitary adventure.

I’m an introvert in “real life.” I like to stay quiet. I have few friends that I let loose with, and it works well since my hubby is the polar opposite. He talks enough for both of us.

Entering TextNovel’s N.B.C. contest has made me step outside my comfort zone. And amazingly – I love it. I’ve met and made some new friends, learned a lot about promotion and read some really great writing.

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Partners on Candi’s Journey

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•You’re a member of Romance Writers of America®, which many romance writers are. However, you’re also a member of Charlotte Dillon’s Romance Writers’ Community. Since I wasn’t familiar with this group and others may not be, please tell us about RWC, how it differs from RWA® and the benefits you receive from your membership.

Charlotte Dillon’s groups are amazing.

She has:

RWCCritique – A critique group with strict rules that offer writers a safe, helpful critique of their work.

RWCPrompt – A weekly writing prompt that focuses not on the technical portion of writing, but just getting you to write. I use this to get my muse going when I hit a stall.

RWCList – This might be her most helpful group. The members of this group include every level of author, publishers, editors and agents. You can post questions and are sure to receive numerous responses.

Not only do I feel I owe Charlotte’s groups a lot for helping me learn about the writing industry, it’s also where I found my three wonderful writing partners, Marie-Claude Bourque, Jenn Bray-Weber, and John Roundtree.

I would suggest to any writer, at any level, that Charlotte’s groups are a wonderful addition to their contacts.

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•You’re one of four writers who formed the popular blog Musetracks. How did you come together?

Well, I wasn’t kidding when I said we met on RWCCritique. We were heavily into critiquing each other’s novels and a friendship blossomed. When we started looking for critique partners, it seemed the easy choice was to contact one another.

From there we gathered our considerable research, ideas, love of writing and branched out. One of the key components we all found similar was the desire to give back to others as Charlotte’s group had done for us.

That’s when the blog came into play. We had a lot to offer, and what better way to chronicle our journey to publication? We are still astounded by the blog’s popularity and are constantly coming up with new ways to help, inform, and get to know other writing professionals.

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Candi in Cyberspace

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•When and where did the idea for the Musetracks come into being? What can a visitor to the site expect to find?

The idea for MuseTracks happened about a year ago and we just ran with it.

We post sporadically, about anything and everything we’ve learned, seen, heard or just find interesting.

There are interviews, fun/embarrassing stories (none of us have any shame), contests and pictures/journals of conferences and sales.

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•One of your valuable contributions to MuseTracks is your monthly Agent Shop. Please tell us what this is about and how we can participate.

This is one our most popular events.

With good reason. We’re all looking for a way to get our work in front of agents.

Spinning off of an idea from literary agent Scott Eagan, “Agent Shop” offers an online pitch session. We host agents who come to view pitches with a two hundred word maximum, but only the first thirty “viable” pitches are taken. Viable meaning they fall “within the rules.”

It’s a great way to help out other authors, and the agents that have attended so far have responded with high marks for what we offer.

I have to say the number of requests still astounds me compared to the numbers listed on most agent websites.

You can stop by the MuseTracks blog and click the Agent Shop tab to read complete rules, dates, and the agents attending.

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Candi’s Journey Continues

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You’ve been focused on The Next Big Celler contest. What are your plans once that ends? Do you have another story begging to be told?

ALWAYS. My writing partners joke they can’t keep up. I pump out novels like mad. It’s the editing that gets me every time.

How can I edit when another story is ready to be told?

TextNovel has slowed me down a bit. But it’s actually a really good thing. It’s taught me to take some time and really gloss over what I write. The other stories can wait. They’ll be there…

Most days I listen to that TextNovel voice. But I do have a HUGE notebook filled with basic outlines for stories that just pop into my head.

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Five Fun Facts About Candi, the Writer

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~ I write completely passive for the first draft.

~ Most if my ideas begin on Dunkin Donuts or McDonalds napkins.

