A winner of several prestigious awards, Candis Lynn Terry began her romance-writing journey 22 years ago. She creates contemporary single title romances set in small towns with a dusting of the paranormal. In March 2011 she finally received The Call, being offered a three-book deal from HarperCollins. Candis’ yet-to-be-titled debut novel will be released for the new Avon Impulse imprint in July/August 2011.
Over the years Candis’ life has changed in numerous ways, from working as a hairdresser, to an engineer in a Hollywood recording studio, to a graphic designer. Making the move from beachy Southern California to an Idaho farm was probably her biggest eye-opener. She considers herself lucky to be married to a wonderfully romantic alpha male who takes out the trash without being asked, and to be the mother of a sassy ex-rodeo queen, MiMi to a darling granddaughter, and kibble provider to two impatient German shepherds and a German shorthair.
Candis promises her life is never boring. After spending years wiping the noses of her daughter’s 4-H sheep and scooping up road apples after her horse on the parade route, Candis now finds time to enjoy her country-style flower and vegetable garden, and camping and ATVing into the breathtaking Idaho wilderness. When a special occasion arises, she loves to bake and decorate cakes with fondant and create fun designs for her favorite people.
Candis, I was thrilled when I saw the announcement of your First Sale on The Golden Network loop. Congratulations once again!
Nothing beats a great Call Story, and yours is a testimony to the value of perseverance. Please share it with us.
Thank you so much! I’m still pinching myself. I pride myself on my Scottish heritage, which really means I’m stubborn. I first began by writing in the wrong genre for my voice. Then I spent a couple of years writing a paranormal when no one was buying them. After that I tried really hard to write for Harlequin but my big, quirky voice never quite fit. I was always ahead of the curve, behind the curve or somewhere in between. I never managed to write the right book at the right time. But it never discouraged me.
I received many compliments from agents and editors . . . in their rejection letters. One agent was so taken with the manuscript I’d sent her that she asked to meet me at a Romance Writers of America conference. But she didn’t sign me. Previously I managed to sign on with two well-known agents. Still no sale.
I sat in workshops. I took notes. I thought I was paying very close attention. Finally I sat down to write the book that finally sold. That book changed everything for me. It was the book that finally taught me who I was as a writer because I absolutely let myself go. No holds barred. It was the book where I finally trusted myself.
Things happened quickly for you when they finally happened. On Monday, March 7th the announcement about Avon’s new Impulse imprint went out, and the next day you received The Call from Amanda Bergeron at Avon/Harper Collins. There has to be quite a story behind your overnight success, though, since 22 years of preparation went into it. How did you keep yourself motivated all that time?
Motivation came with my passion for writing stories about characters and their relationships, the push and pull in the search for love, and the security one finds in their own happily ever after. My wish to give each of my characters a big memorable love story rich with love and laughter was enough to keep me going.
Believe it or not, the personalized rejections I received were also motivation. Often I’ve re-read those rejections just to see the words written by someone in the industry, telling me I had a wonderful voice or real talent. It gave me hope. Sometimes it was simply the fact that I felt like I was learning and growing in my writing. Other times it was that one question opener all writers ask . . . “What if?” What if I stopped writing and my opportunity was just around the corner?
What part did your Golden Heart® final play in your journey? What words of wisdom do you have for those who received that special call from RWA® on March 25th?
Oh my gosh, I can still remember the moment I got that call! It was so exciting. Being a Golden Heart finalist made me feel as though I’d taken a giant step forward. It gave me validation that I didn’t suck. Agents and editors took me a little more seriously. And it made me keep the faith that someday my dream of being a published writer would come true. I just didn’t know it would take so long!
After you receive that Golden Heart call enjoy every darned second. Soak in it like a warm bubble bath. Celebrate. Scream. Happy dance. Then get your rear end back to work. Plant your tush in the chair and write. Being a Golden Heart finalist is no guarantee that you will get an agent, that you will sell a book, or that you will become a NY Times best selling author. Keep your expectations real. And keep it in your heart that there were several judges who all agreed that your writing shines. But there is still more work to do.
And if I might . . . a word of wisdom for those who did not final. This does not mean you can’t write. This does not mean you don’t have talent. This does not mean you will never sell. This does mean you still have work to do. And it does mean you should try again next year. Do not give up! I got very high scores last year with the book I just sold but I didn’t final. So you never know what will happen if you just keep trying. Trust yourself. Never give up. Never surrender.
For those who haven’t heard about Avon/HarperCollins’ new Impulse imprint, what can you tell us about it?
I can tell you that the editors at Avon are very excited and are definitely seeking new talent in romance subgenres of Contemporary, Fantasy, Futuristic, Ghost, Gothic, Historical, Magical, Time Travel, Western, Shifter, Small Town, Steampunk, Suspense, Vampire (and others).
Avon Impulse e-books will be available at every e-tailer, and readers will be able to download them onto every portable reading device sold today…and tomorrow, too. Readers who seek a hard copy of individual Avon Impulse titles will be able to lay their hands on physical books, thanks to a print-to-order option available through major online book retailers.
Submission information is available at http://www.avonromance.com/impulse. As my wonderful agent, Jennifer Schober at Spencerhill Associates tells me, the sun is rising on e-books. I am definitely looking forward to this adventure.
Of all the advice you’ve read or received as you worked toward this milestone First Sale event, what did you find the most helpful?
That’s easy. The best advice I ever received actually came from my husband. Every time I’d receive a rejection or be filled with self-doubt, he’d tell me “Quit whining. This is what you love to do. Get in there and write. I’ll cook dinner.” See, I told you he was an alpha male.
Questions for Candis
•Candis, it’s been wonderful having you at Romance Writers on the Journey to share your exciting news with us. Congratulations again on your First Sale!
I invite your visitors to ask you any questions they have about your sale, your debut novel, and what life is like after receiving that long-awaited contract offer. And, of course, feel free to squee with Candis all you’d like.
Learn More About Candis
Visit her website: www.candislynnterry.com
Friend her on Facebook: Candis Terry