Candee Fick is the wife of a high school football coach and the mother of three children, including a daughter with a rare genetic syndrome. When not busy with her day job or writing, she can be found cheering on the home team at football, basketball, baseball, cross country, and Special Olympics games. In what little free time remains, she enjoys exploring the great Colorado outdoors, indulging in dark chocolate, and savoring happily-ever-after endings through a good book.
For more, visit her at http://candeefick.com
Welcome to the blog, Candee. I’m so excited to have you join us here today.
What would you say is the easiest part about being a writer and what is the hardest part?
For me, the easiest part of being a writer is dreaming up new stories and sending characters on adventures. Of course, some of the characters I imagine into life may never find their way onto a page because that particular story doesn’t fit my brand or the market. It’s a struggle sometimes to pick which story to invest the time into next and then even more difficult to revise the words on the page until they capture a fraction of the vivid story in my head.
Generally, the creative process is easy. I think the hardest part about being a writer is the marketing piece, first to an editor or agent to convince them to buy my book, and then to potential readers. It takes a different part of my brain, exposes my introverted self to the wide world, and opens my tender heart up to rejection in the form of poor book sales, reviews, and those “sorry but it’s not a good fit for us” letters. However, this is a business and writers need readers so I’ve learned ways to market on auto-pilot where possible.
Tell us about The Author Toolbox you offer on your website. Sounds very helpful!
I started seriously writing with publication in mind in 2005 and so this has been a very long journey with plenty of lessons learned the hard way. Over the last few years, many opportunities have arisen to mentor or offer advice to new authors and keep them from making the same mistakes I did. The Author Toolbox is my attempt to put that advice into writing and collect the resources I use into a single location where newer authors can find the practical tools to help them build a book, a platform, a business, and a career while still saving time and energy to do what they love most—writing books. In addition to the series of blog posts which will likely soon become a book, I also provide some individualized coaching, have a Facebook page for more links to useful tools, and teach workshops on the subject.
That’s wonderful! Readers, I encourage you to visit her page http://candeefick.com/the-author-toolbox/ to learn more. 😉 Helpful stuff!
You’ve finaled and won several writing awards. What has been one of the greatest lessons and fondest memories from participating in these contests?
I love writing contests because they have given me honest feedback about my writing as well as opened doors of conversation for my journey as a writer. One of the greatest lessons from contests has been the courage to put my work out there for others to read and then developing a thicker skin and wisdom as I sifted through the resulting comments for ways to improve my writing craft. The year I was able to sit down with editors or agents during conference appointments and tell them I was a Double Finalist really boosted my confidence in pitching my ideas and I know I came across as a professional. My fondest memory came about a month after I won the ACFW Genesis contest when that name recognition caused an editor from a small press to contact me and request a proposal. (Which led to my first fiction contract!) As the years have gone by, I’ve served as a judge and now a category coordinator for the same contest I had entered as a way to pay it forward and encourage the writers who are still on that journey toward publication.
Love this, Candee, and I so appreciate your heart for other authors!
I read on your website that you’re also a speaker. What is one of your favorite topics?
I love to talk about writing, especially to beginning writers. Back in November, I helped teach a middle school creative writing class where the students tackled NaNoWriMo with smaller word count goals. I had a blast teaching them about story structure and what scenes we needed to write in the upcoming week in order to stay on pace. Many of them were like sponges soaking in the information and seeing their eyes light up with creativity was a boost for my own NaNoWriMo project. Digging deeper into the writing craft, I love talking about Deep Point-of-View and Dialogue.
Can you share with us a piece of writing advice that has made a difference in your career?
I’m a recovering perfectionist who can still find the blank page intimidating since every possible sentence I dream up feels like the dumbest thing ever written and so I’m quick to hit the delete button. The best piece of writing advice I heard was simple: “You can fix bad, but you can’t fix blank. Just write. Then write some more.” By giving myself permission to write garbage because I could fix it later, the faucet of creativity turned on and stories got written all the way to The End. And each story I started after that, was better than the one before. My career as a published novelist began with the 4th book I had written…so if I had never started those previous books with a lot of ugly words, I could still be sitting at my computer staring at a blinking cursor and wondering if this writing dream would ever amount to anything.
Wonderful advice, thank you! So glad you could join us today, Candee. Is there anything else you’d like to add? Any upcoming projects you can tell us about?
Thanks for asking. I have one book, Focus On Love, under contract and scheduled to release in early Spring 2018 with hopes for the conclusion of that series to be published as well. This year however, I’m also looking into becoming a hybrid author with an independently-published book version of The Author Toolbox as well as branching out with a new romance series set around a small-town diner. Readers can sign up for email updates on my website (www.CandeeFick.com) and always know what’s next.
Sounds great. I’m excited to follow your career and your stories from here. Blessings to you!
Candee has graciously offered to give away two Kindle ebook copies – one of each of her published books so far – Catch of a Lifetime and Dance Over Me. Enter below and it could be YOU!
Thanks for entering! Contest ends April 12, 2017. The winners will be notified by email. Happy Reading, everybody!