~ My cat often adds words to my novel when I’ve been at the keyboard too long.

~ I’ve written a steamy scene at a school while I sat on the bleachers between my sons wrestling matches.

~ I CAN’T SPELL to save my life.

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Five Fun Facts About Candi, the Person

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~ I once swerved off the road and nearly totaled my car to avoid killing a chipmunk.

~ I played softball in East Berlin just before the Berlin wall was torn down.

~ My mother has aged so gracefully we’re mistaken for sisters often. Argh!

~ From birth to nineteen, I attended seven different schools and lived in nine different locations.

~ I am hopelessly addicted to cheesecake.

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Candi’s Question for You

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•I’ve enjoyed having you as my guest, Candi. Thanks for your great answers to my questions. Now it’s your turn to ask a question of your visitors, so have at it.

This is simple. If you had to create a hero that could come to life, what “attributes” would he have, and what would his imperfection be?

I love heroes and I’m always intrigued by how different writers “see” their character as a real man.

Thanks so much for having me!

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Learn More About Candi

Website ~ www.candiwall.com

Visit her group blog ~  Musetracks

Visit her profile on TextNovel

Friend her on Facebook ~ Candi Wall

Follow her on Twitter ~ STAYNOVEL and  candiwall

Friend her on MySpace ~ Candi Wall (Candi)

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Leave a Comment for Two Chances to Win

To leave a comment, click on “Comments” below the date in the title at the top of the post.

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My Regular Drawing

My next drawing will take place October 20th. I’m giving away an etched steel magnet with the word Dream scroll cut from the center of the oval disc.

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Dream magnet

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To enter the drawing, just leave a comment on any blog post by October 20th and enter your email address when prompted. (I don’t share your information or add it to any mailing lists.) On October 21st, I’ll post the winner’s name in the Welcome post at the top of the blog.

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You could also win a First Sale Scrapbook

If you’d like to have a chance at winning a First Sale Scrapbook created by me, your blog hostess Keli Gwyn, leave a comment on any post between now and October 31st. Be sure to include your name and email address when prompted if you want to be entered in the drawing. (Your information will not be shared.) Click red link above to see samples of covers and pages.

On November 1st, I will choose one person who will have her/his choice of covers on an 8×8 inch, twenty-page scrapbook in which s/he can document that long-awaited first sale. The pages will cover various milestones including The Call, signing the contract, receiving the first advance payment and holding your debut novel in your hands.

(No scrapbooking skills required. You just add your photos and journaling.)

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About Keli Gwyn

I'm an award-winning author of inspirational historical romance smitten with the Victorian Era. I'm currently writing for Harlequin's Love Inspired Historical line of wholesome, faith-filled romances. My debut novel, A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California, was released July 1, 2012. I'm represented by Rachelle Gardner of Book & Such Literary. I live in a Gold Rush-era town at the foot of the majestic Sierras. My favorite places to visit are my fictional worlds, other Gold Country towns and historical museums. When I'm not writing I enjoy taking walks, working out at Curves™ and reading.
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12 Responses to Meet Writer Candi Wall

  1. Keli Gwyn says:

    Welcome, Candi! It’s great to have you as my guest.

    All of my heroes have a bit of my husband in them because he embodies the very things I look for in a man. He’s kind, thoughtful, supportive, bright, witty, hardworking, fair. And that’s the short list. He brings out the best in me, and that’s what I think makes him the perfect man for me.

    I strive to create just such a man for each of my heroines. Since they aren’t all like me, their men vary, of course, but each one of them treats his special woman with the respect she deserves and sees her value even when others may not. And if that sounds mushy, it’s because I’m a total romantic. 🙂

  2. John Roundtree says:

    Ooh, Candi! Just learned something new about you. So glad you professed your spelling-impairment. Let me join with you…

    My name is John … And I cannot spell!

    Honestly, if not for MS Word, I’d be too embarrassed to write for chance of exposing my disability. Too cumbersome to pull out a dictionary and look up the difference between heroine and heroin. But really, what’s the difference? Both are often taken for pleasure or escape of fancy, with extensive use leading to addiction.

    –John

  3. Anne Barton says:

    Hi Candi — congrats on your success in the Next Big Cellar contest. I hadn’t heard of it before, but it sounds fun . . . and challenging! Good luck with it.

    Let’s see, I like all different kinds of heroes, but my favorite it the strong, silent, and sometimes tortured type of hero. Does he have to *have* an imperfection? 😉

    Great interview, Keli!

  4. Quilt Lady says:

    Hi Candi, congrats on your contest! I love all my heros to have flaws, so most work for me. I am big into the historicals though but read a little of everything. I kind of like the tortured hero or ones that have other problems. I really like a mixture. Ones with humor, strong, loving and caring sort of hero.

  5. Linda Henderson says:

    I always like my heroes to be a little flawed. It makes them much more interesting. Of course I want them to be strong, compassionate, smart, funny and nice to look at. Maybe they are tortured from a bad childhood, their first love was murdered, anyway it gives them something to be conflicted about.

  6. Candi Wall says:

    Hi Keli,

    So sorry I couldn’t be here on time! My son shipped out yesterday for Basic Training and my computer which has been giving me isuues, decided to stop working – completely.

    Thank you so much for having me, and I love that you say your hero ‘sees her value’. That tells so much about the women you wrkte as well!

  7. Candi Wall says:

    LOL John! So very true isn’t it?

    I’m glad you stopped by, and didn’t even jump on the chipmunk/accident thing. Hubby sure did at the time.

    But the spelling thing – I have to agree with spell checker. I’m suprised both my spell checker and my dictionary/thesaurus haven’t stopped working by now, they’re thouroughly abused.

    :o)

  8. Candi Wall says:

    Hi Anne,

    Thanks for stopping in. The TextNovel contest is definitly different from what I’m used to, but the process is very interesting. I’ve found a lot of new friends along the way – and that’s a great positive in the whole process.

    And imperfections??? Those are always well balanced with the attributes anyway…

  9. Candi Wall says:

    Hi Quilt Lady,

    I have to agree with loving their faults. I love a guy who’s demons haunt him. But I also love a great sense of humr – even if it’s hidden from everyone but our ladies…

    Thanks for visiting!

  10. Candi Wall says:

    Hi Linda,

    I think you’re right about the conflicted Hero. It can be such a small thing too. Just enough to have taught him to be wary, until we write the perfect match for him and he’s able to let go.

    I wonder if that’s where the bad boy draw comes from? We’re all drawn by the strong, tortured hero who is strong and resilient but gaurded until there’s a woman to help open/heal him…

    Thanks so much for commenting!

  11. Carla Gade says:

    I enjoyed getting to know Candi. Thanks, Keli, for bringing these excellent interviews to your blog!

  12. Jessica says:

    Wonderful interview! I met Candi on RWC too and she was always so nice and helpful with her comments. A really sweet and encouraging woman.
    It was fun to learn more about you Candi. Did I know Chance was your first book? I didn’t think I did… and I can’t believe how many more you’ve written! Wow. I completely believe you’ll be published too. Congrats on the Golden Gateway. I think I read the first chapters of Imposed Passion? It was really good, very hooky and I felt so bad for the heroine. Did you ever hear back on that?
    MuseTracks is a great blog and I’m so glad I get to keep in touch with you all. It was my first foray into critiquing and you and the others on MuseTracks made critting a positive experience for me.
    Thanks for the wonderful interview.

    Oh, about a hero… Hmmm… well, I do love the Rake, philandering cowboy, whatever. If he’s hard to catch, I like him. LOL But I also like the forceful, almost military-like hero. Yum. I think I just like most heroes, as long as they’re strong-minded.

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